Unified Cordova Fetching Proposal

  • Status: Completed


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/lib/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.
  • Add --fetch flag to cordova create APPID --template TEMPLATEID/GITURL to use cordova-fetch when getting the template. The template is fetched to .cordova/node_modules/ directory and the appropriate files are added.

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 as well as config.xml. This requires moving over some functionality from config.xml and updating tools to look in package.json before checking config.xml.


Issues: https://issues.apache.org/jira/browse/CB-9858 & https://issues.apache.org/jira/browse/CB-11349