HockeyApp provides a neat and easy to use service for developers to provide apps to their testers and track anonymous usage data, crashes and feedback. As the Windows 10 (UWP) support is still in preview, the documentation on how to provide a Universal Windows App to your testers right is quite poor. So let’s take a look at the easiest way.
To install a Windows 10 application without the official store but via side-loading, multiple files are needed: The application package, of course and a certificate that the user needs to install previously. Some Windows platforms also need a specific PowerShell Script to install the app. When creating an App Package with Visual Studio, all these files will be generated but HockeyApp only accepts one single file per release to distribute.
Additionally, Windows apps are getting installed differently regarding to the platform. On Windows Desktop systems, the user can simply run the PowerShell Script and follow its instructions. Other platforms like Windows 10 Mobile for example, do not support PowerShell and the user needs to install the certificate and application manually. So in contrast to Android for example, where developers can pack all these into one APK file, Windows developers need to consider different scenarios.
Unfortunately, the solution to this problem is not very satisfying but it works and is the only way at the moment to target both, Desktop and Mobile with one HockeyApp project. After creating the App Package, pack all its outcomes into one single ZIP file and send this to HockeyApp. Desktop users can simply unzip it and run the PowerShell script, Mobile users have to download a Zipping app first (yep, that really sucks) to unpack the file and can install the certificate and app manually then.
The zipping and uploading of the app can completely be done in Visual Studio with the integrated HockeyApp tools. Simply right-click on your project, and select the Distribute App… option. The following dialog guides you through the process.
Please notice that the dialog selects the most recent app package but does not create a package for you! You definitely need to create an App Package on your own, first.
Recently I wrote an article for users about how to install a UWP app distributed by HockeyApp that I link in the release notes of all my UWP HockeyApp projects, so that users get a tutorial on how to install it. You can check it out here.