Thursday, February 28, 2013

How to use the Windows App Certification Kit through Remote Desktop

In the past few years I've become a Mac lover dispite decades of Windows use. I work primarily on my Macbook Pro and have disassembled my old home office in favor of an all-mac, all wireless environment.

About a year ago I moved my Windows XP and Windows 7 machines into the "server room" where they run without monitors, keyboards or mice.  I use Remote Desktop from my Macbook to connect to them so now I can work from anywhere in the house or on the patio wirelessly.

Recently I decided to get my apps listed on the Windows Store.  This week I've been paying a lot of attention to Easy Password Storage, one of my most highly rated apps on the Mac App Store, and the fone I want to get posted on the Windows Store first.  To get it approved I have to run the Windows App Certification Kit.  It installs my app, checks that all the files have a digital signature, runs diagnostics and gives a report which can be uploaded to Microsoft.

There's one hitch, though: Remote Desktop is not allowed!  I assume it has something to do with video benchmarks, but it's a major annoyance for me.  Surely there is someone else in this situation, which is why I decided to write about it.

Imagine my surprise when I found out that to get my app certified I would need to get a monitor, keyboard and mouse, hook them into my old Windows box and sit on the floor next to a cat litter box.  Yes, it's true, the "server room" is really a closet where cats poop all day.  That is the extent of my disdain for those old windows boxes.

If you try to certify your app over Remote Desktop your app is immediately rejected.  I gathered my old monitor, keyboard and mouse but could not find a cord for my monitor.  After two years of almost all wireless the ordeal seemed particularly archaic.  Shouldn't I be able to stream an HD version of my monitor?  I can stream HD movies from Netflix... Why would app certification require a physical monitor?

It turns out my distress was for naught because I have found a simple workaround: as of this writing the Windows App Certification Kit doesn't realize the connections using are remote desktop connections.  The workaround will probably work with other remote login services as well but I have only tested with

The results: Passed with Warnings.  Here's a screenshot:

The warnings are unrelated to using a Remote Desktop agent: it says my app didn't properly respond to system restart notifications.  I think it's safe to ignore, but it could certainly be the topic of a future blog rant.

The real victory: I won't have to endure the "server room" any time soon!

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