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A unified JavaScript layer for Apache Cordova projects.

Project Structure

  | Will contain any build modules (currently nothing here as it is all hacked
  | into the JakeFile)
  |  |-bootstrap.js
  |  | Code to bootstrap the Cordova platform, inject APIs and fire events
  |  |
  |  |-builder.js
  |  | Injects in our classes onto window and navigator (or wherever else is needed)
  |  |
  |  |-channel.js
  |  | A pub/sub implementation to handle custom framework events 
  |  |
  |  |-cordova.js
  |  | Common Cordova stuff such as callback handling and
  |  | window/document add/removeEventListener hijacking 
  |  | 
  |  |-require.js
  |  | Our own module definition and require implementation. 
  |  |
  |  |-utils.js
  |  | General purpose JS utility stuff: closures, uuids, object
  |  | cloning, extending prototypes
  |  |
  |  |-exec/
  |  | Contains the platform specific definitions of the exec method
  |  |
  |  |-platform/
  |  | Definitions of each platform that help us describe where
  |  | and what to put on the window object, and what to run to
  |  | initialize the platform. A common set of globals are also
  |  | defined (common.js)
  |  |
  |  |-plugin/
  |  |  | All API definitions as plugins, ones common to all
  |  |  | platforms reside at the top level...
  |  |  `-<platform>
  |  |    ... and platform-specific ones reside in their respective
  |  |    folders


Make sure you have node.js installed. It should come pre-installed with npm - but if you install node and can't run npm then head over to the website and install it yourself. Make sure you have all of the node dependencies installed by running the following command from the repository root:

npm install

All of the build tasks can be run via the jake node module. Install it globally first by running:

npm install -g jake

Then from the repository root run:


This will run the build and test tasks by default. All of the available tasks are:

  • build: creates platform versions of cordova-js and builds them into the pkg/ directory.
  • test: runs all of the unit tests inside node.
  • btest: creates a server so you can run the tests inside a browser.
  • clean: cleans out the pkg/ directory

Known Issues

  • On Mac OS 10.7.3, there were issues with the contextify module not being able to build properly when using node v0.6.10 and running npm install. Using node v0.6.6 works, though.

How It Works

The build/packager.js tool is a node.js script that concatenates all of the core Cordova plugins in this repository into a cordova.<platform>.js file under the pkg/ folder. It also wraps the plugins with a RequireJS-compatible module syntax that works in both browser and node environments. We end up with a cordova.js file that wraps each Cordova plugin into its own module.

Cordova defines a channel module under lib/channel.js, which is a publish/subscribe implementation that the project uses for event management.

The Cordova native-to-webview bridge is initialized in lib/bootstrap.js. This file attaches the boot function to the channel.onNativeReady event - fired by native with a call to:


The boot method does all the work. First, it grabs the common platform definition (under lib/platform/common.js) and injects all of the objects defined there onto window and other global namespaces. Next, it grabs all of the platform-specific object definitions (as defined under lib/platform/<platform>.js) and overrides those onto window. Finally, it calls the platform-specific initialize function (located in the platform definition). At this point, Cordova is fully initialized and ready to roll. Last thing we do is wait for the DOMContentLoaded event to fire to make sure the page has loaded properly. Once that is done, Cordova fires the deviceready event where you can safely attach functions that consume the Cordova APIs.


Tests run in node or the browser. To run the tests in node:

jake test

To run them in the browser:

jake btest

Final testing should always be done with the Mobile Spec test application.



Build the .js file and drop it in as a replacement for cordova.js.

Supported Platforms

  • Android


Load this in Ripple to play with it. You will have to use the cordova prototype branch to better simulate the phone environment and use this javascript rather than Ripples emulated code.

git clone
git checkout winnie.the.pooh

and then load the upacked extension in chrome in the pkg/chromium folder. Use the cordova.proto platform in ripple.

Adding a New Platform

  1. Write a module that encapsulates your platform's exec method and call it .js. The exec method is a JavaScript function that enables communication from the platform's JavaScript environment into the platform's native environment. Each platform uses a different mechanism to enable this bridge. We recommend you check out the other platform exec definitions for inspiration. Drop this into the lib/exec folder. The exec method has the following method signature: function(success, fail, service, action, args), with the following parameters:
    • success: a success function callback
    • fail: a failure function callback
    • service: a string identifier that the platform can resolve to a native class
    • action: a string identifier that the platform can resolve to a specific method inside the class pointed to by service
    • args: an array of parameters to pass to the native method invoked by the exec call It is required that new platform additions be as consistent as possible with the existing service and action labels.
  2. Define your platform definition object and name it .js. Drop this into the lib/platform folder. This file should contain a JSON object with the following properties:

    • id: a string representing the platform. This should be the same name the .js file has
    • objects: the property names defined as children of this property are injected into window. Each property can have the following child properties:
      • path: a string representing the module ID that will define this object. For example, the file lib/plugin/accelerometer.js can be accessed as "cordova/plugin/accelerometer". More details on how the module IDs are defined are above under the "How It Works" section.
      • children: in a recursive fashion, can have path and children properties of its own that are defined as children of the parent property object
    • initialize: a function that fires immediately after the objects (see above) are defined in the global scope

    The following is a simple example of a platform definition:

        console.log('firing up cordova in my atari, yo.');
  3. You should probably add a packager.bundle('<platform>') call to the Jakefile.

  4. Make sure your native implementation executes the following JavaScript once all of the native side is initialized and ready: require('cordova/channel')

Cordova-specific TODOs Before Final Integration

  • Add a section about authoring plugins for cordova.
  • Related to above, come up with a consistent sensor plugin API. Functions like getCurrent<data> and watch<data> can be abstracted into a nice plugin. Compass, Accel, Geo should all be basically the same implementation. For example, on Android geo + accel handle calling start (starting the listener) in the native code on its own. However, Compass requires that JS initiates a start. This is dumb.
  • Media (and other plugin) implementations across platforms need to use the established cordova/exec callback method (instead of triggering globally-accessible functions to dispatch listeners). On iOS, grep for "cast" in the native code - you'll see a bunch of invoked JavaScript from native, which shouldn't be there.
  • Media needs updates across all platforms. Methods need fixing with respect to timing: some methods use milliseconds, some use seconds. Some methods not documented (setVolume on Android). Consolidate / implement properly across platforms.
  • Normalize Entry.toURL return values. iOS returns "file://localhost" + fullPath, Android returns "file://" + fullPath, BlackBerry returns just fullPath
  • APIs that are not cross-platform - what to do with these?
    • Crypto on Android
    • SMS, telephony, splashscreen on iOS
  • Once-over all of the cordova-docs with the APIs defined in here to make sure all is consistent. There were function signature tweaks, undocumented procedures, etc.

TODO / Hacking / Contributing

  • implementations:
    • BlackBerry: button + app + contact + file + others (need to once-over)
    • all of Playbook
    • everything for WP7
    • everything for Bada
  • tests for channel, pretty much everything under lib/plugin
  • think about whether to select and load the platform specific modules at runtime or at buildtime. what about platform-specific overrides? can we at buildtime decide to include only the overrides (to save a few kb?). what about specifically denoting modules to include/exclude on a per-platform basis?
  • 3rd party plugins could be interesting. Need a little bit more thought about how these will fit into the system. I am thinking a package.json type file to handle per plugin.
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