Microsoft has announced their new Windows Desktop Program that will provide software data analytics for desktop programs related to installation counts and failures.
This Desktop Application Analytics service is a replacement for the current SysDev program, which provided similar information for desktop software programs. The new service and its data is free. It requires the developer to sign up with their Microsoft Account at the developer dashboard. Most Windows developers are likely to already have a Microsoft Account, so all this process does is add this account so they can opt in to access the software data analytics information that will be collected.
Once you are signed up for the new Windows Desktop Program, you will need to register your code-signing certificates at the developer portal. Then you can begin collecting the application data. This is quickly accomplished by downloading an unsigned file from the developer portal and using your code certificate to sign it. After you upload this signed file back to Microsoft, they will register it and connect any telemetry that is collected for your already-signed apps, then start populating your Desktop Application Analytics dashboard.
Sample of the Windows Desktop Program Application Analytics Dashboard (Courtesy of Microsoft)
Once all of that software data analytics information begins to flow into the developer portal for your software, you will then be able to access reports with the following insights:
- View a summary of all failure types, sorted by number of hits.
- Drill down into each failure and download stack traces and CAB files to debug the issue faster.
- Compare the health status and adoption of a newly released version of your application to previous releases.
- View health data in aggregate or by region, allowing you to isolate issues that are specific to a region.
- Compare performance and adoption of your desktop applications across Windows versions, such as the latest Windows 10 or Windows Insider releases.
The process of providing your signed code certificate only has to happen once because Microsoft will connect any new desktop software you build to your account for that certificate. That will trigger the sending the applicable telemetry data to your developer dashboard for the Windows Desktop Program without any further action on your part.