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From Mike Reinstein <>
Subject Re: State of command-line tools
Date Wed, 19 Sep 2012 15:55:42 GMT
Responding to Michal:

>So you cannot programmatically install plugins yet?
You definitely can install plugins, with the following caveats: The plugins
that are out in the wild are just that, wild. Andrew has "tamed" 2 of them:
the childbrowser and pgsqlite. but all bets are off on the others. There
are repos all over github with the plugins in various states. They depend
on different versions of cordova. Cordova only started shipping the cli
tools with 2.0, so if you want to use plugins with that you'll have to
upgrade old plugins to get support. There's also no unification across
platforms ( for example ChildBrowser has different repos for ios, android,

> So you just download 3rd party plugins manually then?
Depends on what you mean by manually. If you are comparing to npm install
<blah> yes it's manual. you have to get the plugin, put it somewhere, and
call cordova plugin add <args here...> But the tool cordova tool does work,
for some use cases.

>  perhaps we need a "core working group" and someone to
> drive the overall communication?
That would be wonderful, though I'm not familiar with how this works. I'm
happy to volunteer to do this, but I dont want to step on anybody's toes or
take away power from other people.

> So what are the short term technical tasks that we
> can assist with?  I think Braden is interested in contributing here.

Honestly I think the first thing is, start researching the state of things.
What we really need is to consolidate, organize, and plan. Like I said
communication is the biggest problem. Adding more repos with changes for me
to track is going to give me an ulcer, haha. I mean even referring to my
own stuff, I've got repos where I've made changes that I *think* are
valuable, but really at this point all I've done is make the problem worse;
I've added more repos to track that some other poor soul should follow if
she/he wanted to keep up with all the happenings of the plugin
contributors. I'm committed to making this better and seeing this through
but we need more planning and coordination, not more loose code snippets.
I'll follow up with a stab at an agenda in an email shortly.

Responding to Brian:
> . MANY others have been involved..probably better to
> just leave it at that

I've tried to be as inclusive as possible. I can't possibly know the entire
genesis of the project. I am not marginalizing or trivializing anyone's
contributions; We are all standing on the shoulders of giants. That being
said, I do think it's valuable for a newcomer to provide a practical
overview of who's been contributing in the last few months, and where their
work is. That's why I've referenced specific github names in my last email.
 I'm not trying to leave anyone out, you guys/gals rock!

> use the mailing list to communicate or it did not happen
Agreed, and that's we will continue to do.

> pls use apache git to collaborate in the open, private forks
> that aggregate everything have failed many times in the past
I'm a bit confused on this one. The forks that are on github are currently
public. Mine are too. Regarding failing of past aggregation attempts, I am
going out on a limb and saying they probably failed for communication
reasons, people couldn't get mental buy-in on their ideas, consolidate, or
coordinate. Again I'm saying this without the vast history of
cordova/phonegap/callback's anthropology but in all the other dev projects
I've worked on this tends to be the cause of aggregation failure; people
problems not container issues.

On Wed, Sep 19, 2012 at 11:31 AM, Brian LeRoux <> wrote:

> eh MikeR couple of feedback points:
> 1. MANY others have been involved..probably better to just leave it at
> that or ppl might feel bummed. probably every single adobe committer.
> 2. use the mailing list to communicate or it did not happen (as they
> say around these apache parts)
> 3. pls use apache git to collaborate in the open, private forks that
> aggregate everything have failed many times in the past (cordova
> namesake project comes to mind)
> don't be discouraged by fragmented and distributed development. its
> what we do best. ;)
> and finally, thank you getting this together into the semblance of
> sanity in a single email
> On Wed, Sep 19, 2012 at 5:16 PM, Mike Reinstein
> <> wrote:
> >> Still, I would also appreciate a formal update
> >
> > I'm not sure how to make this formal, but let me outline what I've
> learned
> > so far. I'm very new to the cordova dev community so if I muck up part of
> > this, someone chime and correct me. :)
> >
> > This may get kind of long but I think it will give a high level overview
> of
> > the state of things, who's involved, what we're working on, etc. One
> thing
> > to note: as it's been pointed out there are a lot of people working on
> > this, and it's become a bit fragmented. As a result there's a metric ton
> of
> > links that I could point you at but I wont because you'd tear your hair
> out
> > trying to follow them all, so I'll give you a straight up history. If you
> > have more questions follow up and I'll point you at the right places.
> >
> > Andrew Lunny seems to have started most of this work. He's developed a
> > plugin specification, a 1st attempt at defining a package format that
> > plugins will adhere to. It's essentially a directory organized in a
> certain
> > way, containing a plugin.xml with the bulk of the setup directives.
> Andrew
> > also created a tool called *pluginstall* that supports this plugin format
> > and supports adding plugins on android and ios.  He created this because
> > he's primarily responsible for phonegap build at his day job, the web
> > service that allow people to upload an archive and have it build
> remotely,
> > without requiring the hassle of local dev environments being set up.
> >
> > So pluginstall has been pulled into cordova command line tools as a low
> > level dependency. When the cordova cli does plugin related stuff, it
> calls
> > this tool in the background to handle adding plugins.
> >
> > Here is where it gets complicated. :) Andrew built pluginstall, and it
> > primarily exists to support phonegap build. He has no problem with it
> being
> > used for cordova as part of our toolsuite, but because his primary
> concern
> > is building/maintaining the pg build site that takes priority. Currently
> > he's also just getting back from vacay, and won't be working on
> pluginsall
> > or it's spec for a few weeks because he's also got an upcoming release of
> > phonegap build that takes priority. There are a number of things that
> need
> > to be changed in order to build out a more robust cli toolset on our
> side.
> > Just off the top of my head:
> > * support for platforms besides ios and android
> > * support for OSes besides Mac OS X (the cli tools only run on mac for
> now)
> > * better/more tests
> > * someday we will probably want to have a repo so people can
> > programmatically install plugins similar to npm
> >
> > Those are just the high level tasks, as you can imagine the devil is in
> the
> > details and there are 7.8 trillion sub tasks.
> >
> > What I've found to be most challenging though, is the dev environment and
> > fragmentation. There are 4-6 people involved in the development of this
> > tool, with people working in different directions though with a shared
> > goal. My first several weeks on this team have largely been playing
> > detective, interrogating everyone that seems to have some involvement in
> > the plugin feature, looking at docs, and discovering what repos have what
> > changes, and the *WHY *behind them. I have like 16 repos on github that
> I'm
> > trying to keep track of that are very similar but differnet. I'm willling
> > to bet even as I'm writing this other people have chimed in on the plugin
> > topic in this dev thread. :)
> >
> > So that being said, I'm not picking on anyone, we're making good
> progress.
> > But it's definitely frustrating how fragmented and unorganized the work
> for
> > it is. What I'm trying to consolidate the code everyone is working on
> into
> > one repo. I'm tracking the work of @imhotep, @wildabeast, @alunny,
> @filmaj
> > on github, and trying to pull their work into my codebase (while taming
> the
> > frankenstein aspects of bolting together contributions from 5 people.)
>  My
> > hope is that in the next week or so, my code will provide everyone's
> > contributions in one place, while at the same time trying to get more
> > coordination on how we work and what we're doing so we're not trampling
> > each other. That's  my goal anyway. : /
> >
> > Anyway, I hope this has been helpful. The biggest challenge is getting
> more
> > organized and not repeating ourselves. I've found from other projects
> that
> > communication tends to be the biggest stumbling block, not the work
> itself.
> > And that experience was with day job, paid full time developers. In this
> > open source situation it's like 3X more disconnected. :)
> >
> > -Mike
> >
> >
> >
> > On Wed, Sep 19, 2012 at 10:50 AM, Brian LeRoux <> wrote:
> >
> >> you can also give `npm install -g cordova` a go to see where its at
> >>
> >> definitely alpha but super promising. =)
> >>
> >>
> >> On Wed, Sep 19, 2012 at 4:27 PM, Michal Mocny <>
> wrote:
> >> > Take a look at the "plugin tooling/specification" thread, and Mike
> >> > Reinstein has been digging around here lately.
> >> >
> >> > I think also they may have had an irc chat recently on this topic,
> >> perhaps
> >> > they can report if there were any interesting conclusions.
> >> >
> >> > Still, I would also appreciate a formal update to see how we can all
> help
> >> > out.
> >> >
> >> > -Michal
> >> >
> >> >
> >> > On Wed, Sep 19, 2012 at 10:20 AM, Braden Shepherdson <
> >>>wrote:
> >> >
> >> >> I'm wondering about the state of the command-line tools for Cordova.
> >> >>
> >> >> Are the current plans and progress so far documented anywhere? If
> not,
> >> >> could someone give an update here?
> >> >>
> >> >> I'm interested in helping out with that effort, but it's hard to know
> >> where
> >> >> to start. I understand it had fragmented into several different
> >> >> repositories but that someone was working on consolidating it again.
> >> >>
> >> >> Any information would be welcome.
> >> >>
> >> >> Braden
> >> >>
> >>

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