November 22, 2021

Whew, what a wild month!

Hi! I'm Simone, the developer of WSATools. Welcome to my website!

I'm a university student in Italy, almost done with my Engineering degree.

I'd like to start by thanking all my followers, those who've been with me and supported me since the beginning and all those who have joined me during the last weeks.

I thought I'd address a few things in a blog post, so here we go!

History of WSATools 📜

There have been rumors of Android apps support for Windows since years, and it even was so debated. "Will it kill UWP?" Fair questions, after all, as UWP apps have really great concepts that make it work well, and it also has it bad sides like the API restrictions. Either way, I was really curious to see if this would actually happen. A year ago, something named "Project Latte" popped up in rumors, I don't know if it really ended up being the Subsystem after all. Now we have it! I can't believe it. Microsoft has done God's work in making this the most perfect experience ever. I'm mind blown that android apps show up in the start menu, or in the setting menu to uninstall them, like any other window app. The integration is almost perfect!

But, something was missing. Every nerd like me wants to be able to fully use Android devices without restrictions and do cool stuff, like modding!

For example, ADeltaX made the Play Store on WSA a reality: check it out here!

ADB is easy stuff for us devs, but I can't believe Microsoft hasn't implemented double-click APK installation. Yes, there are a bunch of security issues (I will add warnings in WSATools, I know people are going to use it without caring for malwares) but a choice would have been amazing here. Something along the lines of... "Developer mode on == Apk can be installed with a double click". But it's not like this, at least not now, so here we go, here's my chance! This was the idea for WSATools. I knew people would end up loving it, but I didn't expect so much coverage from the press, both local and international websites. It's literally gone viral. XDA, Windows Central, Winaero, Deskmodder...I could continue for days, yikes! YouTube videos, Twitter posts! Mind blown.

What happened with Microsoft ✉️

Let's start by saying I could never get the app fully published in the first place. The leak was cool, I wasn't ready to handle it but at the end that was what made it famous, I think. Thanks, @h0x0d! At the end I think it was a good thing. When the first release was ready, I tried to publish it and it was rejected, so I legitly thought: well, I'll leak my own app now. Oh yeah. It was big brain time. And it worked. For the first two days. Then Microsoft took it down.

Let me explain how the app certification process works, if you've never published an app on the Windows Store.

As a developer, you (of course) agree to a set of rules decided by Microsoft which all apps must respect in order to be published. When you try to publish an app, it undergoes a certification process, which means someone in Microsoft (sometimes a bot, sometimes a person) runs the app and checks if all these rules are satisfied. If one or more rules are broken, the app certification fails and you as the developer get a certification report, which usually contains which rules your app didn't satisfy. In some cases, Microsoft might do a certification check autonomously. It happened with an old app of mine that I didn't update for more than two years, which was a little notepad app, and it got removed because it didn't satisfy the store rules anymore (specifically I had deleted the privacy policy page which was at that time enforced, now it isn't anymore). From what I've understood, WSATools had one of these automatic certification checks the day after the 0.1.56 update was pushed, and it was removed but... my certification report was totally blank, no rules broken! Well, apparently.

That really shattered my mood to peices, but it turned out to be an error, at the end. The app is now available again privately (yes, that's why you use the link to download it, and that's why you can't find it by searching on the store) and I will be able to publish it fully and public once I have solved the broken rules.

Contacting Microsoft was really helpful, even though I had to ask several times for more precise details and specific help for my case, the last reply was incredibly satisfying! They extensively took care of each issue (there are two rules that I have broken) explaining how I broke each rule and how to solve it, along with suggestions. Yay! They even sent a separate mail to give me their excuses for the blank certification report. Totally unexpected. Thank you, Microsoft!

WSATools might need to change its name 📃

The second rule I broke is about the use of trademarked or key names in the app name. Well, WSATools has... WSA. Microsoft doesn't like this, even if "WSA" is not trademarked, but I understand why. They don't want the app to be believed or misunderstood to be official. They've given me two different solution possibilities for this, in two separate mails: app name change, or to make it clear that the app has nothing to do with them. I honestly feel bad, as I usually go through a few stupid names when starting a project and it's literally the first thing I do, so I didn't think it through and ended up messing up this thing. I still need to decide on how to solve this. I have been thinking about cool names, but I'm really bad with these things :P Feel free to suggest on Twitter!

What's next for WSATools 👀

I have now taken a week of pause from development and all things regarding WSATools, but I'll be able to start working on it again really soon. I have got a bunch of bug reports (thanks!) and I already think I know why a few of them are happening, so they will be easy to fix. First of all, though, I'm going to fix all the things that Microsoft reported, so I can publish the app completely.

After that, improvements! There's a lot of things that can be improved, and I am going to make sure the app works in as much cases as possible, and will feel natural to use. A good interface is nothing if the app gets stuck or crashes, after all!

The first thing coming, though, is...

GitHub page for Issues 🔧

I've opened a GitHub page for WSATools. Right now it will be used to track the progress of my work, as I've put up a Projects page, but the most useful thing will be the ability to post Issues. Please do it, if you get stuck in the app, if something unexpected happens, if it crashes and so on. And even feature requests, yes. If you do, it will be easier for me to improve the app. The more details you put, the easier it will be for me to work on it.

Source code and releases on GitHub are coming soon. I still need to refactor everything and get rid of the spaghetti code mess 🤯

Here's a link to the GitHub repo.

Wrapping up ✅

I'm having a really busy period in real life for now. Please be kind and give me the time I need, I will work on WSATools whenever I have time. The Subsystem will publicly release in one year from now, probably, so I will have enough time to make this the app the best way possible. For now, consider yourselves beta testers, I guess. I really don't understand why people are putting 1-star reviews on the store listing if they get a bug. Some of them don't even know they need the Subsystem installed. You're on Insider builds, how can that even be possible? You should know what you're doing, how the Insider Program works, and all the news related, right? Well. I guess I'll need to make the app noob-proof as well...

WSATools is almost at 50000 unique downloads now. I'm really grateful. Thanks for reading!

In case you still haven't tried it, here's the link to the Store for WSATools!