Beta apps no longer expire, plus an update for the Dev Center app

Today I have two updates I’d like to share with you: beta apps no longer have an expiration date, and the Windows Phone Dev Center app has a new “markets” view.

Beta apps no longer have an expiration date

As many of you know, you can submit a beta app to Windows Phone Dev Center to help you test before you submit your app to the public catalog in the Windows Phone Store. Beta apps have a few special properties:

  • Access is limited to a set of users (between 1 and 10,000) selected by the developer
  • Access is available only via a link; the beta app doesn’t appear when users search or browse the Store
  • Certification is not required; developers can rapidly iterate on the app
  • Before today’s announcement, expiration for beta apps was 90 days after their creation date

We’ve spoken with many of our developers to learn more about how they use beta apps. Many indicate that they want to maintain multiple “update trains” for their apps: one for the public app that’s available to everyone in the Store, and another for the beta app that’s frequently updated and tested by a community of specific users. Developers use the beta app (or in some cases multiple beta apps) to test out their latest and greatest version, discover bugs, and determine when an updated app is ready for the general public. When they have a version that’s ready, they release it by submitting it as an update to their public app.

With this usage pattern, we learned that the 90-day expiration for beta apps got in the way. Every 90 days developers would need to submit a new beta app and send the new link out to all of their beta testers. But, no longer. Here’s what you’ll see on the app info page when you create a new beta app:

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Existing beta apps that have already been created in Dev Center will still expire after 90 days, even if they are updated. However, from this point forward, newly created beta apps will not expire and developers can keep updating them as frequently as they like. We hope this change makes the beta app feature more useful for you. For more thoughts about how to test your apps, please see Bernardo Zamora’s recent post, Options for testing and publishing Windows Phone apps.

The “markets” page in the Dev Center app

The Dev Center app makes it easier than ever to see how your app is doing in each of the markets where it’s offered. Now, when you tap one of your apps to see how it’s doing, you’ll find a new “markets” page that provides a per-market breakdown of downloads, ratings, and reviews. You can sort by any of these statistics to learn more about how your app is doing around the world.

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We’re continuing to evolve the Dev Center and we hope that you find these changes valuable. As always, please keep sharing your feedback to help influence our priorities; the Windows Phone Dev Center UserVoice forum is the best way to do that. Thanks for continuing to write great apps for Windows Phone!