Configure Your Windows Store Application Using Manifest Designer

Before reading this article, please go through the following articles-
  1. Developing Windows Store Apps: Introduction And Requirement Specification
  2. Plans For Designing Metro Style Apps (Windows Store Apps)
  3. Windows Store Application Life-Cycle
  4. Guidelines to Pass Windows Store App Certification
  5. Navigation Patterns to Develop Windows Store Application
  6. Templates to Develop Windows Store Apps
  7. Develop Your First Windows Store App (Hello World)
  8. Controls to Design Windows Store Apps
  9. Lay-out Design Guidelines For Windows Store Apps
  10. Guidelines to Create Splash Screen For Windows Store Application

Introduction

 
In my last article, we saw the guidelines for splash screens in Windows Store applications. In this article, we will see how to configure your Windows Store application using the Manifest Editor. Most of the Windows Store application settings are available in the manifest file. In my previous article, we talked about the app manifest file used when the application is being installed or removed from the user's system. In this manifest file, we have various settings that need to set when we are developing our Windows Store application. Generally, this file is one XML file but Visual Studio provides a great way to edit this file using the Manifest Editor. The Manifest Editor contains generally five tabs which are as follows. We will see them one-by-one.
 

1. Application UI

 
This is the first tab in the Manifest Editor. This tab is mostly used to configure the application user interface. For example like setting the application logo, splash screen, background color, etc. We will see every section in this tab below.
  • Display Name
     
    The user-friendly name of your Windows Store application which is displayed to the user. We can say the identification name to the application also.
     
  • Entry Point

    This section in the application UI tab specifies the class name that runs first when the application is started. The entry point section appears only for the application which is created using C#, Visual Basic or C++ languages.
     
  • Start Page
     
    This section appears only when you create your application using JavaScript. This section defines the start page for your application.
     
  • Description
     
    This section is optional in the Manifest Editor of your Windows Store application. This section provides a description of your application.
     
  • Supported Rotation
     
    As we know Windows Store applications run on various devices like tablets. These devices can be moved or rotated by the user. In this section, we can specify the preferred orientation in which our application looks good.
     
  • Short Name
     
    This section specifies the short name for your Windows Store application which appears in the application tiles directly.
     
  • Foreground Text

    This section sets the foreground color to the text which appears on application tiles.

  • Title Background Color

    This property in the Manifest Editor specifies the background color to the application tile.
     
  • Logo
     
    This section in the application UI specifies the image file path which appears on the application tile.
     
  • Wide Logo
     
    This is the wide version of the above logo image which is used when our application tile appears in wide format. 
     
  • Small Logo
     
    This is the small version of the logo image which is used by the system when the user searches for something.
     
  • Store Logo
     
    This is the image to specify the logo in the Windows Store for your application.
     
  • Toast Capable
     
    If your application needs to raise a toast notification set this property to yes.
     
  • Splash Screen
     
    This property is used to set the foreground image for your application's splash screen.

2. Capabilities

 
 
This is the second tab in the Manifest Editor. While developing our application we use the system resources like webcam, internet, etc, Our application by default does not have this functionality enabled, we have to set these capabilities explicitly in the Manifest Editor. The system features are available in the Manifest Editor in checkbox list format; when we check the particular checkbox in the list of features we can use in our application. The following are some commonly used capabilities in our Windows Store apps.
  • Documents Library
     
    Check this checkbox when your Windows Store application needs to access a user's document library.
     
  • Private Network (Client & Server)
      
    If your Windows Store application needs to connect with a private network like home or work then set this capability. If this capability is not set then your Windows Store application is unable to connect with those networks.
      
  • Internet (Client & Server)
      
    Set this capability if your application needs to communicate with public networks. This capability provides inbound and outbound access to public networks.
     
  • Internet (Client)
     
    Set this capability if your Windows Store application needs to communicate with a public network. This setting only provides outbound access to public networks.
     
  • Location
     
    If you are developing location-aware applications and your app needs to use GPS sensors then you must set this capability.
     
  • Music Library
      
    If you need to access the user's music library then you must set this capability in the manifest file. This setting allows your application to loop through and access all the music files without user interaction.
     
  • Picture Library
     
    Set this capability if your application needs to loop and access the user's picture library without user interaction.
     
  • Proximity
     
    This capability is used when your application needs to connect to other devices available within a certain distance.
      
  • Removable Storage
      
    If your application needs to access the files available on removable storage then set this capability.
      
  • Videos Library
     
    If your application needs to use the video library from the user's system then set this capability to your Windows Store application.
      
  • Shared User Certificates
      
    If you are developing some financial application that needs the smart cart for identifying the user's identity then set this capability to your Windows Store application.
      
  • Webcam
      
    In your Windows Store application if you are capturing some photos or capturing videos from a webcam then you must set this capability in the app manifest.

3. Declaration

 
If your application includes system contracts like search, file open picker, etc, then this tab provides easy configuration of those contracts you are using in your Windows Store application. The following are some contracts which you can set from this tab in the Manifest Editor:
  • Account Picture Provider
     
    If your Windows Store application needs to provide the ability to change the user account picture then you can use this extension to do that.
     
  • Autoplay Content
      
    As a Windows OS user, all of you are aware that when the user connects a device to their system then Windows raises an autoplay event. If your Windows Store application needs to appear on the list of autoplay then you can use this contract.
      
  • AutoPlay Device
      
    When you need to launch your application when the user attaches to an external device such as a webcam to their system then you can take advantage of this contract.
     
  • Background Task
     
    When you need to run a background task when your application is suspended then you can use this extension to run that background task in your Windows Store application.
      
  • Contact Picker
      
    When your application needs to access the user's contact book then you can use this contract.
      
  • File Open Picker
     
    If your Windows Store application requires opening the file then you can use this contract.
     
  • File Save Picker
     
    If your Windows Store application must save a file on the user's system then you can include the file save picker contract in your application.
      
  • Search
      
    When your application needs to provide the feature like search then you can use this contract in your application.
      
  • Share
      
    If your application needs to share the content with social media or sending some mail to user contacts then you can use this contract.

4. Packaging

 
This is one of the most important tabs in the Manifest Editor. This tab is used when you care to deploy your application. All the application packing settings can be done using this tab in the Manifest Editor. The following are some useful configurations which must be done before deploying your application:
  • Package Name
      
    The unique name to identify the package in the system. This attribute is case sensitive.
     
  • Package Display Name
      
    To display a user-friendly name in the Windows Store you can use this attribute.
      
  • Version
      
    This attribute is used to provide the package version information.
      
  • Publisher Display Name 
     
    This attribute is used to provide the publisher name which displays in the Windows Store developer portal site.

Conclusion

 
In this article, you learned the easy way to configure Windows Store applications. I hope you enjoyed reading this article. In my next article I'll return with a new topic, so keep reading this series.