0.2.0 • Public • Published

Cordova Tasks

This module was created in order to more easily interface Cordova with Gulp (and potentially other build systems). It does so by using cordova-lib rather than using the Cordova CLI. Even so, the functionality is the same, and is compatible with the CLI.

This module is somewhat opinionated — it makes the assumption (founded or not) that your Cordova app is a build artifact. Hence the tasks typically assume that your Cordova project itself is in a build directory or the like (though you can configure the location). It also assumes that you will be copying from a template project (rather than downloading the default Hello World project). Finally, because of the expectation that your Cordova project is a build artifact, it does not offer the entire functionality of the Cordova CLI. For example, it doesn’t support platform updates or removals — the expectation is that you’d rm your build directory instead.

IMPORTANT: This is a 0.2 version. Take that into consideration when using it. It might blow up in your face, run away with your computer, or reach out and throttle you at the most inopportune moment. More likely, it just won’t work the way you expect. (In that case, feel free to contribute or file a bug. In the other cases: I’m not liable!) Furthermore, the interface is extremely apt to change, especially as the functionality is fleshed out.

ALSO VERY IMPORTANT: If you rely on keeping any information in the .cordova directory (like the PhoneGap Build App ID), be very careful! If you delete the build directory (like I do) without saving this information, you may be in a world of hurt.

Installing Cordova Tasks

Cordova Tasks is available via NPM, and depends on Gulp and gulp-replace-task if you want to utilize the substitution functionality.

$ npm install --save-dev cordova-tasks gulp-replace-task

You should also install whatever platforms you intend to target:

$ npm install --save-dev cordova-ios cordova-android ...

Using Cordova Tasks

First, you need to require Cordova Tasks in your gulpfile, like so:

var cordova = require("cordova-tasks");

You’ll need to get a reference to your project’s package.son file (which is where most of the configuration lives), gulp, and gulp-replace-task:

var pkg = require("./package.json"),
    gulp = require("gulp"),
    replace = require("gulp-replace-task");

By itself, this doesn’t do much. Next, you need to instantiate an instance of CordovaTasks:

var cordovaTasks = new cordova.CordovaTasks({
  pkg: pkg,              # your app's package.json
  basePath: __dirname,   # app's root
  buildDir: "build",     # target directory, relative to basePath
  sourceDir: "src",      # source directory, relative to basePath
  gulp: gulp,            # gulp
  replace: replace});    # gulp-replace-task

Before you can start using this instance, however, you need to ensure your package.json file is appropriately configured.

Cordova Project Configuration

Most of the configuration for the generated Cordova Project will come from your package.json. The form is as follows:

  "version": "0.1.0",
  "cordova": {
    "name": "your-app's-name",
    "id": "com.example.reverse-domain",
    "description": "Description of your app",
    "author": {
      "name": "Your name",
      "email": "",
      "site": ""
    "template": "./blank",
    "platforms": [ "ios", "android" ],
    "icon": {
      "ios": [
        { "src": "res/icon/ios/icon-60.png", "w": 60, "h": 60 }, ...
      "android": [
        { "src": "res/icon/android/ldpi.png", "d": "ldpi" }, ...
    "splash": {
      "ios": [
        { "src": "res/splash/ios/Default~iphone.png", "w": 320, "h": 480 }, ...
      "android": [
        { "src": "res/splash/android/splash-land-hdpi.png", "d": "land-hdpi" }, ...
    "preferences": {
      "orientation": "default", ...
    "plugins": [
      "cordova-plugin-device", ...
  }, ...

Some notes about this format:

  • The top-level version is used to give your Cordova project a version. Required
  • Your app’s title, description, ID, etc. come from the cordova object. Required
  • is your app’s visible name. Required
  • is your app’s reverse domain ID. Required
  • cordova.description is your app’s description. This is only visible in config.xml. Required
  • supplies your config.xml file with author information. You must supply your name, email, and site. Required
  • cordova.template indicates the template to use when creating the Cordova project. This is equivalent to --copy-from when using the CLI. This should usually be a directory with a blank www directory inside. Required
  • cordova.platforms indicates which platforms your project targets. You must have installed them using npm install --save-dev cordova-<platform> , not via the CLI. Required
  • cordova.icon and cordova.splash indicate where your icons and splash screens are located. src is relative to the created Cordova project directory, and so in the above example, it would resolve to $PROJECT_ROOT/build/res/….w, h specify the width and height, respectively (for iOS), while d specifies the density (for Android). An array should be present for each supported platform. If the files don’t exist, that’s OK; the build will complain but it isn’t fatal.
  • cordova.preferences is an array containing key/value strings. The value should always be a string, even for boolean or numeric values.
  • cordova.plugins is an array of plugins that should be added to the project. These can be plugin IDs (and optionally @version), or URL/local paths -- anything supported by cordova plugin add should work.

config.xml template

You also need to create a config.xml template in basePath/sourceDir /config.xml. Here’s an example template:

<?xml version='1.0' encoding='utf-8'?>
<widget id="{{{ID}}}" version="{{{VERSION}}}"
  <author email="{{{AUTHOR.EMAIL}}}" href="{{{AUTHOR.SITE}}}">
  <content src="index.html" />
  <!-- local phonegap/cordova -->
  <!-- phonegap build; experimental -->
  <access origin="*" />

This file is used as a template when creating the Cordova project. The substitution variables are described in the following section.

Cordova Tasks Documentation

The following constants are present on the object returned from require('cordova-tasks'):

  • BUILD_MODE_DEBUG: Build in debug mode
  • BUILD_MODE_RELEASE: Build in release mode

The following methods are present on the cordovaTasks object:

  • init(): initializes the project. It’s actually a combination of create, copyConfig, addPlatforms, and addPlugins. Returns a promise.

  • create(): creates a new project. The project is created in basePath/buildDir. Returns a promise. Note: If this directory already exists, it must be empty. You can rimraf or similar plugin to clear this prior to calling this command if you want, like so:

  • var path = require("path"),
        rimraf = require("rimraf"),
        basePath = __dirname,
        buildDir = "build";
    function clean(cb) {
        rimraf(path.join(basePath, buildDir), cb);
  • addPlugins(): adds the plugins listed in cordova.plugins to the project. Returns a promise.

  • addPlatforms(): adds the platforms listed in cordova.platforms and installed in basePath/node_modules into the project. Returns a promise.

  • prepare(): Copies the files from build/www to each platform directory. This is the same as cordova prepare. There’s typically no need to do this, since build, emulate, and run take care of this step automatically. Returns a promise.

  • build({buildMode, platforms, options}): builds the project. If buildMode isn’t supplied, it defaults to debug. If platforms is specified, it should be an array of platforms to build for. If it isn't specified, all platforms will be built. If options is specified, it must be an array, and it is concatenated to the array passed to cordoba-lib's build command. Returns a promise.

  • emulate|run({platform, buildMode, options}): emulates/runs the project for the specified platform (required). The buildMode is passed to build and defaults to debug if not supplied. If options is specified, it must be an array, and it will be concatenated to the array passed to cordoba-lib's run or emulate command. Returns a promise.

  • cdProject(): Changes to the www directory within basePath/buildDir. This is due to the way cordoba-lib requires all commands (other than create) to be within a Cordova project. Returns immediately.

  • cdUp(): Changes back up to the original path.

  • copyConfig(): Copies the template config.xml file in basePath/sourceDir to basePath/buildDir and processes the following substitution variables:

    • {{{VERSION}}}pkg.version (where pkg is your project’s package.json)

    • {{{ID}}}

    • {{{NAME}}}

    • {{{DESCRIPTION}}}pkg.cordova.description

    • {{{AUTHOR.NAME}}}

    • {{{AUTHOR.EMAIL}}}

    • {{{AUTHOR.SITE}}}

    • {{{PLUGINS}}} → transforms pkg.cordova.plugins to <plugin /> tags.

    • {{{PREFS}}} → transforms pkg.cordova.preferences to the appropriate XML

    • {{{ICONS}}} → transforms pkg.cordova.icon to the appropriate XML

    • {{{SPLASHES}}} → transforms pkg.cordova.splash to the appropriate XML

      There are three replacement variables for PhoneGap Build as well: {{{GAP:PLUGINS}}}, {{{GAP:ICONS}}} and {{{GAP:SPLASHES}}}. These should be considered experimental.

    NOTE: If you need to process these substitution variables in your own code, you can. Just call cordovaTasks.processSubstitutions as part of your stream process, like this:

    function copyCode() {
        var isRelease = (BUILD_MODE === "release");
        return browserify("./src/www/js/app/index.js", {
                debug: !isRelease,
                standalone: "app"
              experimental: true
            .on("error", gutil.log.bind(gutil, "Browserify Error"))
            .pipe(isRelease ? gutil.noop() : sourcemaps.init({
                loadMaps: true
            .pipe(isRelease ? uglify({preserveComments:"some"}) : gutil.noop())
            .pipe(isRelease ? gutil.noop() : sourcemaps.write()) // writes .map file
            .pipe(gulp.dest(path.join(BUILD_DIR, "www", "js", "app")))


So you’ve read all this and are wondering how the Cordova project gets updates to preferences, plugins and platforms, right?

It doesn’t.

At least, I don’t have a method that does that directly. If you want to add that functionality, feel free to issue a pull request, though.

Technically, it’d be super-cool to have a step that compared the settings in package.json and then made the appropriate changes at the next build. Wanna take that challenge? Submit a PR!

Personally, here’s what I do: blow away the build directory whenever I change my preferences, plugins or platforms. I have a command just for it in my gulpfile, init. It depends on a clean step that nukes the build directory and then init calls cordovaTasks.init. Easy-peasy.


Not many. Yet. I’m sure there’s a way to do it, but I haven’t taken a crack at it. Instead, I’m going to use the horrible phrase, “it works for me!”. ;-)

There are some tests for some of the internal functionality, but these are slim, and don’t actually verify much. If you really want to run them, you can do so by cloning the repo, executing npm install, and then npm test.


  • 2.0 - Added support for cordova-lib@5.0.0, updated dependencies, added support for PLUGIN tag, added platforms to build
  • 1.1 - Initial Release



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