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From Tyler Wilson <>
Subject Re: Updating plugin code on prepare
Date Fri, 27 Sep 2013 00:46:01 GMT
And one more data point I think worth mentioning: I just went to the main Cordova site, clicked
the top Download button, it took me to the Download & Archive section, and I downloaded
the I opened it up and it is just a folder full of zip files, including the zips
for each plugin.

Now I know how to create a project for each platform the old bin/create way, but then it is
unclear how to use the plugins. I looked in the console plugin and the file says
to read the "Using Plugman to Manage Plugins" with a URL of ""
which does not point to anything.

Perhaps a note in the download that people that want the non-CLI version should download the
2.9.0 version, which as I recall still contains the core plugins people might need/want.


On Sep 26, 2013, at 8:19 PM, Tyler Wilson <> wrote:

> Re: IDEs: if it is the case that the CLI should not be used along with an IDE, perhaps
the documentation - including Getting Started Guides, etc. - ought to be much clearer about
this. Perhaps a big warning that "Xcode project files are created by the CLI, but they should
not be opened and used by Xcode. And you definitely should not edit code within the IDE".
> I just went to the main documentation site here -
- and it appears it only mentions the new CLI interface. No mention of the old bin/create
method. Seems to me there may be communication problem here.
> Thanks,
> Tyler
> On Sep 26, 2013, at 6:11 PM, Anis KADRI <> wrote:
>> @purplecabbage: I have the same workflow but I think the proposed
>> solution is a step in the right direction. It would allow us to easily
>> develop platform plugins without having to delete project/create
>> project/install plugin/uninstall plugin constantly. The plugin would
>> be packaged (plugin.xml) from day 1 and one can only focus on
>> development.
>> As far as IDEs, the answer is simple. You should not use IDEs and
>> cordova-cli at the same time. Until IDEs are aware of cordova-cli
>> there is no point in creating projects with cordova-cli because
>> everything gets blown on every build. I am not even sure we can make
>> Xcode aware of cordova-cli. We've already talked about this prior to
>> the 3.0 release and that is why we have the create scripts and plugman
>> approach. You should not be using cordova-cli either if you're doing
>> some custom native dev that can't be pluginized (changing the main
>> or AppDelegate.m or whatever). If you're using
>> cordova-cli just to create a project and then open an IDE to develop,
>> you're probably doing it wrong. You should be creating a native
>> project and using plugman instead.
>> On Thu, Sep 26, 2013 at 9:01 PM, Michal Mocny <> wrote:
>>> On Thu, Sep 26, 2013 at 1:39 PM, Jesse <> wrote:
>>>> What does a watch mean?
>>>> - if I reboot, is it still watched?
>>> No, this would start a process that lives until you CTRL+C.  You could have
>>> it run it in the background, or set it to start of startup, but that would
>>> be using local system tools, not part of the command itself.
>>> Ideally, "watch" should run "prepare" whenever you would have wanted it to.
>>> Though obviously that cannot be perfect, it can be a useful tool when
>>> iterating.
>>>> I think it would be best to consider separating development from packaging
>>>> in your use-case for workflow.
>>>> If I am going to develop featureX as a plugin I would :
>>>> 1. create a project for a single cordova platform, and develop the feature
>>>> as a native piece, and a js piece.
>>>> 2. test thoroughly
>>>> 3. create a project for a second cordova platform, and develop the native
>>>> bit, preserving the js from 1
>>>> 4. test thoroughly
>>>> 5. repeat steps 3+4 for any remaining platforms
>>>> 6. package featureX as a plugin by organizing relevant bits in the correct
>>>> folder structure, and adding a plugin.xml
>>>> 7. test each platform by installing with plugman
>>>> 8. publish
>>> As a plugin developer, that is not my workflow.
>>> Typically for me its:
>>> Write a sample app/manual test for some new feature that isn't implemented
>>> yet.
>>> Create a new plugin Foo for iOS & Android, and stub the implementation.
>>> Implement feature A of plugin Foo for iOS, test, add it for Android, test.
>>> Implement feature B of plugin Foo for iOS, test, add it for Android, test.
>>> ...
>>> Usually the js implementation is shared, the auto tests are shared, and the
>>> sample test app is shared.
>>> Sure, I do platform specific stuff for testing and implementation, but I
>>> certainly wouldn't say I do plugin development in platform isolation.
>>> Also, right now we do not have a "plugin create" command, and so leaving
>>> the "packaging" step for last doesn't add affect total work.  But once we
>>> do have such a command, plugins could start packaged, and adding the small
>>> changes to plugin.xml as you need them is likely a good way to go.
>>> Finally, this workflow would get people out of the habit of making changes
>>> to the platform artifacts directly.  I'm not sure that can be entirely
>>> avoided in all cases, but why shouldn't we work towards making that easier?
>>>> We seem to have this notion come up repeatedly that our users + plugin
>>>> developers are working on multiple platforms at the same time, which I
>>>> think is entirely false.
>>> Since we differ in opinion, how can we put this to the test?
>>> Also, we specifically make sure all our features address the needs of those
>>> doing single platform development, so in a world of 3.0+ cli, I really
>>> don't see how we can not do the same to address the needs of those who do
>>> do multi-platform development, especially when we have a good proposal of
>>> how to do so and someone willing to do it.
>>>> I also think we're trying to help the wrong people; If I am a developer who
>>>> is working on multiple platforms at once, and I have a bunch of devices
>>>> attached, I probably also have the skills to set up my own grunt continuous
>>>> integration system. Setting up tooling for potential plugin developers is
>>>> the wrong approach, imho. We should actually just go and implement some new
>>>> plugin and evaluate the process instead of creating and imposing a specific
>>>> workflow.
>>> The first part of this argument has some merit, I agree.  We the
>>> power-users have found ways to address our problems.  However, I think that
>>> with this change it means that even the end user can make changes to plugin
>>> folder as they find bugs/etc, and expect to see the change reflected after
>>> running prepare.  This is principle of least surprise, and just good design.
>>> I also don't think we are imposing any specific workflow here, just
>>> enabling a new one.  Personally I think that its quite surprising and
>>> embarrassing that we haven't enabled this workflow since 3.0.
>>>> @purplecabbage
>>>> On Thu, Sep 26, 2013 at 10:09 AM, Brian LeRoux <> wrote:
>>>>> I love the idea of a watch command.
>>>>> On Thu, Sep 26, 2013 at 4:48 PM, Anis KADRI <>
>>>> wrote:
>>>>>> Forgot about the existence of --link for a second. I think this is
>>>>>> good solution (not temporary). watch can be an enhancement to this
>>>>>> solution. This might get people like Joe Bowser and other people
>>>>>> do native dev to give cordova-cli a try (only maybe though).
>>>>>> On Thu, Sep 26, 2013 at 4:25 PM, Braden Shepherdson <
>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>> If the proposal above is temporary, what's permanent? cordova
>>>> I
>>>>>> want
>>>>>>> to make sure we're on the same page.
>>>>>>> Braden
>>>>>>> On Thu, Sep 26, 2013 at 6:08 AM, Anis KADRI <>
>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>>> No I didn't mean implement `plugman --watch`. I don't think
>>>>>>>> needs a `watch` command.
>>>>>>>> I was indeed talking about `cordova watch` which should watch
>>>>>>>> changes in plugins/ (and maybe in merges/ and www/ as well)
>>>> update
>>>>>>>> the platform projects (prepare?) on every change.  I am happy
>>>> know
>>>>>>>> that it's on the wish list.
>>>>>>>> As far as the original proposal, I believe it is a descent
>>>>>>>> solution for plugin developers who want to use cordova-cli.
>>>>>>>> On Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 7:17 PM, Michal Mocny <>
>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>>>> Braden, thats has been on the wish list (cordova watch),
but I
>>>>> suspect
>>>>>>>> Anis
>>>>>>>>> was suggesting something different with plugman --watch,
to do
>>>>>>>> specifically
>>>>>>>>> with plugin development.  Am I right, Anis?  How does
your idea
>>>>>> compare
>>>>>>>>> with using --link with cordova watch?  Would plugman
--watch be
>>>>> useful
>>>>>>>> for
>>>>>>>>> non cli projects?
>>>>>>>>> -Michal
>>>>>>>>> On Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 10:31 AM, Braden Shepherdson
>>>>>>>>>> We've had a vague feature planned for a while now
to do a cordova
>>>>>>>> watch. It
>>>>>>>>>> would watch your plugins/, www/, and merges/* for
any changes. If
>>>>> any
>>>>>>>>>> changes are detected, it would re-run cordova prepare,
so that
>>>> your
>>>>>>>> native
>>>>>>>>>> projects are always up-to-date.
>>>>>>>>>> I'm open to checking (hashes?) which files have changed
and which
>>>>>> have
>>>>>>>> not,
>>>>>>>>>> but hashing them all is touching them all anyway,
and it might be
>>>>>> faster
>>>>>>>>>> for small files to just copy them instead of checking
>>>> We'll
>>>>>> have
>>>>>>>> to
>>>>>>>>>> try it and see; for v1 I'm going with the simple
option of
>>>> copying
>>>>>>>>>> everything.
>>>>>>>>>> Braden
>>>>>>>>>> On Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 9:44 AM, Michal Mocny <
>>>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>> The idea for plugin dev outside of plugins/ folder
was to use
>>>>>> "plugin
>>>>>>>> add
>>>>>>>>>>> --link".  Matter of fact, braden suggested that
"plugin create"
>>>>>> should
>>>>>>>>>>> default to --link-ing to some external location
so that you
>>>> don't
>>>>>> risk
>>>>>>>>>>> deleting your only copy inside plugins/.  (I
personally don't
>>>>> think
>>>>>>>>>> thats a
>>>>>>>>>>> necessary concern, but I think its a conversation
for later).
>>>>>>>>>>> I'm not even sure what a 'watch' would do, just
uninstall &
>>>>> install
>>>>>>>> each
>>>>>>>>>>> time the plugin changes?  I think that ends up
being just
>>>>> slightly
>>>>>>>> worse
>>>>>>>>>>> than the current proposal if you factor in that
we already do
>>>>>> support
>>>>>>>>>>> --link (except without the above change its been
>>>>>>>>>>> However, we may still want some form of 'watch'
command for
>>>> devs
>>>>>> using
>>>>>>>>>>> plugman directly.  I had assumed that those devs
just edit in
>>>>>> place,
>>>>>>>>>> since
>>>>>>>>>>> they don't use a prepare step anyway.
>>>>>>>>>>> -Michal
>>>>>>>>>>> On Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 7:50 AM, Anis KADRI <
>>>>>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>>> If we're talking about developing plugins
inside the
>>>>>>>>>>>> plugins/ folder than I think
it's a great
>>>>>> workflow
>>>>>>>> and
>>>>>>>>>>>> I would just hide the cached version of plugin.xml
>>>> that
>>>>>>>>>>>> plugins/ folder.
>>>>>>>>>>>> However, if you're developing a plugin outside
of a cordova
>>>> CLI
>>>>>>>>>>>> project, I think a `watch` (and add --watch)
command is more
>>>>>>>>>>>> appropriate. One of the reasons you would
develop a plugin
>>>>>> outside
>>>>>>>> of
>>>>>>>>>>>> a cordova CLI project is for easier version
control (each
>>>>> plugin
>>>>>>>> would
>>>>>>>>>>>> have its own repository). The other cool
thing about `watch`
>>>> is
>>>>>> that
>>>>>>>>>>>> it would copy the files that have actually
changed and not
>>>>>>>> everything
>>>>>>>>>>>> (some plugins have a LOT of files [1]).
>>>>>>>>>>>> [1]
>>>>>>>>>>>> On Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 3:30 AM, James Jong
>>>>>>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>>>> +1 This is a cleaner workflow and should
reduce some
>>>>> confusion.
>>>>>>>>>>>>> -James Jong
>>>>>>>>>>>>> On Sep 24, 2013, at 3:09 PM, Michal Mocny
>>>>>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Just to add, the reason for the "if"
statement in step (2)
>>>>> is
>>>>>>>> that
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> uninstall & reinstall take a
lot longer than just moving a
>>>>> few
>>>>>>>>>> files,
>>>>>>>>>>>> which
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> is the 99.9% case for most end users
who aren't making
>>>>>>>> modifications
>>>>>>>>>>> to
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> plugins.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> This way, we only do the heavy lifting
if your plugin
>>>>>> structure
>>>>>>>>>>> actually
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> changed.  Doing it automatically
means we no longer have
>>>> to
>>>>>>>> advise
>>>>>>>>>>> users
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> that making edits inside plugin/
folder is useless.  Now
>>>> we
>>>>>> just
>>>>>>>>>>> advise
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> them to run "prepare" after making
changes to either www/
>>>> or
>>>>>>>>>> plugins/.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> This key insight was Braden's idea
and I think its just an
>>>>>>>> awesome
>>>>>>>>>>>> change
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> for workflow.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> -Michal
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> On Tue, Sep 24, 2013 at 2:58 PM,
Braden Shepherdson <
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Michal and I were discussing
how to make the plugin
>>>>> developer
>>>>>>>>>>>> experience
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> better, by having `cordova prepare`
update the platform
>>>>>> projects
>>>>>>>>>>>> properly
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> when you change a plugin in place.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> I propose the following changes:
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 1. On plugin install, we cache
the plugin.xml in
>>>>>>>> $PROJECT/.cordova
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> somewhere.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 2. On 'cordova prepare', compare
each plugin's plugin.xml
>>>>>>>> against
>>>>>>>>>> the
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> cached one.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>   a. If they have changed, uninstall
the plugin using
>>>> the
>>>>>> old
>>>>>>>>>>>> plugin.xml,
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> then reinstall using the new
one (and update the cached
>>>>>>>>>> plugin.xml).
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>   b. If they are identical, copy
all the native code
>>>> files
>>>>>> from
>>>>>>>>>> the
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> plugin into the project again.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> The idea is that you can change
your plugin's native
>>>> code,
>>>>> JS
>>>>>>>>>>> modules,
>>>>>>>>>>>> or
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> assets, and after a prepare you'll
be running the latest.
>>>>> We
>>>>>>>>>> already
>>>>>>>>>>>> have
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> cordova plugin add foo --link,
but it wasn't very useful.
>>>>>> This
>>>>>>>> will
>>>>>>>>>>>> make
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> plugin development a much smoother
flow, without too much
>>>>>>>>>>>> implementation
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> effort.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Checking for changes to plugin.xml
lets us know that no
>>>>> files
>>>>>>>> have
>>>>>>>>>>> been
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> added or removed, that <config-file>
edits haven't
>>>> changed,
>>>>>> and
>>>>>>>> so
>>>>>>>>>>> on,
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> meaning that simply copying the
native code again will be
>>>>>>>>>> sufficient.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> What do people think? Any gotchas
that I overlooked?
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Braden

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