Great Windows Apps

This app was a candidate in the Apptivate.MS semi-finals. See how it did among the other candidates in the Knowledge group.

An alternative Windows Store that filters out the garbage to empower users to discover great apps.

Windows 8 is beautiful. Microsoft have created an operating system designed for the future and it really looks great, particularly when you use it on modern, touch-driven hardware.

This great OS needs great apps. However Microsoft seems to think that it just needs an awful lot of apps.

Having said they expect 100,000 apps in the Windows Store within three months, Microsoft's goal is clearly quantity over quality; simply to be able to boast numbers that rival those of other platforms.

In our opinion, vast numbers of poor apps don't benefit the Windows Store, in fact they harm it. The store is a place where users can find software that has been certified by Microsoft themselves. Allowing junk into the store devalues the store, other apps and the operating system itself.

Ugly apps make Windows look ugly. Worthless apps make Windows feel worthless. It's neither of these things.

Our app provides a true alternative with the following features:

  • Garbage apps automatically removed
  • Super fast browse and search!
  • True Top Rated listing
  • True New Releases listing
  • View all apps by a developer
  • Discovery of as yet unseen apps
  • See reviews from around the world
  • Windows 8 Features:

  • Windows style hub for fluid navigation, including Semantic Zoom
  • Search charm lets you find the app you're looking for
  • Share apps you found using the share charm
  • Live tile shows the newest apps added

  • Videos



    Software Developer Dec 20 '12 at 12:25
    People should stand by their words and actions, the internet as it once was... Too bad it will never be the same.
    Chris Newman Dec 20 '12 at 14:02
    Robert took down his comments, so I took down mine. Why are you involved?
    Robert Gawdzik Dec 20 '12 at 14:08
    We should just all drop it and say sorry to each other
    Software Developer Dec 20 '12 at 14:15
    Mostly for sport. You're not the first entrant I called out as ineligible. That honor goes to Mr. Peppers and his 50 associates I find it amusing to call people out on this type of stuff, especially so when they are calling out others for the same... You are welcome to call out my entries or behavior if you like. I assure you all the assets in my apps and the apps themselves were created by myself during the contest period and I'm not full time on this. I read the rules and followed the spec, if I'm wrong I'll apologize. Once again, Congrats!
    Chris Newman Dec 20 '12 at 14:21
    I've messaged you both on Facebook, which I mention here because I know it's not always obvious if you've had a message from someone who's not a friend.
    Logan Alan Nowak Dec 19 '12 at 21:58
    Congratulations on the win! One feature I'd like to see is the ability to recommend apps, like AppFlow on Windows Phone.
    StarlitSkies Dec 19 '12 at 22:25
    Thanks :o) Not having a Windows Phone (yet!) I've not seen AppFlow - what kind of recommendations does that have? We're hoping to improve the sharing of apps, to make it easier to tell people using the Share charm about the apps you like :o)
    Logan Alan Nowak Dec 20 '12 at 1:40
    They have one app that is featured a day on the main screen based off recommendations that people submit. The submission process for recommendations is just selecting the app you want to recommend and a short description why.
    StarlitSkies Dec 20 '12 at 9:59
    That does sound like a great feature! Recommendations from other people using the app will help build a community too :o) I'll add it to our todo list for a future update :o)
    StarlitSkies Dec 18 '12 at 16:00
    Thanks for all the votes everyone! Really happy here! :o) Although, I've not had any contact from the organisers yet... which is a little disconcerting!
    AnkMannen Dec 18 '12 at 16:21
    Neither have I? You think they at least could have sent a mail? :)
    Abby T. Miller  Dec 18 '12 at 17:06
    You will hear from us about your winnings when the grand prize winners have been selected.
    StarlitSkies Dec 19 '12 at 11:10
    Phew! I was worried I'd missed the email somehow! :o) Keeping everything crossed for the Grand Prize! ;o)
    RobCurr Dec 18 '12 at 5:01
    Congrats! I think you are the best in this category. Good luck on the finals.
    Chris Newman Dec 16 '12 at 19:42
    Exciting news! We just added Twitter Cards, so when you share an app via, it will include a screenshot and summary of your app. Twitter says 5-10 days to have this approved - look out for it!
    Software Developer Dec 16 '12 at 21:37
    Very cool! Good work.
    AnkMannen Dec 12 '12 at 16:12
    Great app! Only one question? Why is only reviews made in the US available? We have 12 reviews on our app an only the two made in the US is reflected in your app. Is this intentional or is the rest of the world wrong? ;)
    Chris Newman Dec 12 '12 at 16:31
    Thanks! It's intentional. To start with we focused on four English-speaking countries: USA, Canada, UK and Australia. Reviews from these countries are fetched and their ratings are combined. Each country added to this list increases the time it takes to reload our database, so there's a trade-off between capturing reviews from all countries and being able to keep the catalogue up-to-date. If you have reviews in these countries that you can't see, something went wrong - let me know!
    AnkMannen Dec 13 '12 at 6:09
    Nothing wrong with the ratings from these countries but we have our main ratings outside of these countries. Wouldn't it be more fair for developers to include at least the star-ratings in your search? Of course it's your app and you decide but you might be missing out on good apps just because the person who liked them is living in France. The game might still be in english. Just my $0.02.
    Chris Newman Dec 13 '12 at 13:47
    It's really just a question of processing power. I'd love to be able to include every country and even have it translate a review if necessary, but it would already take days at a time to do that and the Store is getting bigger every day! Unfortunately it's no quicker to get the just ratings from France than it is to get all the reviews. One way we might be able to tackle this is to fetch reviews on-demand only when someone looks at an app, rather than getting everything into the database up-front. I'll look into it.
    Chris Newman Dec 12 '12 at 14:13
    It's with some irony that we now have actual data on the significance of being listed in "new releases" on the Windows Store, vs genuinely being a new release.
    Sandra Walters Dec 10 '12 at 20:00
    Excellent app and concept. However, I'm at a loss as to understand why my app is in your crappy app list :( I've read your criteria and am not sure, as nothing in the list applies to my app. You might consider some feedback mechanism in your app to determine what's filtering a given app out.
    Chris Newman Dec 10 '12 at 22:59
    Hi Sandra, it will reveal the reason if you use the ID of your app to go to In this case it says that the description is too short. This rule is a little arbitrary, but we felt it helped to automatically remove a large number of apps that we were otherwise deleting by hand; descriptions such as "This app contains pictures of different sweaters". On the whole, developers who make an effort to produce a great app write more than a sentence in the description. (cont)
    Chris Newman Dec 10 '12 at 23:01
    Of course, there will be false positives and I can see that you used the "features" section to convey the purpose of your app and this is something we will look to improve, by considering features as well as the description in this check. Meantime, if you're able to put through a meta-data only update with a slightly longer description (at least 120 characters) then it will appear on the site and in the app automatically.
    Software Developer Dec 10 '12 at 23:45
    What does it mean when it says your team marked it as not good enough? Am I in your Developer Behaving Badly category?
    Robert Gawdzik Dec 11 '12 at 0:33
    @Software Developer you are blacklisted from ever making apps again! I think this website only considers the apps, not devs.
    Chris Newman Dec 11 '12 at 0:38
    Yeah, that got triggered by your dozen or so message board type apps. These are tough calls, but its hard to consider cookie-cutter stuff as "great". However, that did mean your actually great apps are excluded too, and I'll take care of that shortly :)
    Chris Newman Dec 11 '12 at 0:47 should be looking a bit better :) There'll be no screenshots visible for your apps right now, they'll reload over the next few hours.
    Software Developer Dec 11 '12 at 0:55
    What's tough is a couple of those cookie cutter apps have gotten more downloads and traffic than say Run and Shoot, Pub Quiz, or whatnot apps that I spent weeks on combined... but even my cookie cutter apps have more win8 features than 90% out there... and each have their own unique icons and 10 variations of live tile images on each which isn't trivial work. But yes, they are cookie cutter function on various content. They each may grow their own personality in function over time if the traffic they get deems it worthy. I know a few things based on 140 characters that do pretty well. ;)
    Software Developer Dec 11 '12 at 0:56
    Thanks for the explain! :) It's a tough algorithm to perfect that you're working on.
    Chris Newman Dec 11 '12 at 10:04
    Sandra - you should find your app at within a couple of hours.
    Chris Newman Dec 11 '12 at 10:07
    SoDe: We're considering some cookie-cutter type work over here, as it happens. However, it wouldn't get listed in our directory :)
    Sandra Walters Dec 11 '12 at 14:15
    Chris, thanks for the information. If only I'd read through all of the comments here beforehand :/
    Mexond Dec 10 '12 at 15:47
    A much-needed app. You've got my vote! :)
    StarlitSkies Dec 6 '12 at 23:57
    Wow! This app is really taking off today. We've had more than 1,000 new users today alone. Judging by the graphs in the dashboard, it's set to be a top 5 app tomorrow! :o) Thanks to everyone that's supported us!
    gyurisc Dec 6 '12 at 21:46
    Great App, we need this badly as I feel that the store is flooded with low quality apps.
    Kimberley Dietemann Dec 4 '12 at 23:57
    I love this concept! However, I'm not loving reading stuff like this: "Let's suppose the developer has already given his app a five-star rating." // Let's suppose that women make apps too. ;(
    StarlitSkies Dec 5 '12 at 0:32
    Hi Kimberley - I'm actually a female developer :o) Though my partner did write most of the text for the website. He didn't mean anything by it, as I do almost all the app development here :o) He just pulled up a long article about how "he" should be used where it can be either gender... I don't think I'll win this argument ;o)
    Chris Newman Dec 5 '12 at 0:37
    English, unfortunately, has no common-gender pronoun. While I understand that "his" may imply a male subject in this sentence, it's no more or less incorrect than "her" would be, and choosing one gender or the other is certainly less objectionable than the oft-misused plural "their". The precedent for using "he" when a gender is unknown is strong, and - in my opinion - consistency in writing is more important than attempting to redress the balance in a possibly confusing way, by using "her" 50% of the time. :-)
    Software Developer Dec 3 '12 at 17:48
    Don't forget to post a demo video to be eligible for prizes.
    mvark Dec 2 '12 at 5:03
    How do you track new releases?
    StarlitSkies Dec 2 '12 at 11:05
    We fetch the database regularly and those that have been added since the last update are new releases :o)
    mvark Dec 2 '12 at 16:21
    How do you get the "database"? From the Store's sitemap ? Do you have some automated process to track new releases? Congrats on the good work you're doing. You could probably specify the parameters you use for selection so that for apps that don't show up their developers know the reason. You could also devise a grading system based on the above parameters & give apps a score.
    StarlitSkies Dec 2 '12 at 19:14
    As Chris said on that thread, we use code like Viking Coder's which he published ( On the web version you can go direct to an abandoned app using its store ID, and then it will give some indication of why it was banned (description too short, default icon, etc) as we figured developers might like to know. Of course, if there's specific apps you want to know about, you can always ask :o)
    Sandeep V Dec 1 '12 at 12:44
    Great app filtering applied, liked the website and the app too..
    StarlitSkies Dec 1 '12 at 14:13
    Hi Sandeep - really pleased you like the app and website :o) It's great to see so many people using both already :o)
    AndrewC73 Dec 1 '12 at 6:36
    Great start, but please fix the display on larger screens (1920X1080). It only takes up half the screen vertically, with the scroll bar in the middle.
    StarlitSkies Dec 1 '12 at 14:12
    Hi Andrew, glad you like the app so far :o) We've had a few comments about it looking weird on larger screens - we'll be looking into making it better for the next update :o)
    Software Developer Nov 30 '12 at 18:12
    Loving the website and the app. why couldn't microsoft do this? One thing I noticed on the app is you are not showing anything to highlight trials, for example on my app Tweaker, there is only the price displayed, had i not included trial in my icon users would not even know i have a free trial. perhaps a category to feature things with free trials and paid apps in general, the Windows Store is pretty weak featuring paid apps... ie no top paid tile on home screen. Awesome work, thumbs way up.
    StarlitSkies Nov 30 '12 at 18:32
    Thanks for your comment :o) In the app it usually pops up a little message to say "Your X day trial will begin when you download the app" (which I felt was important to say as I didn't realise that and have downloaded a couple of apps, forgotten to try them out, then discovered my trial was gone already!) It does appear to be missing that information for your app - because you have trial days set to 0? How does a trial for 0 days work? We don't specifically highlight ones with trials though, and I'm not sure there's anything on the website to say so... so we'll look into this :o)
    StarlitSkies Nov 30 '12 at 18:34
    Search for "FotoSlides" and you'll see the trial text we've put in when there's a number of days :o)
    Software Developer Nov 30 '12 at 18:41
    My trial is a time unlimited trial, I guess they represent that with a 0. I include all app function in my trial version for unlimited time but insert a reminder to purchase in place of 30% of the tweets.
    StarlitSkies Nov 30 '12 at 18:56
    Well now I didn't know that! We can fix this for the next update of the app then :o) Thanks for letting me know :o)
    Software Developer Dec 6 '12 at 16:15
    Looks like I made your crappy developer list. :( All my apps have lots of Windows 8 features. I recently released 10 similar apps with different content focus on each, unique app icons, unique live tiles in more than 10 variations, a bunch of contracts and win8 features... and that wiped out my previous 7 apps in your list. Maybe your algorithm needs adjustment or I am just a crappy developer.
    Eithel Nov 30 '12 at 1:29
    Come on ! We need this (:
    StarlitSkies Nov 30 '12 at 3:16
    Just submitting it to the store right now! :o) Check out the updated screenshots! :o)
    user1864425 Nov 29 '12 at 20:21
    I want this app on Windows Store!!!!!!
    StarlitSkies Nov 29 '12 at 20:55
    Working on it right now! :o) Shouldn't be long before I can add a download link :o)
    RobCurr Nov 28 '12 at 21:33
    I love it... and not just because my app is in your list of the top games either. I have the exact same opinion as you that there are far too many apps that are in the store that simply hit the minimal expectations of certification without having very much put into originality or quality. Windows store doesnt just need 1000's of crap duplicated apps, it needs best of class apps or at least some reliable way to navigate through the refuse to find the gems.
    John Haugeland Nov 27 '12 at 19:39
    I wanted to try this out, but the app isn't downloadable and the site is down. :( I'll try again tomorrow.
    StarlitSkies Nov 27 '12 at 20:58
    Thanks for leaving a message! It looks like the site got featured over on without anyone telling us and apparently our site didn't cope with the attention! It should be back up now and we're keeping an eye on it :o) Hopefully there'll be an app very soon, not quite finished with it yet! :o)
    Software Developer Nov 29 '12 at 20:32
    That's it i'm making the Great Windows App App Finder Site Site.
    John Haugeland Nov 29 '12 at 22:23
    Then I'll make the Great Great Windows App App Finder App Finder Finder Great App App App.
    Daniel Shields Nov 24 '12 at 2:46
    I have an app (Word Sense) that is not being shown because it's description is too short. The reason for this is that the 'features' section is expanded. It might help if the 'description' and 'features' sections were lumped together for this check. In total, the 'description' and 'features' sections combined are longer than those of the Microsoft apps (SkyDrive for example).
    StarlitSkies Nov 24 '12 at 16:40
    It looks like your features never came through to our site - have you updated it recently? If you gave it a longer description it would get automatically relisted on the site :o)
    Daniel Shields Nov 25 '12 at 20:22
    It's still on the original release.
    StarlitSkies Nov 26 '12 at 13:12
    Ah, I've just checked, and we don't download the features if the description is too short (as soon as we find a reason to filter it out we stop looking any further to speed up the data loading). If you update your app with a longer description it will likely appear on the site.
    Robert MacLean Nov 22 '12 at 18:53
    Is this system curtailed? Looking at the website it seems to be automated, albeit with different weights than the Microsoft store - but all the same apps (good & bad) are in there.
    Jamie Nov 22 '12 at 20:08
    It's got automatic filtering based on certain criteria. At the bottom of the homepage: Statistics: Total Apps in Windows Store: 13648 Apps listed on this site: 3959
    StarlitSkies Nov 23 '12 at 10:56
    As Jamie says, it has automatic filtering to get rid of a lot of the rubbish. There will still be some apps on there which aren't the best - were there some in particular which stood out as bad? The more examples I have to help filter them out the better, obviously :o)
    BenBtg Nov 22 '12 at 14:46
    Love it! Far too much rubbish being let into the Windows Store. MS are so fixated by quantity at the moment they don't even care if you change the default store icon!
    StarlitSkies Nov 22 '12 at 15:31
    That's just the kind of thing we're filtering out! No apps with the default store icon (or default tile icon either!) and you have to bother to write more than 130 characters about it too :o)
    Logan Alan Nowak Nov 22 '12 at 12:31
    This is what Windows 8 needs. Keep up the awesome work.
    SAN3 Nov 22 '12 at 12:17
    I like this app. This is different from windows store. Because it contains more categories than store.
    Chris Newman Nov 22 '12 at 10:40
    Hallelujah! This is badly needed.
    Christoph Dec 16 '12 at 22:44
    Finally someone did it. The "normal" Store is terrible. But add more Countries :)