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PhoneGap Native Plugins

A plugin is a package of injected code that allows the Cordova webview withinwhich the app renders to communicate with the native platform onwhich it runs. Plugins provide access to device and platformfunctionality that is ordinarily unavailable to web-based apps. Allthe main Cordova API features are implemented as plugins, and manyothers are available that enable features such as bar code scanners,NFC communication, or to tailor calendar interfaces. You can search for available pluginson Cordova Plugin Search page.

PhoneGap Native Plugins


Plugins comprise a single JavaScript interface along withcorresponding native code libraries for each supported platform. In essencethis hides the various native code implementations behind a commonJavaScript interface.

This section steps through a simple echo plugin that passes a string fromJavaScript to the native platform and back, one that you can use as amodel to build far more complex features. This section discusses thebasic plugin structure and the outward-facing JavaScript interface.For each corresponding native interface, see the list at the end ofthis section.

The JavaScript interface provides the front-facing interface, making it perhapsthe most important part of the plugin. You can structure yourplugin's JavaScript however you like, but you need to callcordova.exec to communicate with the native platform, using thefollowing syntax:

The success callback passed into exec is simply a reference to thecallback function of window.echo. If the native platform firesthe error callback, it simply calls the success callback and passes ita default string.

Once you define JavaScript for your plugin, you need to complement itwith at least one native implementation. Details for each platform arelisted below, and each builds on the simple Echo Plugin example above:

Cordova 6.1.0 added support for specifying the Cordova-related dependencies of a pluginas part of the plugin's package.json file. Plugins may list the dependencies for multiplereleases to provide guidance to the Cordova CLI when it is selecting the version of aplugin to fetch from npm. The CLI will choose the latest release of a plugin that iscompatible with the local project's installed platforms and plugins as well as thethe local Cordova CLI version. If no releases of the plugin are compatible, the CLI will warnthe user about the failed requirements and fall back to the old behavior of fetching thelatest release.

This feature is intended to eventually replace the engines element in plugin.xml.Listing dependencies is a good way to ensure that your plugin will not appear broken or causebuild errors when fetched from npm. If the latest release of the plugin is not compatible witha project, the CLI will give the app developer a list of unmet project requirements so thatthey are aware of incompatibilites and can update their project to support your plugin. Thisallows your plugin to respond to breaking changes without fear of confusing devlopers whoare building against old platforms and plugins.

Recently, I was tasked with developing a mobile application in PhoneGap that utilized the Bluetooth feature. Although PhoneGap provides basic functionality, PhoneGap lacks the ability to implement mobile features like Bluetooth. However, it provides the mechanism to implement a user-defined plugin and the means to access the native functionality in the PhoneGap application. In this blog I will outline the steps for implementing a plugin for PhoneGap to utilize native mobile features.

To implement a plugin, you need to implement a JavaScript interface, which allows the functions to be accessed through HTML pages in a PhoneGap application. The plugin interface must be implemented in the native language.

The cordova.exec function is used in JavaScript interface to access the native features through a user-defined native plugin. I have outlined the format and description for the function and parameters for reference:

A major benefit of using PhoneGap is that you can develop an application using HTML, jQuery, JavaScript without needing to get familiar with a variety of mobile native languages. But to implement a feature not yet available in PhoneGap like Bluetooth, a plugin needs to be implemented to provide access to the native functionality. Implementation of the plugin requires an interface to built in the specific mobile native language. Unfortunately, having to code in a specific mobile native language defeats one of the major the advantages of PhoneGap.

As demonstrated above, the interface code is a very small portion to be implemented in the native language. Thus, using PhoneGap lowers the amount of code needed in the native language. Because of this, I still believe PhoneGap is a good option to implement mobile applications for multiple platforms.

Ionic Native provides TypeScript wrappers and a consistent API and naming convention for easier development with Cordova plugins. It's supported in Capacitor, so whenever you find an Ionic Native wrapper you'd like to use, install the JavaScript code, install the corresponding Cordova plugin, then sync your project:

Capacitor does not support Cordova install variables, auto configuration, or hooks, due to our philosophy of letting you control your native project source code (meaning things like hooks are unnecessary). If your plugin requires variables or settings to be set, you'll need to apply those configuration settings manually by mapping between the plugin's plugin.xml and required settings on iOS and Android.

Use simple classes like Button, Grid, or DatePicker. The UI framework provides cross-platform abstractions for native controls, layout, styling, and more. These abstractions are easy to use in JavaScript, TypeScript, or XAML markup.

We are struggling with Ionic Native push plugin (which is based on phonegap-plugin-push). While we do receive push notifications sent, we cannot process the specific payload that we send so that when the notification is tapped, the app opens in a specific page.

"priority" : "high", "notification" : "title": "Title", "body": "Body", "sound": "default", "click_action": "com.adobe.phonegap.push.background.MESSAGING_EVENT" , "data" : "more": "data goes here" , "to" : "id"

Here on HTMLCenter we have published several tutorials about designing and developing Cordova / PhoneGap based HTML5 mobile applications.One of the main strengths of PhoneGap undoubtedly is the native plugin functionality. It allows developers to hook the native mobile OS components with HTML5 and JavaScript code. This way you can use JavaScript methods across the app to access functionality provided by native code.

In fact, any other developers using PhoneGap framework can just import your plugin and use the functionality in their own apps. Developer community has created many such plugins. And Cordova contributors have developed plugin manager called plugman in order to make installation of plugins simple.

Apple in app purchases being used by many freemium applications out there. You can integrate this functionality natively on iOS but there is also in app purchases plugin for PhoneGap.

TestFlight is great way of inviting and managing limited number of testers while you are developing mobile application. TestFlight PhoneGap plugin makes use of native TestFlight SDKs.

SQLite is the file database many mobile projects are using. There are many ways to read / write data to SQLite with the help of native mobile OS code and for PhoneGap you will need this plugin. In addition, Cordova SQLite plugin

This command will download the cordova plugin - in this case, camera and set the config.xml , package.json, save in plugins folder and set it for each of your platforms.Ionic leverages the cordova CLI to do this.

It installs the package @ionic-native/camera to your node-modules folder and sets that in package.json and nothing more.This wrapper allows you to inject the corresponding cordova plugin as an Angular provider wherever you need instead of trying to declare the global variable and other workarounds.

Add native functionality to your app with Capacitor, a native runtime built by the Ionic team. Install of the core packages and add them to your project with ease. Capacitor offers a wide range of features and capabilities that developers can use to access features like the file system, native location services, or the device camera. All of this is powered by a unified TypeScript API that handled platform differences automatically.

Hybrid apps are developed using web technologies like HTML, CSS and Javascript, and then wrapped in a native application using mobile platforms like Cordova. The apps are shown in its own embedded browser, like UIWebView in iOS and WebView in Android (not Safari or Chrome). This allows you to use any web-native framework for mobile app development.

Ionic has many pros and the most important one appears on its official site - you can create mobile apps without knowing platform-specific features. Moreover, you can use a wide range of components - building-blocks that adjust to the platform so that your app can imitate the native one.

To integrate with the platform's specific features, like Bluethooth or camera, you can use plugins provided by Ionic - it makes adding native functionalities to your Ionic mobile app easy.

Apache Cordova is an open-source mobile cross-platform development framework. Like in the case of Ionic - it lets you build mobile apps using standard web technologies. Apps created using Apache Cordova execute in a WebView within the native application wrapper, the same as Ionic.

The most obvious one - it lets you create custom mobile apps for both major platforms without knowing the native programming languages (Java/Kotlin for Android and Objective-C/Swift for iOS). It also has a set of plugins that enable you to invoke native code from JavaScript.


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