Yandex company blog

Yandex Supports Android Developer Community Initiative To Streamline Multiple App Store Publishing

What any app developer goes for is number of downloads. The bigger is the app store, the tougher is the competition, the harder it is for an app to get noticed even if it's a good app.

The largest app store on the Android market naturally attracts both developers and customers, but it's not the one and only place where Android apps can be published and downloaded. There are over 30 alternative Android app stores in the world, including global and local carrier and OEM stores and independent publishers, each with tens of thousands apps. The number of white-label app stores, such as carrier stores using out-of-box solutions for their back-end processing, is innumerable. Alternative Android app stores cannot compete with the market leader by number of apps, but the average number of downloads per app in alternative app stores is quite comparable with that in Google Play, and, taken in total, they can easily beat the Goliath. 

The primary reason why app developers may not be too eager to submit their apps to multiple alternative app stores, including the leading app distributor, is that publishing individually to each app store is quite time and effort consuming. Each of the existing app stores has a format for app submission of its own.

To streamline the publishing process to multiple Android stores, Yandex, together with Opera and SlideME, supported the Android developer community’s initiative One Platform Foundation. This initiative was created to make Android app publishing more fluid and open for all.

The One Platform Foundation team have developed a universal application description file for app stores, AppDF. Using the HTML5 AppDF Editor, an Android app developer can quickly and easily create a ZIP archive with an .appdf extension, which contains a full application description and links to other files in the archive, such as APK files, screenshots, promo graphics, video, etc. Then the developer can submit the app directly to any number of stores supporting this format in just a few clicks.

AppDF is available for free to any Android app developer wishing to expand their distribution channels. You can learn more about AppDF and wrap your APK files into a unified format right now.

The AppDF format is currently supported in Opera Mobile StoreSlideMECodeNgo and Yandex.Store, with a number of other app distributors on the way to implement this format.

Here is what OPF partners say:

Victor Shaburov, VP Storefront Services, Opera Software: "AppDF is a great tool that allows cross-store app submission. It simplifies the work of developers a lot and is set to drive them a lot of new users."
Chris Jones, Co-Founder of self-publishing platform CodeNgo: "We believe that AppDF will significantly lower the obstacles for developers trying to monetize their apps and also enable a healthier alternative app store ecosystem."
Vassili Philippov, OPF Founder and Head of Mobile Product Distribution at Yandex: “Most Android developers are forced to limit their distribution opportunities to only one or two stores, while other app stores lose their chances to host good apps, just because of the imperfect publishing routine. To help everyone resolve this issue, we developed an open standard for application description – AppDF.” 
George Christopoulos, Chief Executive Officer, SlideME: "The AppDF initiative from One Platform Foundation is a step forward for app publishers. AppDF eliminates most hurdles faced today for major app publishers with a large amount of apps to manage and ingest their apps into multiple stores. We expect in due time, users will have access to more quality apps from major app publishers on even non-Google Play enabled devices operated by alternative stores, provided that user trust can be built via stricter approval processes." 

AppDF is an open standard. Each change or amendment to the standard is public. Any member of the OPF community is welcome with their commits.

OPF is opened for any Android app store, here is what to do if you want to join us.

The next item on the OPF's ‘to-do’ list is streamline in-app billing for Android. Right now each app store requires a new build for an app with the in-app billing feature. Tweaking an opportunity to pay for things or levels in a game for each new app store may take days and even weeks depending on complexity of each new In-App Billing API. The OPF aims to create the Open In-App Billing API, which will be indispensable for those app stores who care for their clients a little more than others and those who simply lack an In-App Billing API of their own.

App developers will benefit from the open-source library the OPF team are currently working on. The Open In-App Billing Library allows app developers support in-app billing APIs from multiple app stores with one piece of code, which dramatically cuts the time required to build versions of an app individually for each app store.

Both AppDF and Open IAP Library allow Android app developers publish apps to multiple stores regardless of their language, thus significantly expanding their distribution market.