Cordova command line interface tool

Usage no npm install needed!

<script type="module">
  import cordovaDev from '';



The command line tool to build, deploy and manage Cordova-based applications.

Apache Cordova allows for building native mobile applications using HTML, CSS and JavaScript. This tool helps with management of multi-platform Cordova applications as well as Cordova plugin integration.

Check out the Getting Started guides for more details on how to work with Cordova sub-projects.

Supported Cordova Platforms

  • Amazon Fire OS
  • Android
  • BlackBerry 10
  • Firefox OS
  • iOS
  • Ubuntu
  • Windows Phone 8
  • Windows 8


  • Node.js
  • SDKs for each platform you wish to support:
    • Android: Android SDK - NOTE This tool will not work unless you have the absolute latest updates for all Android SDK components. Also you will need the SDK's tools and platform-tools directories on your system path otherwise Android support will fail.
    • amazon-fireos: Amazon Fire OS SDK - NOTE This tool will not work unless you have Android SDK installed and paths are updated as mentioned above. In addition you need to install AmazonWebView SDK and copy awv_interface.jar on Mac/Linux system to ~/.cordova/lib/commonlibs folder or on Windows %USERPROFILE%/.cordova/lib/coomonlibs. If commonlibs folder does not exist then create one.
    • Windows Phone SDK - NOTE This tool will not work unless you have msbuild on your system path otherwise Windows Phone support will fail (msbuild.exe is generally located in C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v4.0.30319).
    • BlackBerry 10: BlackBerry 10 WebWorks SDK. Make sure you have the dependencies/tools/bin folder inside the SDK directory added to your path!
    • iOS: iOS SDK with the latest Xcode and Xcode Command Line Tools
    • Windows Phone: Windows Phone SDK - NOTE This tool will not work unless you have msbuild on your system path otherwise Windows Phone support will fail (msbuild.exe is generally located in C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v4.0.30319).

cordova-cli has been tested on Mac OS X, Linux, Windows 7, and Windows 8.

Please note that some platforms have OS restrictions. For example, you cannot build for Windows 8 or Windows Phone 8 on Mac OS X, nor can you build for iOS on Windows.


Ubuntu packages are available in a PPA for Ubuntu 13.10 (Saucy) (the current release) as well as 14.04 (Trusty) (under development).

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:cordova-ubuntu/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install cordova-cli
npm install -g cordova

To build an application for the Ubuntu platform, the following extra packages are required:

sudo apt-get install cmake debhelper libx11-dev libicu-dev pkg-config qtbase5-dev qtchooser qtdeclarative5-dev qtfeedback5-dev qtlocation5-dev qtmultimedia5-dev qtpim5-dev qtsensors5-dev qtsystems5-dev

Installing from master

You'll need to install both CLI and Plugman from git. Running the npm version of one and (git) master version of the other is likely to end with you suffering.

To avoid using sudo, see Get away from sudo: npm without root.

Run the following commands:

git clone
cd cordova-plugman
npm install
sudo npm link
cd ..
git clone
cd cordova-cli
npm install
sudo npm link
npm link plugman

Now the cordova and plugman in your path are the local git versions. Don't forget to keep them up to date!

Installing on Ubuntu

apt-get install cordova-cli

Getting Started

cordova-cli has a single global create command that creates new Cordova projects into a specified directory. Once you create a project, cd into it and you can execute a variety of project-level commands. Completely inspired by git's interface.

Global Commands

  • help display a help page with all available commands
  • create <directory> [<id> [<name>]] create a new Cordova project with optional name and id (package name, reverse-domain style)
## Project Commands
  • platform [ls | list] list all platforms for which the project will build
  • platform add <platform> [<platform> ...] add one (or more) platforms as a build target for the project
  • platform [rm | remove] <platform> [<platform> ...] removes one (or more) platform build targets from the project
  • platform [up | update] <platform> - updates the Cordova version used for the given platform
  • plugin [ls | list] list all plugins included in the project
  • plugin add <path-to-plugin> [<path-to-plugin> ...] add one (or more) plugins to the project
  • plugin [rm | remove] <plugin-name> [<plugin-name> ...] remove one (or more) plugins from the project.
  • plugin search [<keyword1> <keyword2> ...] search the plugin registry for plugins matching the list of keywords
  • prepare [platform...] copies files into the specified platforms, or all platforms. It is then ready for building by Eclipse, Xcode, etc.
  • compile [platform...] compiles the app into a binary for each targetted platform. With no parameters, builds for all platforms, otherwise builds for the specified platforms.
  • build [<platform> [<platform> [...]]] an alias for cordova prepare followed by cordova compile
  • emulate [<platform> [<platform> [...]]] launch emulators and deploy app to them. With no parameters emulates for all platforms added to the project, otherwise emulates for the specified platforms
  • serve [port] launch a local web server allowing you to access each platform's www directory on the given port (default 8000).

Optional Flags

  • -d or --verbose will pipe out more verbose output to your shell. You can also subscribe to log and warn events if you are consuming cordova-cli as a node module by calling cordova.on('log', function() {}) or cordova.on('warn', function() {}).
  • -v or --version will print out the version of your cordova-cli install.

Project Directory Structure

A Cordova application built with cordova-cli will have the following directory structure:

|-- config.xml
|-- hooks/
|-- merges/
| | |-- android/
| | |-- blackberry10/
| | `-- ios/
|-- www/
|-- platforms/
| |-- android/
| |-- blackberry10/
| `-- ios/
`-- plugins/


This directory may contains scripts used to customize cordova-cli commands. This directory used to exist at .cordova/hooks, but has now been moved to the project root. Any scripts you add to these directories will be executed before and after the commands corresponding to the directory name. Useful for integrating your own build systems or integrating with version control systems.

Refer to Hooks Guide for more information.


Platform-specific web assets (HTML, CSS and JavaScript files) are contained within appropriate subfolders in this directory. These are deployed during a prepare to the appropriate native directory. Files placed under merges/ will override matching files in the www/ folder for the relevant platform. A quick example, assuming a project structure of:

|-- ios/
| `-- app.js
|-- android/
| `-- android.js
`-- app.js

After building the Android and iOS projects, the Android application will contain both app.js and android.js. However, the iOS application will only contain an app.js, and it will be the one from merges/ios/app.js, overriding the "common" app.js located inside www/.


Contains the project's web artifacts, such as .html, .css and .js files. These are your main application assets. They will be copied on a cordova prepare to each platform's www directory.

Your Blanket: config.xml

This file is what you should be editing to modify your application's metadata. Any time you run any cordova-cli commands, the tool will look at the contents of config.xml and use all relevant info from this file to define native application information. cordova-cli supports changing your application's data via the following elements inside the config.xml file:

  • The user-facing name can be modified via the contents of the <name> element.
  • The package name (AKA bundle identifier or application id) can be modified via the id attribute from the top-level <widget> element.
  • The version can be modified via the version attribute from the top-level <widget> element.
  • The whitelist can be modified using the <access> elements. Make sure the origin attribute of your <access> element points to a valid URL (you can use * as wildcard). For more information on the whitelisting syntax, see the You can use either attribute uri (BlackBerry-proprietary) or origin (standards-compliant) to denote the domain.
  • Platform-specific preferences can be customized via <preference> tags. See for a list of preferences you can use.
  • The entry/start page for your application can be defined via the <content src> element + attribute.


Platforms added to your application will have the native application project structures laid out within this directory.


Any added plugins will be extracted or copied into this directory.


Projects created by cordova-cli have before and after hooks for each project command.

There are two types of hooks: project-specific ones and module-level ones. Both of these types of hooks receive the project root folder as a parameter.

Project-specific Hooks

These are located under the hooks directory in the root of your Cordova project. Any scripts you add to these directories will be executed before and after the appropriate commands. Useful for integrating your own build systems or integrating with version control systems. Remember: make your scripts executable. Refer to Hooks Guide for more information.


Module-level Hooks

If you are using cordova-cli as a module within a larger Node application, you can also use the standard EventEmitter methods to attach to the events. The events include before_build, before_compile, before_docs, before_emulate, before_run, before_platform_add, before_library_download, before_platform_ls, before_platform_rm, before_plugin_add, before_plugin_ls, before_plugin_rm and before_prepare. There is also a library_download progress event. Additionally, there are after_ flavours of all the above events.

Once you require('cordova') in your Node project, you will have the usual EventEmitter methods available (on, off or removeListener, removeAllListeners, and emit or trigger).


Creating a new Cordova project

This example shows how to create a project from scratch named KewlApp with iOS and Android platform support, and includes a plugin named Kewlio. The project will live in ~/KewlApp

cordova create ~/KewlApp KewlApp
cd ~/KewlApp
cordova platform add ios android
cordova plugin add
cordova build

The directory structure of KewlApp now looks like this:

|-- hooks/
|-- merges/
| |-- android/
| `-- ios/
|-- www/
| `-- index.html
|-- platforms/
| |-- android/
| | `-- …
| `-- ios/
|   `-- …
`-- plugins/
  `-- Kewlio/


Running Tests

npm test

Get test coverage reports

npm run cover

TO-DO + Issues

Please check Cordova issues with the CLI Component. If you find issues with this tool, please be so kind as to include relevant information needed to debug issues such as:

  • Your operating system and version
  • The application name, directory location, and identifier used with create
  • Which mobile SDKs you have installed, and their versions. Related to this: which Xcode version if you are submitting issues related to iOS
  • Any error stack traces you received


Thanks to everyone for contributing! For a list of people involved, please see the package.json file.

Known Issues and Troubleshooting

Any OS

Proxy Settings

cordova-cli will use npm's proxy settings. If you downloaded cordova-cli via npm and are behind a proxy, chances are cordova-cli should work for you as it will use those settings in the first place. Make sure that the https-proxy and proxy npm config variables are set properly. See npm's configuration documentation for more information.


Trouble Adding Android as a Platform

When trying to add a platform on a Windows machine if you run into the following error message: Cordova library for "android" already exists. No need to download. Continuing. Checking if platform "android" passes minimum requirements... Checking Android requirements... Running "android list target" (output to follow)

Error: The command `android` failed. Make sure you have the latest Android SDK installed, and the `android` command (inside the tools/ folder) added t
o your path. Output:
at C:\Users\me\AppData\Roaming\npm\node_modules\cordova\src\platform.js:185:42
at C:\Users\me\AppData\Roaming\npm\node_modules\cordova\src\metadata\android_parser.js:50:13
at C:\Users\me\AppData\Roaming\npm\node_modules\cordova\node_modules\shelljs\shell.js:1707:7
at exithandler (child_process.js:633:7)
at ChildProcess.errorhandler (child_process.js:649:5)
at ChildProcess.EventEmitter.emit (events.js:95:17)
at Process.ChildProcess._handle.onexit (child_process.js:787:12)

run the command android list target. If you see:

'xcopy' is not recognized as an internal or external command,
operable program or batch file.

at the beginning of the command output, it means you will need to fix your Windows Path variable to include xcopy. This location is typically under C:\Windows\System32.

Windows 8

Windows 8 support does not include the ability to launch/run/emulate, so you will need to open Visual Studio to see your app live. You are still able to use the following commands with windows8:

  • platform add windows8
  • platform remove windows8
  • prepare windows8
  • compile windows8
  • build windows8

To run your app, you will need to open the .sln in the platforms/windows8 folder using Visual Studio 2012.

Visual Studio will tell you to reload the project if you run any of the above commands while the project is loaded.

Amazon Fire OS

Amazon Fire OS does not include the ability to emulate. You are still able to use the following commands with Amazon Fire OS

  • platform add amazon-fireos
  • platform remove amazon-fireos
  • prepare amazon-fireos
  • compile amazon-fireos
  • build amazon-fireos


The initial release of cordova-ubuntu does not support building applications for armhf devices automatically. It is possible to produce applications and click packages in a few steps though.

This bug report documents the issue and solutions for it: A future release will let developers cross-compile armhf click packages directly from an x86 desktop.

Firefox OS

Firefox OS does not include the ability to emulate, run and serve. After building, you will have to open the firefoxos platform directory of your app in the WebIDE that comes with every Firefox browser. You can keep this window open and click on the "play" button every time you finished building your app.