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[BETA] RT Desktop Store (moved from RT General forum, NOT Subvert)

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By Fasin, Junior Member on 7th December 2013, 10:41 PM
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(got enough posts so I could move this thread here)

Desktop Store
(didn't habe the brains to come up with a nice name like "Subvert", if you have something good in mind, tell me, but I still would be glad to merge with toxickills project, even if it's only for the cool name )

Screenshots







Program Download Links:
RT Desktop Store Installer

Features
  • 50 apps packaged
  • install/uninstall packages
  • all items on the startpage get shuffled
  • tile creation
  • start apps directly from the store

Todo
  • sometimes uninstalled packages are still displayed as installed (restarting the store currently fixes this)
  • tile management (delete, check for already existant tile)
  • add store tile to the start screen
  • add screenshots to existing packages
  • pack the remaining packages
  • distributed repositories
  • package/installation updates
  • and much more - if you have ideas, tell me

How can you help?

If you would like to help me with the packages until I release the package manager: send me screenshots from the packaged applications available in the store, as this is hard for me to do (I don't even use every application myself).
Here are some criteria for screenshots I would like you to check before sending them to me:
  1. make the size exactly 1366x768 or 683x384, so that they don't scale bad in the screenshots control
  2. If the app can't run fullscreen or maximized window, its always nice to have the pc property window in the background showing the Windows RT logo text
  3. you can also make only screenshots from the application window itself and place them on a canvas complying to point 1., maybe applying a nice dropshadow
  4. don't edit the screenshots in any other way, let them look natural
  5. and if you can: screenshot them in a productive/properly used scenario, that's always the best to see
Mail adress should be viewable in my profile, just sent it there, or if you have mailbox space issues, sent me a link to the screenshot(s), Thanks!

Further information:


Pretext

Hey guys, so i have been sitting some hours and tried to take up what djboo (thread) had no time to continue on.

I've build a little RT Desktop Store based on his idea on getting a repository to present packages and let you download them via a custom store client.

If you are confused: No this is not the store called "Subvert" build by Toxickill, which he posted on this thread.
So what's the reason for this "duplicate" ? Well i wrote my own store during the same time Toxickill did, but when i released my first screenshots, i saw he had released his first beta only a few hours earlier. We used the same UI Framework it seems, so our applications even look similar. I wrote him asking what to do, if we could work together, etc. because it would be dumb not to use our resources together, to make this work for you even better. But since he hasn't been answering my PM and I don't have the permission to post in his development thread as of yet, I thought i could at least release what i have build so far, let you review it and maybe even Toxickill will notice me And if not? Well i don't mind doing this alone since I already spent all this time doing it this way, and im so glad of being able to give back something to the community (This is my first ever publicly released application!). If you like my store (or don't like it), please comment so that I can make it better
And while I'm on the road, i can as well earn my 10+ posts, so that i can post in the development threads

If you are interested in working together: i have setup a TFS on my server which we can use for working on this project.

Ok now for the application.

Concept

Basically, it's the same concept djboo originally pointed out: have a repository with packages, let a store client download, unpack and install them. So far so good.

I've gone a bit further and tried to make the client look & feel like the normal windows store app (still a lot to be done, but it really looks alike).
The current repository is hosted on my server. While i have plans to release my the package creator too, i will first release the client, because the package creator is not that, erm, user friendly right now. In fact i have, because of my store client design, divided packaging and the repository, because the basic packages that can be build contain more that what is needed to simply install the application. After building a package you can add it to a repository (using a repository manager) which then will unwrap all that is only needed for the store client presentation of the package (tile images, screenshots, etc.) and present the rest of the package as downloadable file for the store client.

If you want to see it, here is a screenshot from my package builder application that I will release once all the applications available have been packaged and added to my repository (thinking of a simple package creation service that spawns new guids, so that ppl creating packages for the same application will get the same application guid to prevent presentation of duplicate entries by the store client)


Installation & Files

First and foremost: you need to jailbreak your device (Windows 8.0 only, hopefully 8.1 will follow soon)

To install the store client, simply download and run this Installer from my server.

The store client will get installed under your Program Files folder, creating a new Folder named "RT Desktop Store". Installation consists of 2 steps:
  1. The Installer downloads and then and runs the launcher for the store client
  2. The Launcher downloads the latest store client files and starts the RT Desktop store (this will happen every time you start the store client)

Packages that you install from the store will not be installed under your Program Files folder, but a Folder called "Program Files (RTDS)" (same parent directory as your Program Files folder). This is for not confusing the packages installed from the store with any existing applications in your Program Files folder. Uninstallers for all all installed packages will be held in the "__storepackages" folder of your RT Desktop Store installation directory (like C:\Program Files\RT Desktop Store\__storepackages).

If you install an app, the store client will also create a Tile on your start screen, using the command line interface of OblyTile - if a tile is supported by the package. If no tile is specified by the package, the application will start after installation, so that you can at least pin it directly to your task bar. Unfortunately, programmatic removal of tiles via OblyTile is not possible as of yet, so you would need to unpin them yourself. The same goes for checking of already existing tiles. The same tile will just get created a gain. But the will most likely be pointing to the same file, so just delete all but one of the tiles.

Shortcuts

As long as i dont release a proper installer that creates shortcuts, start menu entries and/or a live tile, you will have to pin the store client yourself. I recommend you to create a shortcut to "RTDStore.exe", not "RTDStore.Launcher.exe", because the launcher application may get renamed during an update process. That aside, it doesn't matter if you run the launcher or the store client directly, the launcher will be called either way to check for updates.

Packages

I have yet to package every application that has been ported already, but i got roughly 1/3 of them already packaged (they may not all include screenshots, tiles etc, but that will follow this week, along with the remaining ported apps i think.

Finally

Have fun and i hope everything works well. If you experience any errors, please comment here or sent me a PM, so that i can fix them and let the new versions get pushed to you by my launcher as soon as possible



Disclaimer

THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS" AND ANY EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE DISCLAIMED. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE REGENTS OR CONTRIBUTORS BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS OR SERVICES; LOSS OF USE, DATA, OR PROFITS; OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION)
HOWEVER CAUSED AND ON ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, STRICT LIABILITY, OR TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE OR OTHERWISE) ARISING IN ANY WAY OUT OF THE USE OF THIS SOFTWARE, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE.
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8th December 2013, 01:24 AM |#2  
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NICE WORK BRO!!!
Question) after installing an app though your store, could we specify the desktop-shortcut-Icon in your package Manager? (Im asking this because some of my Projects use a cmd file to start the app, and the Icon is pretty boring)[subvert has NOT this Feature]

Cheers
Blade

EDIT:
Just tested it. it Looks AWESOME
Notes:
-No Settings available (how to add own repo-URLs?)
-We Need your Package-Manager

Improvements:
-small visual bugs while going through. Perhaps you can include a "wait-till-loaded"-function, this will solve all visual bugs and make it all soo much smoother
-Possible to add "touch-scrolling"? that would be soo cool, if we dont Need to use the scrollbar at the bottom and are able to also scroll via dragging in the middle...just like the real store
(also the scrolling brings visual bugs while moving. Bug disappear on stopping...)

I think this has got a HUGE potential! Please Keep it up the good work.
8th December 2013, 11:15 AM |#3  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIade

NICE WORK BRO!!!
Question) after installing an app though your store, could we specify the desktop-shortcut-Icon in your package Manager? (Im asking this because some of my Projects use a cmd file to start the app, and the Icon is pretty boring)[subvert has NOT this Feature]

Cheers
Blade

Hi Blade! (Cheers from Cologne)
If I understand you correctly, you use some kind of launcher for some of your programs, which in turn starts your program (i guess you mean something like ClassicStartMenu, where you need to restart the explorer after launching the start menu, because otherwise it won't show up in the taskbar). And because of this, you pin, of course, your launcher to the desktop instead of the program that's getting started - makes sense. In my package manager you can specify a list of applications that are included in the package and, as of now, a small and normal sized tile for OblyTile to generate the start screen tile for each application. I guess i could extend this to support desktop shortcuts, but would have to look into the windows shortcut file format (.lnk) - which I had planned anyway, because I need more control over the created tiles than simply creating them, and they're essentially .lnk files, too. Currently you can put a launcher in the package and run it via the tile that will get created for it - I will show you how that works once I've released the package manager.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BIade


EDIT:
Just tested it. it Looks AWESOME
Notes:
-No Settings available (how to add own repo-URLs?)
-We Need your Package-Manager

As I've written in my todo-list above, distributed repositories are yet to come, I just have to find a way to make the packages unique - maybe by providing a packaging service for the package manager, that spawns a GUID for a given application name, so that the same package doesn't get listed twice in the store. But that in turn would create a new problem: how do you decide from where to get a package? As there is no real server behind an application that could work as some kind of load balancer. I would display a message from which hosting the package is being retrieved upon installation, but rather not show them as separate repositories in the store. But I think it would be reasonable to give the user the opportunity to select from which repository to get the package if he wants to install it - if a package is broken, or not available on the repository automatically selected by the store.

But furthermore, what about a package where someone includes a nice launcher and someone else doesn't? Need to think about it.

Today I will try to get over with packaging most of the remaining apps. After that's done, I will take up getting the package manager ready to release accompanied by a distributed repository mechanism, as those two go hand in hand.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BIade

Improvements:
-small visual bugs while going through. Perhaps you can include a "wait-till-loaded"-function, this will solve all visual bugs and make it all soo much smoother

Yeah I did most of it with the new async-feature of C#, for the smaller installations that works perfectly, but larger ones make the application hang - that was to be expected because async just executes on the GUI thread too, just does lazy evaluation. I already moved a part of the installation to background threads, but will move the whole thing. And the last few days were just dirty hacking, so i don't have a centralized installation overview as of yet, that's why the installation messages start bugging once you switch to another app page.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BIade

-Possible to add "touch-scrolling"? that would be soo cool, if we dont Need to use the scrollbar at the bottom and are able to also scroll via dragging in the middle...just like the real store

I guess that's somehow possible, just wasn't on the top of my list.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BIade

(also the scrolling brings visual bugs while moving. Bug disappear on stopping...)

I daresay that's an issue with the not-so-lightning-fast ARM processor, as this runs perfectly fine on my desktop pc. Surely GDI+ related, but i guess there is something that can be done for some smooth animation.


Quote:
Originally Posted by BIade

I think this has got a HUGE potential! Please Keep it up the good work.

Thank you very much!
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8th December 2013, 03:27 PM |#4  
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Cheers back from Cologne

For the repos:
Adding a Settings-tab with a list of repos, where only your repo is listened, but where users can add/delete custom repos.
For the "not duplicated" and the "from whom" problem:
Custom-repos could get their own tab like:
[Available(perhaps rename it to "Main") | Custom1 | Custom2 | Installed | Settings]
And Custom-Titles could been set in settings to make it look like:
[Main Apps | Blade's Apps | xda-Apps | Installed | Settings]

Totally off topic:
On the 12.12 I write an important exam in the uni. But after that I would like to meet you for a coffee, if you want. Since we both live in cologne, perhaps we can share some ideas or/and learn something from each other. I would love to help you with your store, and perhaps i got some cool stuff for you:
(ps3-hacking, Android-app-development, Micro-controller-programming, home-automation, and many many more....)
9th December 2013, 10:01 AM |#5  
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Your idea for the different repositories is quite nice, I will implement this soon, as it will be quite easy I think. But for the long run I will still be looking for a more integrated solution.

Offtopic too:
Sure why not! Just PM me the details of the approximate when and where and we'll go for it You can also write your PM in german
9th December 2013, 09:38 PM |#6  
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Hit the 50 packages mark! Hurray!
And ~160 RT Desktop Store Downloads!

If you would like to help me with the packages until I release the package manager: send me screenshots from the packaged applications available in the store, as this is hard for me to do (I don't even use every application myself). Here are some criteria for screenshots I would like you to check before sending them to me:
  1. make the size exactly 1366x768 or 683x384, so that they don't scale bad in the screenshots control
  2. If the app can't run fullscreen or maximized window, its always nice to have the pc property window in the background showing the Windows RT logo text
  3. you can also make only screenshots from the application window itself and place them on a canvas complying to point 1., maybe applying a nice dropshadow
  4. don't edit the screenshots in any other way, let them look natural
  5. and if you can: screenshot them in a productive/properly used scenario, that's always the best to see

Mail adress should be viewable in my profile, just sent it there, or if you have mailbox space issues, sent me a link to the screenshot(s), Thanks!
16th December 2013, 10:39 PM |#7  
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Hi
Tried to install it today but cannot.
My device is nokia lumia 2520
Before installation i did jailbreak, looks done well.

When im trying install desktop store getting info there is it not possible, please visit market etc.8
16th December 2013, 11:34 PM |#8  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wojtas29

My device is nokia lumia 2520
Before installation i did jailbreak, looks done well.

You didnt do the jailbreak then. the jailbreak works on RT 8.0 only, it does not function on 8.1 and the lumia 2520 comes pre loaded with 8.1.
17th December 2013, 10:44 AM |#9  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wojtas29

Hi
Tried to install it today but cannot.
My device is nokia lumia 2520
Before installation i did jailbreak, looks done well.

When im trying install desktop store getting info there is it not possible, please visit market etc.8

Just as SixSixSevenSeven mentioned: if you didn't downgrade your lumia to Windows 8.0 (don't know if it's possible), it won't work. Maybe you ran the jailbreak, but it failed for sure. If not, this would be breaking news for Myriachan and the others xD
17th December 2013, 11:00 AM |#10  
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Short update:

I'm currently working an a packaging modification. I'll package the apps directly as .appx files using the windows store package builder shipped with visual studio. Toxickill told me, that despite this, the Original Windows store won't install the packages directly, so I'll be building an appx installer afterwards. And if we ever get the Windows Store to install our custom .appx packages without a custom installer, we will already have the correct package format Furthermore, the windows store package format is quite convenient regarding structure of package information and files. And in any case better than me trying to reinvent the package-format-wheel.

For the store client/repositoriy, the packages will be wrapped with additionaly info (images and other stuff, and I'm modifying my package builder to be a combination of the visual studio built-in package manifest editor and the devcenter web page for publishing windows store apps (some of you may know what I'm talking about, the others will just get to see the new package builder in a few days^^). This way, ppl can create packages of ported apps, without needing their own repository to publish it, but send it to someone hosting a package repository, who can simple import the package, which then gets unwrapped and put into the repository, presenting it's information to the store client.

In my opinion, microsoft has done some nice work, streamlining the app creation and publishing process for the windows store. And by trying to comply to their application, packaging, redistribution standards, I hope we may be able to get something out of them regarding jailbreak and such, making them see, that, if correctly managed, desktop apps are not lowering the user experience on windows rt at all, but are an enrichment instead
17th December 2013, 12:30 PM |#11  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fasin

if you didn't downgrade your lumia to Windows 8.0 (don't know if it's possible)

It isn't possible unfortunately :/
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