How to install an UWP app distributed with HockeyApp

The HockeyApp platform is one of the most popular ways of distributing pre-release software to testers and collect their anonymous usage data, crashes and feedback. As it is quite easy to install Android or iOS apps on your devices, when it comes to Windows things are getting a bit more complicated. So if you are a tester of any Windows 10 app and don’t know how to install it, this article is for you!

What you get

HockeyApp provides you an own bundle for each version of the app. If the developer did his job right, you will get a .zip file from HockeyApp with the following content.

hockeyuwpzipcontent

While you can ignore most of these files, there are three of them that might be important for you. You will learn which one to use on which device in the following sections.

  • APPXBUNDLE File – YourApp.appxbundle – This is the actual application
  • Security Certificate – YourApp.cer – This is the security certificate that your device needs to install
  • Windows PowerShell ScriptAdd-AppDevPackage.ps1 – An installer script for some devices

Installing the app on Windows 10

Classical Windows 10 Desktop systems are the easiest ones to install the app on. Due to you have PowerShell here, you can simple run the installation script Add-AppDevPackage.ps1. Do this by right-clicking on it and selecting Run with PowerShell. Consider, that you will need administrator rights for this.

hockeyuwpzipcontentRunPS

When doing this for the first time, PowerShell might ask you for permission a couple of times. Always answer positively to get your app installed. After a couple of seconds, the script should be completed and your app got installed. Happy testing!

Installing the app on Windows 10 Mobile

If you are running Windows 10 Mobile and want to install the app on a Phone, things are getting a little more complicated. We don’t have PowerShell or any Unzipper App here by default so we need to do the things manually, that the PowerShell script does for us on the desktop.

First, we need to extract the .zip file. Make sure, that you download an app for this that actually extracts the content and not just opens the zip-container. I cannot recommend 8 Zip Lite, which worked well for me. Now open the Files app and navigate you the folder, you extracted the content of the zip-container to. Here you should find the same files as seen above. Unfortunately, the Files app is not exactly brilliant and does not show you the file endings, which is why it might be hard to identify the files.

Tip: Long press on one file to see its symbol. The explanation can be found in the image below. Don’t ask me, why they decided to show black icons on a black background…

appxcertmarked

 

The PowerShell Script is useless for us on phones, so we need to install the certificate and application by hand.

  1. Start with the certificate by clicking on it and follow the instructions.
  2. Once the certificate is installed, you can install the APPXBUNDLE – again by clicking on it. Follow the instructions and wait some seconds.

I am sorry to say that but you won’t get any feedback whether it worked. Just wait approximately 30 seconds and check your app list, if the new app appeared. If not, try installing certificate and app again until it works.

Conclusion

When comparing the process of installing apps from outside the store on Android and iOS with Windows, one can clearly see that Microsoft has to do some work here. While advanced users might be happy with the PowerShell script, sideloading apps in Windows 10 Mobile is a click and pray at the moment. Due to the lack of any feedback it can get very frustrating. Let’s hope Microsoft will catch up here soon…

2 Comments on “How to install an UWP app distributed with HockeyApp

  1. Pingback: How to upload your UWP app to HockeyApp right – Pumping Code

  2. Thank you for your clear instructions, this worked perfectly. As you say let hope Microsoft make it as easy to distribute UWP apps as it is with Android and iOS on HockeyApp.

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