Want another way to debug Cordova/PhoneGap apps? This isn't new, but I tend to forget about this option and it came in handy yesterday so I thought I would share. When you send builds to the simulator/device via the command line, you may notice that at the end of all the output about building this and generating that, you get these two lines:
Currently the main site I use for finding Cordova plugins is plugins.cordova.io. Last week Telerik announced the creation of a new site, the Verified Plugins Marketplace. This site contains plugins that have been tested to ensure they work well and contain sample apps written with Kendo UI. I've often said that as a new Node developer, the availability of npm modules is both good and overwhelming as well. Having a curated, filtered list of plugins could be a huge benefit for Cordova/PhoneGap developers.
I blogged about this a few days ago, but I think I'm ready to really release my Cordova Brackets extension. The code is pretty much crap and it's really lacking in providing good feedback while it works, but the initial feature list is complete. Assuming you've got the Cordova CLI installed already, you can, via Brackets:
If you follow me on Twitter, you know I've been raving about Ionic the past few weeks. I've played around with it a bit but haven't yet built a proper "sample" app. I still plan on doing so sometime soon. Today though I wanted to share a little experiment I built last night.
Yesterday the Cordova team released updated plugins. You can read the details here: Plugins Release: July 8, 2014. Of particular interest to me was the update to the Contacts plugin, specifically the addition of a new API, pickContact.
The past few days I've been working on a new Brackets extension that integrates with the Cordova command line tool. I've got a rough draft of it ready with almost every feature prepared so I thought I'd go ahead and let people know in case they wanted to start hacking on it. As it is not complete yet I've not added it to the extension manager, but once I wrap the last feature I'll go ahead and submit it. You can find the code for the extension on GitHub: https://github.com/cfjedimaster/Cordova-Extension.
For the past few days I've been playing with a new, and rather interesting, mobile debugging tool called GapDebug. Currently in private beta, it will switch to an open beta around July 9th. You can sign up on the site to get notified when it becomes available.
I've begun work on trying to answer the questions I gathered concerning Cordova's FileSystem support. As I work through the questions I'm trying to build "real" samples to go along with the text. My first sample is a simple one, but I think it is pretty relevant for the types of things folks may do with Cordova and the file system - checking to see if a file exists locally and if not - fetching it.
A large majority of the questions I get about PhoneGap and Cordova revolve around the file system API. It has had some pretty significant updates recently but still remains one of the most difficult ones to use. I've been putting off really digging deep into those questions because many times they are incredibly specific to a particular user's application. And - honestly - they typically don't lend themselves to the type of quick questions I can answer during the day.
So with that in mind, I thought it might be fruitful to ask my readers about the API and how I can help make things a bit clearer - for both you and me. What I'm thinking is - can we come up with a list of basic questions, a FAQ perhaps, for just this API. It can't be something too precise to one particular application, but something that can apply to multiple users.
As an example: How do I download an asset to my application? That's a simple question, but it brings up the question of where you would download the asset and how you would actually use it later.
Of course, the big issue is that this particular API is an evolving one. Anything I do today will be outdated next year. But as most of my blog posts on the API are already over a year old, this would at least be a bit fresher. ;)
In order to organize this list, I'm going to start it in the blog entry. Use the comments to make suggestions, and as I see ones that I think make sense, I'll add them to the list. By the way, I know some of these are super trivial, but I figure it doesn't hurt to try to cover as much as possible.
File System FAQ
- When does it make sense to use the file system (versus LocalStorage or WebSQL)?
- How do I download an asset to my application?
- How do I use a file stored in the file system (both binary and text-based files)?
- How do I check to see if a file exists in a directory?
- Are there external tools that can check a device's file system?
- How do I check to see if a directory exists?
- How do I make a subdirectory where the parent directory may not exist?
- Are there any app store restrictions/guidelines for using the file system?
- For iOS, where can I store files so that they will be backed up to iCloud?
- How can I get metadata (size, updated) about a file?
A few months ago I launched a new GitHub repo (https://github.com/cfjedimaster/Cordova-Examples) as a way to try to collect my various Cordova examples together under one roof. I had planned to add to it regularly but - life - as you know - gets in the way. I've finally gotten around to adding another example, this one for the Media API.