Publish an App on the Chrome App Store

Posted on February 18th, 2013 by Fernando Zamora

Recently curiosity got the best of me and I decided to publish an app to the Chrome App store. Most of the information for doing this is already online so I won’t provide a how to here. Instead, I will provide some of the highlights and the lessons learned from the process.

The apps in the Chrome App Store are web based so you will need to know HTML in order to create anything significant.

Two Types of Applications

You can create a hosted application or a packaged application. A hosted application is one where the application is hosted at your domain. In order for you to publish this type of application you must own the domain where it is hosted. I tried writing this type of application but was unable to because my application is hosted at apphub.com with free domain address (followmetotheweb.apphb.com). As such Google will not allow me to publish the applicaition.

The other type of application is a packaged application. The packaged application is a stand alone application on the browser. For this type of application you submit all the resources and the application works anywhere.

Necessary Files

You need several file for your application publish correctly. You need a small tile file. You also need a couple of icon files. These files can be of the type PNG (Not sure if others such as jpeg will do). For the packaged application you will need all the html files (javascript, css, etc). One file that all application is the manifest.js file. That file will indicate all the properties about your application and what file to launch. Here is the code for the calculator I published as my first application.

One you create the necessary files, you can test your application without publishing by simply using Chrome. You can do this by navigating to chrome://extensions/ on your chrome browser. There you can load the app by pointing it to the folder.

To publish the app you will need to zip the files folder up and go through the Chrome developer dashboard. This took me several tries. At first I was missing certain images. Then I didn’t own the site I was trying to point to for my hosted application. Also I was referencing jQuery from the Google location but for some reason that automatically pointed to a local drive file. Instead, I ended up including jQuery in my code.

Publication Fees

One thing I really liked about the experience was that it was only a one-time $5 registration fee for publishing apps, instead of the $99 the Windows market place charges.

Conclusion

Like I said before, the purpose of this post is to inspire, rather than provide a step-by-step. The developer forums and post already do a good job of telling you how to publish your application.

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