Adjusting to rapid Marketplace growth—and preparing for the future

Adjusting to rapid Marketplace growth—and preparing for the future

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Over the last several weeks some of you have reported slowdowns or delays in the app approval and publishing process. You’ve also said App Hub feels slower. We’ve been investigating, and today I want to explain why this is happening and more importantly what we’re doing about it.

This is the first in a series on our evolving Marketplace service that I plan to write in the months ahead.

It turns out App Hub had become less responsive. And our certification turnaround times have increased—by one business day, on average, from January through late March. Why? In short, growing pains. In three months the number of apps in Marketplace has grown by 60 percent, to nearly 80,000. During that period we’ve also nearly doubled the number of customer stores around the world, so there are now 54 markets to sell your apps. The addition of so many new markets and apps so quickly has slowed our backend systems.

So what are we doing about it? There is a long-term and a short-term plan. We’re already in the process of developing a more robust and scalable Marketplace service that will address current problems and pave the way for the even more rapid growth we’re expecting in the years ahead. But engineering work this significant doesn’t happen overnight. Our plan is to have it complete by late summer.

Until that work is done, we’ll be taking short-term measures to shore up the current service and relieve some of the strain on app certification and publishing. Some of these changes started rolling out about 10 days ago and include:

  • Adding more server capacity to better handle the increased load.
  • Streamlining our processes to accelerate the rate at which apps can be ingested, certified, and published.

Unfortunately, you probably won’t see dramatic results until Marketplace’s next generation service is deployed later this summer. But the average app certification wait has now fallen to 2.6 business days, or about a half-day improvement over the last 10 days. (You might experience different wait times depending on the app you’re submitting.)

We’ve also deployed some bug fixes that are helping to improve App Hub responsiveness.

I’m well aware there’s more work to do. But I wanted you to know that we take your feedback and concerns seriously and are attacking the problem on multiple fronts. I’ll have more to say on short-term plumbing upgrades—and planned long-term improvements to Marketplace and App Hub—in future posts. In the meantime, please let me know what’s on your mind.

18 Comments
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  • erio
    5 Posts

    preparing for the future with so many developments being constructed in such mad speed, it will be hard too to anticipate things like spamming apps, crappy ones and even fraud, well those junks really need to be kicked out as soon as possible and should be prevented though they are like spores in rainy season

  • I'm just disappointed.

    That you dare to post on this blog that the average app certification has fallen to 2.6 business days. I posted an app 7 days ago to be certified and now its still being certified. It used to be an app for 30th of April (Queens day in Holland) but after it began certification we noticed a bug. After 4 days we saw in our app hub that the guys from certification has also noticed the bug but still didn't stop the certification process. We fixed the bug yesterday but now have to wait Very precious days before they give us the error that the certification stopped so we can finally re-upload an new version and Pray it will be certified by the end of this week, 0% chance but we need to have hope because it cost us 3 solid weeks to develop it and we wanted to get some cash back from our invested time but now our app wont even see daylight because somebody gave us false hope about a certain Process witch would only take around 3/4 days.

    Kind regards,

    A disappointed developer

  • here is a tip if you whant to sell more phones

    wmpoweruser.com/nokia-working-at-bringing-in-demand-symbian-features-to-windows-phone

    read the comments

    and hoping for a better dev kit in tango, to reflect the othere platforms the year is 2012

    sens you started windows phone in 2010 , has not been upgrated with the feutures you promissed

    custom shaders, hardware float point, low level audio, just to name a few thing of the 500 new feutures

    wicth you only give cut and paste,

    you know microsoft it is allways the next version of the os, that we have to look for

    that is the kind of stuff you leak

    allways the next version

    no wonder people will not buy the phone,, think about this

    it is not about the feutures that you create and include in the version , but all those developers give them a chanse to develop some amasing stuff, and show it off to the buyers

    the buyers do like that it is all microsoft created..

    example ...

    when you navigate to the phone ,,, you allways put xbox live games in front of every thing else

    same in the app section,,

    how about a new way

    the menu

    paid xbox live games , paid indie games, free games(include both xboxlive and indie games)

    and the feuture that are missing ,, bing serach for apps and games in this section

    so you can find what you are lokking for,,pehaps the buyer had read an article about an game on the net and whant to find ,, but this is not possible

    you can even do voice serach on the title of the game or app

    and this is a feuture that android or apple does not have yet

    and please stop confuse the buyer with all the bullshit about the next version is better

    do it one month before the device hit the market,,

    and let us target our developerment towards the new 2012 phones

    thay sems to get this at the nokia ovi store,, selling more apps and games

    course when you select your device, you allso know the app or game will run

    the more you close up, and forget to upgraed the dev kit ,and you the same time put more phones on the market with higher hardware spect.. the harder it will be to get the apps or games to the certifyed process

    let say shawn bloomeffect posted on his blog somone whant include this effect in his game

    let imagine the game only had one 3d model wit 1000 triangles

    then on a HTC TROPY  2010 phone it runs 16 frames per second

    on a nokia lumia 800 it runs 60 frames per second

    try this out just spinning a 3d model on the screen , with the blomm effect

    and you will see

    but this little example can not been put on the microsoft marketplace

    course it has to run on all phones

    and when you set ,, the stuff that requere NOT TO RUN ON 256MB DEVICE

    the dell vanue pro phone , is not included but this device is a 256mb device

    a need trick you have done there ,,

    you are not talking together inside your company

    Michael

  • look at the end of this

    solo has you under the lub

    www.youtube.com/watch

    more is comming

    do the right thing

  • and you know how the system works

    a website resiving that manny hits , will keep posting news

    course it is dollars in the website pocket

    and it has spreed to the postcast , just listen,, it is dollars to the website

    do the right thing

    Michael

  • did you know on that link is resiving 20.000 million webhits a day from all over the world

    www.theverge.com/.../european-carriers-say-lumia-phones-not-good-enough

    do the right thing

  • Can you see the danish spring

    www.theverge.com/.../european-carriers-say-lumia-phones-not-good-enough

    and the webhits just stopped on amazon , and all over the web

    it is slowly going down

    do the right thing,,

    Michael

  • John
    26 Posts

    App Hub is a big mess since the beginning. It was always slow and buggy since day 1. Reporting is aweful, I can't even see all user reviews from all languages cumulated on one page. I really hope you will be integrating the Windows Phone marketplace into the Windows 8 store. From what I've seen it looks a lot more promising and professional.

  • anatolyl
    19 Posts

    AppHub is just awful:

    - it is slow, unresponsive with quazillion of animated "loading" gifs.

    - there are configured timeouts on upload binary and upload media pages, once you have a big binary you're unable to upload it nop matter what you do, you should provide FTP upload option for large binaries like amazon android store does.

    - payment system is wired up via xbox with its own limitations, many developers can't even sign up and pay, etc.

    - download reports delay is 6 days!?

  • FsCz
    1 Posts

    Dear developer team,

    I dont envy you this situation, so I have a suggestion. Dont you need 2 very responsible Windows Phone developers and enthusiasts to help and join the testing team? Thanks for reply!

  • Mark
    11 Posts

    I guess the systems is being rebuilt for Window Azure, otherwise performance could be ratched up, I guess. as for delays in certification, it sounds like you're doing a great job addressing needs of developers. I know larger houses can plan these better, but ad-hoc/smaller developers just want their app out there.

    Quality - get/keep it top-notch folks.

  • Did we had planned at little 3d zombie shooter for this easter 2012

    normal app submition is 72 houres

    on the 5 april 2012 i resived a windows phone news letter saying that we must exped from 1 to 3 weeks submit precess

    you have knowen this all a long

    just 3 days before easter come on

    you ruin our game , thank you for inform the developers,

    hope you will do this better in the future , let say one hour notice

    so now that you have piss off some small town developers i might ask some ?

    WHY IS THAT 70% OF ALL XBOX LIVE GAMES ARE NOT UPGRADED TO MANGO ?

    IF I TRY TO SUBMIT AND APP RUNNING 7.0 YOU REJECT IT ?

    WE CAN ONLY SUBMIT APP AND GAMES RUNNING IN THE NEW VERSION RELEASE DATE 26.MARTS ?

    YOU ARE CHEATING ALL THE DEVELOPERS HER

    RUNNING A PARALELL MARKETPLACE FOR XBOXLIVE GAMES

    AND MICROSOFT WILL YOU PLEASE STOP RELEASE FREE XBOXLIVE GAMES

    AND AS I CAN SEE YOU HAVE LOWERD THE PRICE FROM 2.99 TO 0.99

    WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO SMALL TOWN DEVELOERS

    FIRST OF ALL WE CAN NOT COMPETE WITH YOUR BRAND , AND NOW YOU SMASH ALL THE DEVELOPERS

    Michael Hansen

  • Welcome news indeed!  I personally am not bothered by the slower approval process.  I mean really, what's the difference if its 2.6 days versus 3 days?  And I don't think major corporations would factor that into a decision to build/not build on this platform.  But I do find it annoying when I visit the app hub to check download stats or submit an update, and the site itself is slow or non-responsive or just plain errors out.  Good to hear its going to be fixed!

  • T Windows
    116 Posts

    Thanks Todd for your post; it's good to see a blue print in the making for an app market done right.

    Its growing pains like these that ensure us of the commitment and hard work on behalf of Devs, and Microsoft teams abroad.

    - Stay Powered by Windows

  • +1 to intellers comments. Quality over quantity. Let's not try and compete against Apple or Google's sheer volume. Instead, help companies like Chase, Ford, HSBC, Amex even Sonos to build their apps for WP as well as the other two. It's quality apps from the marquee brands that will lift WP.

  • This is a problem that should have never been.  Blogs reported on the app milestones regularly.  You saw the growth curve months in advance.    To deny that is to lack faith in the platform itself.  I just hope we've not lost any A-list dev houses as a result.

    One suggestion would be to start tiering app submission priority.  If an Instagram wants to submit an app, it should be a all hands on deck, clear out the AppMaker dreck from the queue and push it through!  Remember, quality over quantity!

  • Vedichymn
    10 Posts

    Any plans to work on keeping down the number of "junk" apps?  There's plenty of new good apps, but still no shortage of copy/paste junk apps either.

  • Somewhat of a serious issue. At least it is being addressed and is under control. Good luck!