This story was written by Keith Dawson for UBM DeusM’s community Web site Develop in the Cloud, sponsored by AT&T. It is archived here for informational purposes only because the Develop in the Cloud site is no more. This material is Copyright 2012 by UBM DeusM.

App Store Launch Checklists

Dotting and crossing all the right letters as you prepare to unleash your app on the world.

Did you see the checklist the guy who jumped from the edge of space went through? Launching an app on Apple's or Google's stores is a bit like that.

On Sunday Felix Baumgartner stepped off a platform outside a helium balloon 24.2 miles up. He became (still unofficially, at this point) the first man to go supersonic without a vehicle around him -- just a spacesuit -- at 834 mph (373 meters per second), or mach 1.2 at the conditions prevailing up there. Before he stepped off into almost-nothingness, Baumgartner's "mission control" handler, Joe Kittinger, took him through a 40-point checklist of the series of minute tasks that had to be completed in the right order. Things like "Slide the seat forward" and "Turn off the cabin oxygen" (gulp!).


A different kind of leap
Anyone who has launched an app in an app store knows something of the feeling, maybe. The stakes may not be quite as high, but there a long list of steps to be performed in the right order.

What is that list, exactly?

You won't find a succinct and unam­biguous statement of the task list either on Apple's App Store or on Google Play. Apple has an orientation document of sorts. Android's developer documentation includes what they call a checklist, but it is more of a broad outline of categories of tasks you need to attend to. Its categories are as follows:

  1. Understand the publishing process
  2. Understand Google Play policies and agreements
  3. Test for Core App Quality
  4. Determine your app's content rating
  5. Determine country distribution
  6. Confirm the app's overall size
  7. Confirm the app's platform and screen compatibility ranges
  8. Decide whether your app will be free or priced
  1. Consider using In-app Billing
  2. Set prices for your products
  3. Start localization
  4. Prepare promotional graphics
  5. Build and upload the release-ready APK
  6. Complete the app's product details
  7. Use Google Play badges and links in your promotional campaigns
  8. Final checks and publishing
  9. Support users after launch

A real Google Play checklist
TechCrunch picked up and republished the introduction to a Google Play checklist developed by App Annie, an analytics and services firm for app developers. Here is App Annie's original orientation piece and the 42-point checklist itself, with links into the support site for Google Play, and other resources. This is a PDF document with actual checkable boxes and a Reset button.

An Apple App Store checklist
Stack Overflow has a question regarding the definitive checklist for the App Store submission process. This 61-point list has emerged as the favorite. Apple's process is more complicated than Google's because of the need to pass app inspection and to conform to Apple's Human Interface Guidelines.

Some developers who have been through Apple's process write up their experience when they come across unexpected wrinkles. For example, here is one developer's encounter with a delay on in-app purchases after going live with an app update. And here is a Stack Overflow discussion on getting government approval for an app that employs SSL encryption.

Such checklists will give you confidence when your app is ready to step off into space. It probably won't break the sound barrier, but you can hope that its downloads continue to accelerate.