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  12. README.md


The command line tool to build, deploy and manage Cordova-based applications.

Apache Cordova allows for building native mobile applications using HTML, CSS and JavaScript. This tool helps with management of multi-platform Cordova applications as well as Cordova plugin integration.

Check out the Getting Started guides for more details on how to work with Cordova sub-projects.

Supported Platforms

  • Android
  • BlackBerry 10
  • iOS
  • Windows Phone 7 & 8


  • nodejs
  • SDKs for every platform you wish to support
    • BlackBerry 10: BlackBerry 10 WebWorks SDK. Make sure you have the dependencies/tools/bin folder inside the SDK directory added to your path!
    • iOS: iOS SDK with the latest Xcode and Xcode Command Line Tools
    • Android SDK - NOTE This tool will not work unless you have the absolute latest updates for all Android SDK components. Also you will need the SDK's tools and platform-tools directories on your system path otherwise Android support will fail.

cordova-cli has been tested on Mas OS X, Linux, Windows 7 and Windows 8.


npm install -g cordova

Getting Started

cordova-cli has a single global create command that creates new cordova projects into a specified directory. Once you create a project, cd into it and you can execute a variety of project-level commands. Completely inspired by git's interface.

Global Command

  • create <directory> [<id> [<name>]] create a new cordova project with optional name and id (package name, reverse-domain style)
  • platform [ls | list] list all platforms the project will build to
  • platform add <platform> [<platform> ...] add one (or more) platforms as a build target for the project
  • platform [rm | remove] <platform> [<platform> ...] removes one (or more) platforms as a build target for the project
  • plugin [ls | list] list all plugins added to the project
  • plugin add <path-to-plugin> [<path-to-plugin> ...] add one (or more) plugins to the project
  • plugin [rm | remove] <plugin-name> [<plugin-name> ...] remove one (or more) added plugins
  • prepare [platform...] copies files into the specified platforms, or all platforms. it is then ready for building by Eclipse/Xcode/etc.
  • compile [platform...] compiles the app into a binary for each added platform. With no parameters, builds for all platforms, otherwise builds for the specified platforms.
  • build [<platform> [<platform> [...]]] an alias for cordova prepare followed by cordova compile
  • emulate [<platform> [<platform> [...]]] launch emulators and deploy app to them. With no parameters emulates for all platforms added to the project, otherwise emulates for the specified platforms
  • serve <platform> [port] launch a local web server for that platform's www directory on the given port (default 8000).

Optional Flags

  • -d or --verbose will pipe out more verbose output to your shell. You can also subscribe to log and warn events if you are consuming cordova-cli as a node module by calling cordova.on('log', function() {}) or cordova.on('warn', function() {}).
  • -v or --version will print out the version of your cordova-cli install.

Project Directory Structure

A Cordova application built with cordova-cli will have the following directory structure:

|-- merges/
| | |-- android/
| | |-- blackberry10/
| | `-- ios/
|-- www/
| `-- config.xml
|-- platforms/
| |-- android/
| |-- blackberry10/
| `-- ios/
`-- plugins/


This directory identifies a tree as a cordova project. Simple configuration information is stored in here (such as BlackBerry environment variables).

Commands other than create operate against the project directory itself, rather than the current directory - a search up the current directory's parents is made to find the project directory. Thus, any command (other than create) can be used from any subdirectory whose parent is a cordova project directory (same as git).


Platform-specific web assets (HTML, CSS and JavaScript files) are contained within appropriate subfolders in this directory. These are deployed during a prepare to the appropriate native directory. Files placed under merges/ will override matching files in the www/ folder for the relevant platform. A quick example, assuming a project structure of:

|-- ios/
| `-- app.js
|-- android/
| `-- android.js
`-- app.js

After building the Android and iOS projects, the Android application will contain both app.js and android.js. However, the iOS application will only contain an app.js, and it will be the one from merges/ios/app.js, overriding the “common” app.js located inside www/.


Contains the project‘s web artifacts, such as .html, .css and .js files. These are your main application assets. They will be copied on a cordova prepare to each platform’s www directory.

Your Blanket: config.xml

This file is what you should be editing to modify your application‘s metadata. Any time you run any cordova-cli commands, the tool will look at the contents of config.xml and use all relevant info from this file to define native application information. cordova-cli supports changing your application’s data via the following elements inside the config.xml file:

  • The user-facing name can be modified via the contents of the <name> element.
  • The package name (AKA bundle identifier or application id) can be modified via the id attribute from the top-level <widget> element.
  • The version can be modified via the version attribute from the top-level <widget> element.
  • The whitelist can be modified using the <access> elements. Make sure the origin attribute of your <access> element points to a valid URL (you can use * as wildcard). For more information on the whitelisting syntax, see the docs.phonegap.com. You can use either attribute uri (BlackBerry-proprietary) or origin (standards-compliant) to denote the domain.
  • Platform-specific preferences can be customized via <preference> tags. See docs.phonegap.com for a list of preferences you can use.


Platforms added to your application will have the native application project structures laid out within this directory.


Any added plugins will be extracted or copied into this directory.


Projects created by cordova-cli have before and after hooks for each project command.

There are two types of hooks: project-specific ones and module-level ones. Both of these types of hooks receive the project root folder as a parameter.

Project-specific Hooks

These are located under the .cordova/hooks directory in the root of your cordova project. Any scripts you add to these directories will be executed before and after the appropriate commands. Useful for integrating your own build systems or integrating with version control systems. Remember: make your scripts executable.


Module-level Hooks

If you are using cordova-cli as a module within a larger node application, you can also use the standard EventEmitter methods to attach to the events. The events include before_build, before_compile, before_docs, before_emulate, before_run, before_platform_add, before_library_download, before_platform_ls, before_platform_rm, before_plugin_add, before_plugin_ls, before_plugin_rm and before_prepare. There is also a library_download progress event. Additionally, there are after_ flavours of all the above events.

Once you require('cordova') in your node project, you will have the usual EventEmitter methods available (on, off or removeListener, removeAllListeners, and emit or trigger).


Creating a new cordova project

This example shows how to create a project from scratch named KewlApp with iOS and Android platform support, and includes a plugin named Kewlio. The project will live in ~/KewlApp

cordova create ~/KewlApp KewlApp
cd ~/KewlApp
cordova platform add ios android
cordova plugin add http://example.org/Kewlio-1.2.3.tar.gz
cordova build 

The directory structure of KewlApp now looks like this:

|-- .cordova/
|-- merges/
| |-- android/
| `-- ios/
|-- www/
| `-- index.html
|-- platforms/
| |-- android/
| | `-- …
| `-- ios/
|   `-- …
`-- plugins/
  `-- Kewlio/


Running Tests

npm test

TO-DO + Issues

Please check Cordova issues with the CLI Component. If you find issues with this tool, please be so kind as to include relevant information needed to debug issues such as:

  • Your operating system and version
  • The application name, directory location, and identifier used with create
  • Which mobile SDKs you have installed, and which version. Related to this: which Xcode version if you are submitting issues related to iOS
  • Any error stack traces you received


Thanks to everyone for contributing! For a list of people involved, please see the package.json file.

Known Issues and Troubleshooting

##Windows When trying to add a platform on a Windows machine if you run into the following error message: cordova library for “android” already exists. No need to download. Continuing. Checking if platform “android” passes minimum requirements... Checking Android requirements... Running “android list target” (output to follow)

Error: The command `android` failed. Make sure you have the latest Android SDK installed, and the `android` command (inside the tools/ folder) added t
o your path. Output:
at C:\Users\me\AppData\Roaming\npm\node_modules\cordova\src\platform.js:185:42
at C:\Users\me\AppData\Roaming\npm\node_modules\cordova\src\metadata\android_parser.js:50:13
at C:\Users\me\AppData\Roaming\npm\node_modules\cordova\node_modules\shelljs\shell.js:1707:7
at exithandler (child_process.js:633:7)
at ChildProcess.errorhandler (child_process.js:649:5)
at ChildProcess.EventEmitter.emit (events.js:95:17)
at Process.ChildProcess._handle.onexit (child_process.js:787:12)

run the command “android list target”. If you see: ‘xcopy’ is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file.

at the beginning of the command output, it means you will need to update your Windows Path variable to include xcopy. This location is typically under C:\Windows\System32.