This page pulls together key articles that are scattered throughout iphonedevlog. They are here to help me navigate to common resources quickly when I make or update my apps.

Please note that I use these links on a regular basis to make my apps; since I don’t code apps every day, I need to refer to these pages with every new app or update to keep on track. As a result, I am constantly updating these pages to keep up with software updates. 

New Setup

Setting Up Your Mac and Windows Development Environment for Cordova Android projects

New App

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Making an Android App Bundle .aab file from a Cordova project

At this time, I have been unsuccessful generating a signed aab file for upload to Google Play from Android Studio. Still, others may have more success following these steps, since their environment will be different from mine. These steps are reasonably complete that you might try it out.

Google Play wants us to submit an .aab file instead of an .apk file so that Google Play could download just the files the user needs at the first download. (At this time, Google Play still accepts .apk files, however.) This could result in significant app install memory savings. You can learn more about this here:

Until we have an automated command-line process from Apache Cordova, we can make this file with Android Studio. Here are the steps to do so. While making this article, I came across many errors in trying to make this process work. I ironed out the errors and pieced this workflow together so it is streamlined, otherwise it would have been twice as long to read about all my dead ends. (Along the way, I created an SDK. I’m not sure it is needed for these steps to work.)

When done, I deleted my project and started from scratch to make sure these steps worked. Continue reading

Add social sharing icons to your app

I wanted to be able to share selected content in my app to several social media places, and not merely by copy/paste to an email client. Now my app can share contents of a <textarea> field to Facebook, Google+, Google Drive, Dropbox, a memo app, email, and so on. It was easier to do than I thought. Here is how I did it for Android.

This assumes you already have a Cordova project built and Android platform added. (Steps will be slightly different for iOS. I’ll add those steps to this page when I’m ready.)


My current environment:
Mac OS X El Capitan 10.11.6
cordova -v: 6.3.1
cordova platform ?: android 5.1.1 Continue reading

Using Android Studio with Cordova projects

This article assumes you already have a Cordova project ready to use. So you will use CLI to build the project first as you normally would, including adding an Android platform to the project and running cordova build android. You’ll still need to use the steps outlined in my article to build Cordova apps, including steps for installing plugins, icons, and screens:

You’ll need the dependencies set up if you’ve never made a Cordova project before. See:

Resources:  Continue reading

Implementing the Moust Videoplayer Cordova plugin for Android

The Moust videoplayer plugin allows the app to play videos within the app in fullscreen mode.

Unfortunately, the video does not play according to its own proportional size, nor is it confined to the proportion of the div it’s in. It breaks out to fit in the device window. We are given two different options for scaling the video. The following were the results when viewing a 320x200px video in my Nexus 7:

SCALE_TO_FIT_WITH_CROPPING As noted, this doesn’t show the whole video. In landscape, the top/bottom are cropped. In portrait, the left/right sides are cropped. No pinch-to-reduce functionality included.

SCALE_TO_FIT (default) This will stretch/squeeze the video to fit the device’s screen, whether horizontal or vertical orientation.

It makes the most sense to use this player when you want to play back the videos in the same mobile device you shot them with; then they would play back in perfect proportion. If you want your videos to play back reliably across Android devices in their own proportion, I recommend trying Crosswalk.  Continue reading

Implementing Crosswalk’s Chromium webview plugin in an Android app

Why consider using Crosswalk? Android devices have different implementations of the webview, in which our PhoneGap and Cordova apps appear. Vendors have made their own tweaks of the webview, causing our code to render inconsistently. So our CSS and scripts will play differently across devices or not at all.

For instance, the HTML5 <video> tag won’t work across all Android browsers:

<video id="video_1" 
 controls preload="auto" width="320" height="240">
 <source src="video/myvideo-h264.mp4" type="video/mp4">
I'm sorry; your device browser doesn't support HTML5 video in MP4 with H.264.

But it will work in the Chromium webview provided by Crosswalk. By adding the Chromium webview to our app, we will have a unified Android playing field for our app. Continue reading

Using ADB Logcat to debug your Android app installation

A more descriptive title would be, “Using ADB logcat outside of ADT, Eclipse, or Android Studio to debug your Android app installation errors.” Did you try to install the app in your Android device, but got the annoying “Unfortunately, [app name] has stopped”? If so, then you need to run ADB logcat to find out why. Logcat allows us to read the logs that are automatically running in the background when we run the program. So when the app quits suddenly, we can read the messages along the way and pinpoint when it went south. Here are the steps to implement logcat. Continue reading

Using NetBeans IDE instead of Eclipse

I’ve decided to ditch Eclipse in favor of the NetBeans IDE. Since we can create signed apks with the Cordova CLI, Eclipse is no longer needed. There are several good replacements if you want a code editor. NetBeans, like several other code-creation editors, offers much more than a text editor can provide. Here is why I am enjoying NetBeans (NB) with Cordova. These are just a few of the features I’ve found handy when using NB. (If you have a coding IDE you favor other than NB, please talk about it in the comments section.) NB works on the PC and Mac. Continue reading

Prepopulated Database with TaffyDB for iOS and Android with Cordova

I thought I would look for an alternate to SQLite to display a prepopulated database. Research (and successfully creating a working version) led me to TaffyDB. Here is a working project to create your own prepopulated DB. TaffyDB can do so much more if you are familiar with JavaScript (I’m not, so it was difficult trying to figure this much out!).

Resources:  Continue reading

Adding an Android APK Expansion File to a Cordova Project

Google Play apps are limited to 50MB, but may go larger with “expansion files” of up to 2GB in size. The “main” expansion file is the primary expansion file that contains additional resources required by your application. The “patch” expansion file is optional and intended for small updates to the main expansion file. This article covers how to create and add an expansion file to our Android app using a plugin. Then gives the “secret” way to upload the APK and expansion file to Google Play. Continue reading

Adding ProGuard to Your Android Cordova Project

“The ProGuard tool shrinks, optimizes, and obfuscates your code by removing unused code and renaming classes, fields, and methods with semantically obscure names. The result is a smaller sized .apk file that is more difficult to reverse engineer” (from You’ll want to use this tool if your app has sensitive security features you want to protect. To my knowledge, it does not obfuscate your HTML.

These steps assume you’ve already built your Android Cordova project and just about finished it, and are ready to build a release version of the app. Continue reading

Submitting an Android App to Amazon

Are you curious about the process of submitting an app to Amazon? These are the steps I took.

According to Amazon’s developer page at, you develop Amazon apps with Android Studio Beta, and your project should build by Gradle. My project was neither of these and it still was accepted. I chose an app already made with Cordova CLI, proofed by Eclipse, signed and zipaligned via CLI, and successfully uploaded to Google Play, and uploaded it to Amazon with just a few graphic asset size changes. Here are the steps I took. Continue reading

Setting Up Your Development Environment for Cordova Android projects

Updated 8/2/2015 to include Windows 7 setup. Adobe PhoneGap/Apache Cordova CLI quickly sets up your project files for the mobile environment. However, it requires a hefty setup of your development environment before you can begin making Android apps. If you are a working developer, all these tools are par for the course and you’ll have them already installed. If you are trying out Cordova/PhoneGap for the first time, and you are new to the programming world – welcome! – you need to install all the “dependencies” that Cordova/PhoneGap assumes are already resident on your system. Follow all these steps to make your Cordova/PhoneGap work go smoothly. Of course, these steps need to be done just once. Continue reading

Signing an Android Apk via CLI

From time to time I got frustrated with Eclipse (update: I no longer use Eclipse). For those who have buggy software or other problems that hinder you from creating an apk file, you can follow these steps apart from opening Eclipse.

Purpose of this page for newcomers: In the past, I used Cordova/PhoneGap to create the debug version of my apps for testing, then turned to Eclipse to create the final apk that Google Play accepts for the store. Play does not accept debug versions of an app. This article gives the steps to use Cordova CLI to create the final apk version that would be uploaded to Google Play or any other app store that accepts apk files.

The information is divided into two sections. The first section is for new, version 1 apps in which a private key and keystore need to be generated. The second section is for version 2+ apps, in which the keystore is already present and needs to be applied to the apk to sign it. Just follow all these steps in the Terminal app – you need open no other software.  Continue reading

Using Android Studio Beta with Cordova PhoneGap

Article updated here 11/2016:

I installed Android Studio Beta to see how it currently stacks up against Eclipse. It’s apparent that Android Development Tools for Eclipse is going the way of the dodo and will no longer be updated as vigorously. It’s my impression that Android Studio Beta (AS) is Google’s new SDK to replace Eclipse. We’ll need to learn it sooner or later, so why not now? Here are my notes as I set up the environment and discover the path to creating an apk. These steps track the install and setup of Android Studio down to outputting a signed apk for Google Play upload.  Continue reading

Using Cordova CLI on Mac OS X to build Android apps

This article gets you up to speed on how to integrate your HTML/CSS/JS app with Apache Cordova into an Android app using a Mac and prepare it for App Store submission. This article assumes you’ve already followed the steps here to set up your environment:

I am referencing “cordova” in the command-line interface, not “phonegap.” This project will not use the PhoneGap Build service.

If you are making an app larger than 100MB for Google Play, you’ll need to make an expansion file. This 2014 article tells how to make one, though I don’t know if it works today. Back in 2014, the Amazon App Store allows apps up to 150MB before needing an expansion file.

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Notes About Using PhoneGap Build

This is not a tutorial, but a list of things a Cordova PhoneGap developer needs to know if he or she wants to start using PhoneGap Build (PGB). PGB will take your www/ assets and create the files needed for iOS, Android, and Windows devices. It doesn’t use native files, such as those ending in .h, .m, .java, etc.; the build may fail if these are included. What follows are the notes I took as I considered whether to use the service. Read this as a FAQ page for preparing an app for PGB. Curious as to whether PhoneGap Build is for you? Read on…

Main site:  Continue reading

App testing with the PhoneGap Developer App — see your changes instantly without re-building!

With this software, you can develop your app on the desktop, then see the changes instantly on your mobile device. There’s no need to re-sign, re-compile, or reinstall your app to test your code. You’ll have access to the device APIs that aren’t available in web browsers. Let’s give it a spin!

For more info:  Continue reading

Installing Chris Brody’s SQLite Database with Cordova CLI (Android)

The HTML5 SQLite spec results in a database with a limit of 5MB. Chris Brody’s SQLitePlugin, however, breaks this barrier. Here is how to implement it. These steps assume you’ve already created the Cordova project and are adding this database project to it. I recommend you build for v19.

 If you just want a simple prepopulated DB, try this article instead. Continue reading