Office Apps Submission Process
Here is an up-to-date overview of the Microsoft Office Apps Submission process:
Pre-requisites (all covered at: http://dev.office.com)
The Support Tab at dev.office.com contains links to key content to stay up on: Help with developing apps for Office – Forum
Help with publishing apps for the Office Store – Forum – great channel for app submissions
Microsoft Help – support channel
Apps for Office and SharePoint blog – hot off the press info
1. Create an App – see http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/office/apps/jj220030.aspx
2. Setup a Seller Account – covered on dev.office.com at: Publish apps for Office and SharePoint a. Create a Seller Account
A few key thing to call out about the process:
i. When choosing to setup your account as Company or Individual, keep in mind Seller Dashboard does not support changing this after the account is setup. If you have a company, company tax/payout account you should setup as a Company. If you’re truly an individual with personal tax/payout info, setup as an individual.
ii. If you setup as a Company you will submit a company reference. It’s a good practice to follow up with the reference you submit to let them know to expect an email from Microsoft or Symantec asking them to follow a link to verify that you are associated with the company. This is the step that most often holds up account setup, if the company reference does not see or respond to the email (sometimes due to it arriving in a junk folder)
iii. To submit Paid apps, your account must have valid tax and payout info on file
You can add apps, metadata, etc to prepare your app submission, including localized metadata for additional languages. As soon as your account is approved, you will be able to submit your app
b. Verify your paid Office 365 subscription so you can publish apps to the Office Store Requires a valid paid Office 365 subscription. Many get this as a benefit from their paid MSDN subscription. Currently, the MSDN subscription that comes with BizSpark does not qualify as a valid paid subscription
If they do not have access to a valid paid subscription (they can buy the O365 Dev Subscription for $99/year to satisfy this requirement to link Paid 365 subscription to Seller Account)
3. Add Apps to Seller Account – covered on dev.office.com at: How To: Add apps in the Microsoft
Includes key info on:
b. On Jun 4 – info on adding additional languages will be updated in the adding apps topic. Validation Policies – It’s a good idea to call out the best practice for developers to be familiar with these policies and FAQ in conjunction with App Development, to understand requirements before submitting and avoid common errors when submitting
4. What to expect upon app submission
a. Upon submitting the app, the Provider (developer) is not able to make changes to the submission in Seller Dashboard. They must wait until validation completes
b. Validation timing is dependent on the amount of apps in the queue, complexity of app, and in some occasions internal Microsoft delays. That said, the majority of the apps are receiving validation completion in ~3 business days.
c. Upon Validation’s conclusion, email is sent to the developer alerting the Provider of the outcome – following one of these paths:
i. APPROVED – approved apps enter the publishing process and typically become available in the store within 24 hours of approval
ii. APP REQUIRES CHANGES – (currently communicated as REJECTED). Call to action is for the developer to log into their Seller Account and review their app report. App reports call out which policies the app failed and often include additional notes from the validation tester on what to fix. It may also include some notes calling out other observations from the validation tester. These are not clear violations of policy, but additional things to consider while updating the app. Once Provider updates the app – they resubmit it to validation again.
5. App Lifecycle Notes
- The apps that are most successful in the store are apps that solve a customer need, are easiest to use, and in the case of paid apps, are priced to match the perceived value. Iterations to your app functionality on the web service side (where applicable) and via the submission metadata can help to fine tune your app.
Seller Dashboard provide metrics about your app’s performance in the Store
- We attempt to keep our validation policy updates on a ~quarterly release cycle. All submission (including resubmissions) are validated against the most current policies
- Ensuring your app (if trial or paid) is using the licensing model correctly is a way for Providers to provide a custom experience for expired trials that matches the provider’s business objectives. See Licensing your apps for SharePoint & Creating and verifying licensing in a paid app for Office