Unified Cordova Fetching Proposal


Three existing fetching implementations.

  1. Platform Fetching

  2. Plugin Fetching

    a) cordova plugin fetching - plugin.js https://github.com/apache/cordova-lib/blob/master/cordova-lib/src/cordova/plugin.js#L147 - fetch.js https://github.com/apache/cordova-lib/blob/master/cordova-lib/src/plugman/fetch.js - registry.fetch https://github.com/apache/cordova-lib/blob/master/cordova-lib/src/plugman/registry/registry.js#L123 b) plugman plugin fetching - install.js https://github.com/apache/cordova-lib/blob/master/cordova-lib/src/plugman/install.js - possiblyFetch https://github.com/apache/cordova-lib/blob/master/cordova-lib/src/plugman/install.js#L104 - fetch.js https://github.com/apache/cordova-lib/blob/master/cordova-lib/src/plugman/fetch.js - registry.fetch https://github.com/apache/cordova-lib/blob/master/cordova-lib/src/plugman/registry/registry.js#L123

  3. Template Fetching

Both lazy load and remote load use gitclone.js https://github.com/apache/cordova-lib/blob/master/cordova-lib/src/gitclone.js

Currently, platforms and templates are cached at ~/.cordova/lib/npm_cache/PACKAGE. On master, plugins are being cached to ~/.npm/PACKAGE.


  • Create a new module named cordova-fetch. Fetches from npm and git.
  • Start using system installed npm instead of packaging our own npm in cordoba-lib. We already check for git being installed, we should do the same for npm. We would use superspawn to shell out to the system npm.
  • Stop using .cordova/npm_cache/. Modules instead get fetched to root node_modules directory in your applications
  • Add new --fetch flag to cordova and plugman to use cordova-fetch over existing fetching methods
  • Plugin/platform removal should run npm uninstall on your cordova projects to remove the module from the apps node_modules directory.
  • if a package.json exists, adding --save will also add the dependency to package.json (as well as to config.xml). This won't be used until a future update is made to move save functionality from config.xml to package.json. Just adding it now for future proofing.

New Requirements


  • Currently, I am using a diff of npm ls to determine which module was just installed. This is because the user can pass in a git url as a target to cordova-fetch. If the git url repo-name is different than the package.name, only way to get what module was just installed is by doing a diff before and after the installation. The diffing technique can fail if the user is adding a module that has already been npm installed. Luckily cordova doesn't allow adding platform/plugin which has already been added. cordova platform/plugin rm will also remove the module from the applications node_modules directory.
  • As a fallback to the diffing method, I am taking the target or repo-name as the module name. Hopefully this won't be needed.

Future goals

  • add a package.json to cordova projects, update cordova to start using package.json instead of config.xml. This requires moving over a lot of properties we currently parse in config.xml and updating tools to look in package.json before checking config.xml.