Apps for Windows 10 based Enterprises

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

What do I need to know about apps when moving to Windows 10?

All applications used in the enterprise today are required to be mobilized and compatible with Windows 10. This poses several critical questions. Instead of rewriting the application code with the new framework, should I work backwards from the current business process to adopt available modern/universal apps? Can I deliver the apps in a Windows 10 environment with a mobile experience without compromising on security? In this blog, we discuss the critical aspects of moving apps to Windows 10.          

Classic apps, modern apps, universal apps, line of business apps – can all of them run on Windows 10?

Classic apps – These apps are designed to run on traditional personal computers (PC). They consist of a set of binaries exe and processes with loose files and works on shared user profile. Classic apps can’t be used directly from Windows stores. Microsoft has released Desktop App Converter (DAC) that helps convert classic desktop apps as a Windows app to support the modern work style. If DAC cannot be used, it is recommended to look for an alternate modern app or re-write the code for the universal app.

Modern / universal apps – These are apps designed to run on all Windows device families available only on Windows Store. These apps are self-contained packages with strong app identity and can be isolated per user/ per-app storage. Universal apps have the ability to work on different device types, thus providing flexibility in interaction models (touch, mouse and keyboard, pen, or a game controller). This is the default method to access applications from a Windows 10 system.

Line of business apps – These are apps that are custom to the company – could be a business app or an app specific to industry. The company can make line of business (LOB) applications available through Windows Store for Business. LOB app developers in a company can become the publishers and submit apps to the Windows Store. These apps will be available only to the company submitting it. Windows Dev Center is used by developers to submit the app. Management and deployment of LOB apps would follow the same process as that of any other app available on the Windows Store.

The enterprise should be associated with the Windows Store to publish LOB apps with appropriate distribution and visibility settings. These LOB apps will be available for volume acquisition via the Windows Store for Business to enterprise users only.

Requirements for Store for Business:

  • Azure AD account to sign up for Store for Business as an administrator
  • Azure AD account for end users to access the Store for Business; users without Azure AD account can access only offline-licensed apps

How to distribute apps:

  • Sign up on Store for Business
  • Perform initial configuration of the store by providing account information, LOB publisher details, requisite permission, a name for private store management tools, if any; and enabling offline licensed apps
  • Customize with logo
  • Add an online app to your store and publish it

Side loading of apps

Apps in Store for Business should be signed by Windows Store before they can be published and downloaded by users. However, to deploy apps that are not signed by the Windows Store, sideload of apps can be done through the following steps:

  • Enable sideload of apps on device:
    • Managed Device – Deploy an enterprise policy to enable side loading
    • Unmanaged Device – Enable from the device settings under Update & Security à Use Developer Feature
  • Import security certificate – Install the certificate from APPX package (for managed device); runtime provisioning package to be used in order to import security certificate on an unmanaged device
  • Install the app

While this blog covers the various steps and processes involved in moving apps to a Windows 10 environment, each organization faces challenges that are unique to their setting. Share your experience of moving apps to a Windows 10 environment in the comments!

Gokulan Subramani