We published an app into the Office 365 App Store. Here’s story of what it takes to publish apps to Office Store from a technical point of view.
In a previous post, my colleague Juha Koivula tells more about the SharePoint Add-in we created. Here I’m going to discuss from a technical perspective how to publish apps to Office Store.
First of all, I must say that even though we have new ways to develop stuff using remote provisioning techniques, there is still place for good old SharePoint hosted Add-ins (Apps). Developing a SharePoint hosted Add-in is quite straightforward. You can find lots of samples on how to create Add-ins, but basically we created a simple app page that displays blog posts and an app part that can be added onto any SharePoint page, just like a web part. The app page shows 100 latest posts, and on the app part you can decide how many latest posts you want to show. The Delve blog posts are discovered using the SharePoint Search API.
Creating an app
So what we needed to create was:
- Default.aspx (Add-in front page)
- ValoDelveBlogsAppPart.aspx (App part page)
- App.js (Add-in implementation)
- App.css (styling)
Of course, we used some other libraries like jQuery and the magnificent riot.js, but it’s up to you how to build your app. From the add-in creation perspective, it’s vital to modify the AppManifest correctly, so be sure that you submit the correct info into the required fields such as Title, Name, Version, Permissions, and Supported Locales.
This was the easy one… Then you need to publish your Add-in to the Office Store.
Setting up your account
Everything starts from https://sellerdashboard.microsoft.com/ where you need to create your account. You need to create your account details (basic information of you), select account type (company account / individual) and create your marketing profile (how you will be shown on marketplace). After that Microsoft will verify your profile which will take up to 14 days. If you are going to make some money you also need to add payout and tax information.
In reality, the promised 14 days took more than 2 months, and we needed to do some active follow-up and contacting with Symantec (security partner as we understood). On a positive side, the Seller Dashboard has a nice support chat with really nice personnel that helped us a lot along the way.
Submit your Add-in
The next step is to submit your Add-in, which can be done via the same Seller Dashboard. You need to upload the .app file and fill in a lot of information about the Add-in. First you need to give general info about the app, like title, version, release date and categories where your app belongs. Then you need to give possible testing notes and support documents (urls, not downloadable files). If you are planning to release your Add-in in multiple languages be prepared to submit description of Add-in in every language as well as 1-5 screenshots. Lastly you need to set up pricing and possible trial option. Provider hosted Add-ins also need generating Client IDs and Secrets from the Seller Dashboard which were not relevant in our case.
Ready to publish
When your Add-in is ready to be published, you need to submit it for validation. Usually it takes around four days to validate the Add-in. You may need to update your Add-in info or correct possible misbehaviour if Seller Dashboard gives you some recommended changes. In our case it took three submission rounds to get us through. Usual blockers are fake or invalid data on account, spelling & grammar errors, or some mismatch on Add-in manifest (version, SupportedLocales).