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taco-simulate

A browser based plugin simulation tool to aid development and testing of Cordova applications.

Installation

npm install -g taco-simulate

Usage

CLI

From the command line anywhere within a Cordova project, enter the following:

simulate [<platform>] [--target=<browser>] 

Where:

  • platform is any Cordova platform that has been added to your project. Defaults to browser.
  • browser is the name of the browser to launch your app in. Can be any of the following: chrome, chromium, edge, firefox, ie, opera, safari. Defaults to chrome.

API

You can also require('taco-simulate') and launch a simulation via the API:

var simulate = require('taco-simulate');
simulate(opts);

Where opts is an object with the following properties (all optional):

  • platform - any Cordova platform that has been added to your project. Defaults to browser.
  • target - the name of the browser to launch your app in. Can be any of the following: chrome, chromium, edge, firefox, ie, opera, safari. Defaults to chrome.
  • port - the desired port for the server to use. Defaults to 8000.
  • dir - the directory to launch from (where it should look for a Cordova project). Defaults to cwd.

What it does

Running the simulate command will launch your app in the browser, and open a second browser window displaying UI (the simulation host), that allows you to configure how plugins in your app respond.

Features

  • Allows the user to configure plugin simulation through a UI.
  • Launches the application in a separate browser window so that it's not launched within an iFrame, to ease up debugging.
  • Allows user to persist the settings for a plug-in response.
  • Allows plugins to customize their own UI.

Supported plugins

This preview version currently includes built-in support for the following Cordova plugins:

Adding simulation support to plugins

It also allows for plugins to define their own UI. To add simulation support to a plugin, follow these steps:

  1. Clone the taco-simulate-server git repository (git clone https://github.com/microsoft/taco-simulate-server.git), as it contains useful example code (see src/plugins).
  2. Add your plugin UI code to your plugin in src/simulation. Follow the file naming conventions seen in the built-in plugins.

Detailed steps

In your plugin project, add a simulation folder under src, then add any of the following files:

sim-host-panels.html
sim-host-dialogs.html
sim-host.js
sim-host-handlers.js
app-host.js
app-host-handlers.js
app-host-clobbers.js

Simulation Host Files

sim-host-panels.html

This defines panels that will appear in the simulation host UI. At the top level, it should contain one or more cordova-panel elements. The cordova-panel element should have an id which is unique to the plugin (so the plugin name is one possibility, or the shortened version for common plugins (like just camera instead of cordova-plugin-camera). It should also have a caption attribute which defines the caption of the panel.

The contents of the cordova-panel element can be regular HTML, or the various custom elements which are supported (see the existing plugin files for more details).

This file shouldn't contain any JavaScript (including inline event handlers), nor should it link any JavaScript files. Any JavaScript required can be provided in the standard JavaScript files described below, or in additional JavaScript files that can be included using require().

sim-host-dialogs.html

This defines any dialogs that will be used (dialogs are simple modal popups � such as used for the Camera plugin). At the top level it should contain one or more cordova-dialog elements. Each of these must have id and caption attributes (as for sim-host-panels.html). The id will be used in calls to dialog.showDialog() and dialog.hideDialog() (see [taco-simulate-server/src/plugins/cordova-plugin-camera/sim-host.js] (https://github.com/Microsoft/taco-simulate-server/blob/master/src/plugins/cordova-plugin-camera/sim-host.js) for example code).

Other rules for this file are the same as for sim-host-panels.html.

sim-host.js

This file should contain code to initialize your UI. For example � attach event handlers, populate lists etc. It should set module.exports to one of the following:

  1. An object with an initialize method, like this:
module.exports = {
    initialize: function () {
        // Your initialization code here. 
    }
};
  1. A function that returns an object with an initialize method. This function will be passed a single parameter � messages � which is a plugin messaging object that can be used to communicate between sim-host and app-host. This form is used when the plugin requires that messages object � otherwise the simple form can be used. For example:
module.exports = function (messages) {
    return {
        initialize: function () {
            // Your initialization code here. 
        }
    };
};

In both cases, the code currently executes in the context of the overall simulation host HTML document. You can use getElementById() or querySelector() etc to reference elements in your panel to attach events etc. In the future, this will change and there will be a well defined, limited, asynchronous API for manipulating elements in your simulation UI.

sim-host-handlers.js

This file defines handlers for plugin exec calls. It should return an object in the following form:

{
    service1: {
        action1: function (success, error, args) {
            // exec handler 
        },
        action2: function (success, error, args) {
            // exec handler 
        }
    },
    service2: {
        action1: function (success, error, args) {
            // exec handler 
        },
        action2: function (success, error, args) {
            // exec handler 
        }
    }
}

It can define handlers for any number of service/action combinations. As for sim-host.js, it can return the object either by;

  1. Setting module.exports to this object.
  2. Setting module.exports to a function that returns this object (in which case the messages parameter will be passed to that function).

App Host Files

app-host.js

This file is injected into the app itself (as part of a single, combined, app-host.js file). Typically, it would contain code to respond to messages from sim-host code, and as such module.exports should be set a function that takes a single messages parameter. It doesn't need to return anything.

app-host-handlers.js

This file is to provide app-host side handling of exec calls (if an exec call is handled on the app-host side, then it doesn't need to be handled on the sim-host side, and in fact any sim-host handler will be ignored). The format is the same as sim-host-handlers.js.

app-host-clobbers.js

This file provides support for "clobbering" built in JavaScript objects. It's form is similar to app-host-handlers.js, expect that the returned object defines what you are clobbering. For example, the built-in support for the geolocation plugin uses this to support simulating geolocation even when the plugin isn't present in the app (just like Ripple does), by returning the following:

{
    navigator: {
        geolocation: {
            getCurrentPosition: function (successCallback, errorCallback, options) {
                // Blah blah blah  
            },
            watchPosition: function (successCallback, errorCallback, options) {
                // Blah blah blah 
            }
        }
    }
}

The "messages" Object

A messages object is provided to all standard JavaScript files on both the app-host and sim-host side of things. It provides the following methods:

messages.call(method, param1, param2 ...): Calls a method implemented on "the other side" (that were registered by calling messages.register()) and returns a promise for the return value, that is fulfilled when the method returns.

messages.register(method, handler): Registers a method handler, which can be called via messages.call().

messages.emit(message, data): Emits a message with data (scalar value or JavaScript object) which will be received by any code that registers for it (in both app-host and sim-host).

messages.on(message, handler): Register interest in a particular message.

messages.off(message, handler): Un-register interest in a particular message.

Note that:

  • All the above methods are isolated to the plugin � that is, they can only be used to communicate within the plugin's own code. For example, when you emit a message, it will only be received by code for the same plugin that registers to hear it. So different plugins can use the same method and message names without conflict.
  • A method call is always sent from app-host to sim-host or vice versa (that is, a call from app-host can only be handled by a method registered on sim-host, and vice versa).
  • Emitted messages, on the other hand, are sent both "locally" and across to the "other side".