Surprise! Torrent Remote Controller developer having problems getting updates certified

torrent-wp7-app

David Gordon, who created uController, an app which allows the remote control of the uTorrent Bittorent software running on your desktop, has written to let us know about some difficulty he was having with the Marketplace certifier.

He first notes a problem we have mentioned before – inconsistent application of the guidelines by different Marketplace certification testers.

“A lot of developers have been noting inconsistencies between testers, and how an application will pass once but fail the next time even though the condition existed in the earlier version. This can be annoying, but to a certain extent forgivable as everyone is still grappling with the certification requirements and the interpretation of those requirements, testers included.”

He has however run into a worse problem – running into a completely roadblock in having an update to his uController software certified.

“Since 8 December 2010, I have been waiting for an update to uController to pass through certification, it’s till marked as being ‘in testing’. This is despite Microsoft’s aim of meeting a 5 business turn around for certification, pass or fail.

Given this period was leading into the holiday period, I gave Microsoft a bit of leeway and let the time slip before contacting them via their support ticketing system to which I received a response on 17 December 2010 stating that due to the increased volume of apps testing was delayed and to wait a few days. I also submitted an additional update to uController in the meantime.

On 23 December 2010, the update was ‘still in testing’ so I followed up, and was asked to wait further as the new update was ‘in testing and to wait for a couple of days for the outcome.

Given the holiday period, I waited until 4 January 2011 before contacting support again as the application had still not finished testing.

On 7 January 2011 I received a response from Microsoft stating that the XAP for the version that was currently in testing was ‘missing’ from the submission and that I would need to upload it before the certification team could complete the testing. Now there are three main issues with that:

1. You cannot complete an application without submitting an XAP; and

2. Why the hell did it take nearly a month for me to be told that the XAP had been lost by them. Why did it take me contacting them before this was brought to my attention. What were the testing team doing? Didn’t the test enter their workflow? And if not, who’s checking on applications that have exceeded their promised turnaround.

3. Once an application or update is submitted and is in testing, you cannot make any changes. This definitely means you can’t add an XAP even if Microsoft’s system somehow loses it.”

Given that Microsoft has prided itself on its rapid and transparent certification process having to wait more than a month for a simple update to be certified is pretty bad, and one does wonder if this has something to do with the nature of the app.

The ultimate solution offered by Microsoft support is also pretty crude – register a new developer account, for $125, which will break updates for all existing users.

David writes:

I find it astounding that Microsoft even consider this an acceptable solution, and frankly I find the whole situation disgraceful. If it’s not fixed soon, I won’t be developing for the platform again. I’m not going to create a new developer account and run the risk of having the same basic issues happen again.

Microsoft is clearly letting this developer down, and either its certification process is pretty broken, or if we were a bit more paranoid Microsoft is using its certification process, like Apple, to subtly keep undesirable applications out of marketplace.

Read David’s full screed here.

Have any other developers run into this issue before? Let us know below.

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