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PAD file tips

PAD files let you quickly submit and update your software on download sites.

Surprisingly, most PAD files contain at least one error. To help you ensure your PAD files are error-free, the Software Industry Professionals group has compiled this brief guide.

  • Start your short descriptions with a verb. Software listings that do this are generally more successful than others. For example, the description "Create 3D landscapes." is a better description and will receive more attention than a description that reads "Easy to use 3D landscape creation software".
  • Fill out all fields of the PAD file, including all description fields. If you omit certain fields, many download sites will be unable to list your software.
  • Do not include lists in descriptions. Most download sites will not display lists correctly and your software description will appear cluttered and unprofessional. Your submission may even be rejected by download sites.
  • Check that the release dates are accurate. In particular, ensure that you've entered the day and month numbers in the correct fields (sometimes publishers accidentally specify the day value in the month field of the PAD file and the month value in the day field of the PAD file).
  • Some software authors add numbers or non-standard characters (such as exclamation marks) to the beginning of their application's title thinking that it will result in their software being listed in first position on download sites when listings are sorted alphabetically. While this may be true for a very small number of generally older and less visited download sites, it will in fact harm your software listing and reduce your sales. Most download sites today sort software listings by their release/update date. Adding numbers or non-standard characters will make your software look unprofessional and is likely to result in your software being rejected or even banned by most of the larger download sites.
  • Verify that all URLs are valid. In particular, ensure that the ordering URL actually points to an online ordering page and not to your home page. You want to encourage impulse buying in order to increase your sales. The faster users of your software reach the ordering page, the more likely they are to make a purchase.
  • Version numbers should not be specified in the title field. Adding version numbers to the title will result in problems with some download sites. There is a dedicated version number field in the PAD file which should be used instead.
  • Do not repeat the software title at the beginning of descriptions. This is unnecessary since the title will usually be displayed alongside the description on download sites. Some download sites will also reject your submission if you repeat the name of your software at the beginning of your descriptions.
  • Use only lower-case characters for your PAD file URLs.
  • Retain the same PAD file URL between software releases to ensure download sites can correctly poll your PAD file and keep your software updated. For example, use the file name mysoftwareproduct.xml instead of mysoftwareproduct_v3.xml.
  • Never use HTML code in the description fields of PAD files. It does not comply with the official PAD file specification. Furthermore, some download sites may delete or ban software submissions made using PAD files that contain HTML code.
  • In the PAD file's Application_Icon_URL field, specify an icon 32 x 32 pixels in size in either the format GIF, JPEG, or PNG. Do not specify an actual icon-format (ICO) file.
  • Check your PAD files for technical errors against the PAD file specification. A free online tool is available to help you do this on the Software Industry Professionals website at http://www.siprofessionals.org/members/tools/padcheck/ .

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