Unlike other mobile platforms, the Windows Phone platform was built with business scenarios in mind from the ground up.
Microsoft provides great enterprise support for desktop applications. On the mobile front, the Windows Phone platform provides better enterprise support than its rival mobile platforms.
Microsoft has built first-class support to allow enterprises to deploy company applications on to enrolled devices, bypassing the Windows Phone store.
Enterprise users can install company apps as soon as they enroll their phones for app distribution by their company.
Companies can use one of two ways to support deploying enterprise apps to enrolled Windows phone devices.
1. Use Windows Intune
2. Use System Center 2012 Configuration Manager
Besides the above mentioned approaches, companies can establish company accounts, enroll devices and distribute apps to their enrolled devices.
Steps for enterprise apps deployment for enrolled Windows Phone devices.
1 .A company would first need to register for a company account, which is validated by Symantec.
a. Get a Publisher ID for the company.
b. Get an enterprise mobile code signing certificate from Symantec.
c. Import the certificate on a computer (Follow instructions at https://knowledge.verisign.com/support/code-signing-support/index?page=content&id=SO20770&actp=search&viewlocale=en_US).
d. Export the certificate in PFX format (along with the private key).
2. The second step is to create the application enrollment token (AET).
a. AET can be generated using the AETGenerator available under the Windows Phone 8 SDK tools.
The syntax is:
AETGenerator.exe <path_to_PFXCertificateFile> <private key>
b. The output will be an AET.aetx file (XML format) that can be distributed to users.
3.For the next step, a Company Hub application needs to be developed, which can act as the portal for users to discover and install company apps.
4.Enterprise apps need to be prepared for distribution by doing the following:
a. Precompile managed assemblies into native code
b. Sign the XAP file with the PFX file (from the enterprise certificate)
5.Distribute the AET and the Company Hub XAP files to company users.
6. On a daily basis, the phone will send the published IR from the AET to a Microsoft service to confirm that the company account is still valid. The default validity of the phone enrolled is one year.
To build a company hub app, you need to consider the following guidelines.
1. Upon starting, the Company Hub app will retrieve metadata about all the available XAPs from the company.
2. Use the InstallationManager,FindPackagesForCurrentPublisher to determine company apps already installed on the phone.
3. Upon clicking an app that is not already installed, invoke InstallationManager,AddPackageAsync to begin the installation.
4. Upon tapping an app that is already installed, launch the application using Package.Launch api.
In this article, we learned about building and deploying apps to enterprise enrolled phones. I hope you have found this information useful.
About the Author
Vipul Patel is a Program Manager currently working at Amazon Corporation. He has formerly worked at Microsoft in the Lync team and in the .NET team (in the Base Class libraries and the Debugging and Profiling team). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org