Get started building NativeScript plugins quickly.
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README.md

Develop a NativeScript plugin Build Status

This repo is heavily based on @NathanWalker's Plugin Seed. Thanks, Nathan!

TL;DR

The NativeScript plugin seed is built to be used as a starting point by NativeScript plugin developers. To bootstrap your plugin development execute the following:

  1. git clone https://github.com/NativeScript/nativescript-plugin-seed nativescript-yourplugin where nativescript-yourplugin is the name of your plugin.
  2. cd nativescript-yourplugin/src
  3. npm run postclone
  4. npm run demo.ios or npm run demo.android to run the demo. This will automatically watch for TypeScript changes also in your plugin and do the transpilation.

Long Description

What is NativeScript plugin seed?

The NativeScript plugin seed is built to be used as a starting point by NativeScript plugin developers. It expands on several things presented here. What does the seed give you out of the box?

  • the plugin structure with option for easy development and debugging (see Development setup section below)
  • a simple working plugin
  • a demo project working with the plugin. It is useful during development and for running tests via Travis CI
  • plugin tests
  • a guideline how to structure your plugin README file that will be published to NPM
  • a shell script to create your plugin package
  • a proper .gitignore to keep GitHub tidy
  • a proper .npmignore to ensure everyone is happy when you publish your plugin to NPM.

Plugin seed demo

Plugin folder structure

Folder/File name Description
demo The plugin demo source code
demo/tests The tests for your plugin
src The plugin source code
src/platform/android Plugin Android specific configuration
src/platform/ios Plugin ios specific configuration
src/README Your plugin README stub explaining how other developers can use your plugin in their applications. Used when you publish your plugin to NPM. On postclone step, the README in the root is replaced with this one.
src/scripts The postclone script run when you execute npm run postclone. Feel free to delete it after you have executed the postclone step from the Getting started section
publish Contains a shell script to create and publish your package. Read more on creating a package and publishing in the Publish to NPM section

Getting started

  1. Open a command prompt/terminal and execute git clone https://github.com/NativeScript/nativescript-plugin-seed nativescript-yourplugin to clone the plugin seed repository into the nativescript-yourplugin folder where nativescript-yourplugin is the name of your plugin..
  2. Open a command prompt/terminal and navigate to nativescript-yourplugin/src folder using cd nativescript-yourplugin/src
  3. Execute npm run postclone to:
    • configure your github username - it will be changed in the package.json for you
    • configure your plugin name - all files and classes in the seed will be renamed for you
    • stub your plugin README.md file
    • create a new repository for your plugin
    • npm link your plugin the demo app - this will install the plugin dependencies and will add a symbolic link to the plugin code in the demo project allowing you to do changes and review them in the demo without adding/removing the plugin every time you make a change. Read more about npm link. If you encounter an "EACCES" permission denied error, please fix you global npm permissions, which is perfectly explained here.

Now you can continue with the development of your plugin by using the Development setup described below.

NOTE: The plugin seed is updated to use the latest version of NativeScript. If you are not ready to upgrade, you can checkout a tagged version that is compatible with your NativeScript version.

Development setup

For easier development and debugging purposes continue with the following steps:

  1. Open a command prompt/terminal, navigate to src folder and run npm run demo.ios or npm run demo.android to run the demo.
  2. Open another command prompt/terminal, navigate to src folder and run npm run plugin.tscwatch to watch for file changes in your plugin.

Now go and make a change to your plugin. It will be automatically applied to the demo project.

NOTE: Any changes that you need to make in a native library used in your plugin or in any other files inside src/platforms directory such as Info.plist or AndroidManifest.xml can't be directly reflected in the demo app. You need to use npm run demo.reset and run the application again.

Linking to CocoaPod or Android Arsenal plugins

You will want to create these folders and files in the src folder in order to use native APIs:

platforms --
  ios --
    Podfile
  android --
    include.gradle

Doing so will open up those native apis to your plugin :)

Take a look at these existing plugins for how that can be done very simply:

It's highly recommended to generate typings for the native libraries used in your plugin. By generating typings you'll be able to see what APIs exactly are exposed to Javascript and use them easily in your plugin code

Generating typings for iOS

  • Run the command for typings generation as explained in the documentation
  • Open demo/typings/x86_64 and copy the d.ts files that you plan to use in your plugin to src/platforms/ios/typings
  • Open src/references.d.ts and add a reference to each of the files added to src/platforms/ios/typings

NOTE: Swift APIs that are not exported to Objective-C are not supported. This means that you can only call APIs from JavaScript that are visible to the Objective-C runtime. This include all Objective-C APIs and only the subset of all Swift APIs that are exposed to Objective-C. So, to use a Swift API (class/function/method etc.) from NativeScript, first make sure that it can be used from Objective-C code. For more information which Swfit APIs can be exposed to Objective-C, see here.

Generating typings for Android

  • Clone Android DTS Generator repo
  • Follow the steps in the README
  • Copy the generated d.ts files in src/platforms/android/typings. Feel free to rename the generated files for readablity.
  • Open src/references.d.ts and add a reference to each of the files added to src/platforms/android/typings

Clean plugin and demo files

Sometimes you may need to wipe away the src/node_modules, demo/node_modules and demo/platforms folders to reinstall them fresh.

  • Run npm run clean to wipe those clean then you can can run npm i to install fresh dependencies.

Sometimes you just need to wipe out the demo's platforms directory only:

  • Run npm run demo.reset to delete the demo's platforms directory only.

Sometimes you may need to ensure plugin files are updated in the demo:

  • Run npm run plugin.prepare will do a fresh build of the plugin then remove itself from the demo and add it back for assurance.

Unittesting

The plugin seed automatically adds Jasmine-based unittest support to your plugin. Open demo/app/tests/tests.js and adjust its contents so the tests become meaningful in the context of your plugin and its features.

You can read more about this topic here.

Once you're ready to test your plugin's API go to src folder and execute one of these commands:

npm run test.ios
npm run test.android

Publish to NPM

When you have everything ready to publish:

  • Bump the version number in src/package.json
  • Go to publish and execute publish.sh (run chmod +x *.sh if the file isn't executable)

If you just want to create a package, go to publish folder and execute pack.sh. The package will be created in publish/package folder.

NOTE: To run bash script on Windows you can install GIT SCM and use Git Bash.

TravisCI

The plugin structure comes with a fully functional .travis.yml file that deploys the testing app on Android emulator and iOS simulator and as a subsequent step runs the tests from UnitTesting section. All you have to do, after cloning the repo and implementing your plugin and tests, is to sign up at https://travis-ci.org/. Then enable your plugin's repo on "https://travis-ci.org/profile/<your github user>" and that's it. Next time a PR is opened or change is committed to a branch TravisCI will trigger a build testing the code.

To properly show current build status you will have to edit the badge at the start of the README.md file so it matches your repo, user and branch.

Referring tns-core-modules in the Plugin

We recommend to use full imports of tns-core-modules due to an issue in Angular CLI. Read more detailed explanation in this discussion.

Ultimately after the issue in Angular CLI is fixed this would not be a restriction, but till then the recommended approach is to import from tns-core-modules using full path. Here is an example:

WRONG

tsconfig.json

...

"paths": {
  "*": [
    "./node_modules/*",
    "./node_modules/tns-core-modules/*"
  ]
}
...

yourplugin.common.ts

import * as app from 'application';

RIGHT

yourplugin.common.ts

import * as app from 'tns-core-modules/application';

Contribute

We love PRs! Check out the contributing guidelines. If you want to contribute, but you are not sure where to start - look for issues labeled help wanted.

Get Help

Please, use github issues strictly for reporting bugs or requesting features. For general questions and support, check out Stack Overflow or ask our experts in NativeScript community Slack channel.