Getting Started with Visual Studio Tools for Apache Cordova

In Visual Studio 2013, the Cordova tools are released as a preview (CTP) version. Cordova tools will be released as part of Visual Studio 2015 and we recommend that you now use Visual Studio 2015 RC to develop apps using Visual Studio Tools for Apache Cordova. You can download Visual Studio from the Microsoft Download Center.

You can build cross-platform apps for iOS, Android, and Windows devices by using Visual Studio Tools for Apache Cordova. The easy-to-use installer identifies the right versions of the required SDKs, tools, and libraries that you need to build Apache Cordova apps. Use the Visual Studio debugger to attach to iOS, Android, and Windows apps, hit breakpoints, and inspect code using the console and DOM Explorer. Apache Cordova enables cross-platform development standard web technologies such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

You can build apps using the tools for these devices and platforms:

  • Android 2.3.3 and later (4.4 provides the best developer experience)

  • iOS 6, 7, and 8

  • Windows 8 and 8.1

  • Windows Phone 8 and 8.1

Note

The default version of Cordova installed with Visual Studio Tools for Apache Cordova in CTP3.1 is 4.3.0. You can select a different version using the configuration designer.

When you develop apps using Visual Studio Tools for Apache Cordova, Visual Studio provides these benefits:

  • Easy installation. Manual installation of Cordova involves a lot of work to find, install, and maintain the correct version of all the third-party software required to support native platforms. Visual Studio handles all that for you by including a third-party dependency installer that gets you up and running in the first hour.

  • Plugin management. Cordova plugins provide access to native APIs using a JavaScript interface. Support for custom plugins like those that turn a mobile phone into a barcode scanner are critical to an app's success. Visual Studio makes it easy to add plugins of all kinds, including core Cordova and custom plugins. You also benefit from IntelliSense for plugins in Visual Studio.

  • Unified debugging experience. Cross-platform development often requires a different tool for debugging each device, emulator, or simulator. Different tools mean different workflows and lost productivity every time you switch devices. With Visual Studio, you can use the same world-class debugging tools for all deployment targets, including iOS devices and emulators, Android devices and emulators, Windows, and the Apache Ripple emulator.

  • Write once, deploy everywhere. The common JavaScript and plugin APIs in Cordova make it easy to write an app using a single code base that deploys to all target platforms—iOS, Android, and Windows. Of course, you can always write platform-specific code if and when you need it.

  • Command line interoperability. The Visual Studio solution directly reflects the file system and is updated in real time. This means that it is easier than ever to use your favorite command line tool with Visual Studio.

  • Multi-Version Cordova support. The Visual Studio solution allows you to select different versions of Cordova at the project level.

Get the tools

Download Visual Studio 2015.

For installation instructions, see Install Visual Studio Tools for Apache Cordova, and to get started writing your first app, see Create Your First Apache Cordova App.

Download the samples

The sample apps show how to create a task list using different frameworks (AngularJS, WinJS, and Backbone) that work with Cordova. The app allows users to create new tasks, check them off, and remove them. The app uses Microsoft Azure Mobile Services to store data, and also uses Bing Maps to provide valid addresses.

To download ToDoList samples for Visual Studio 2013, see the deprecated samples on github.

Tip

To download other samples for Visual Studio Tools for Apache Cordova that demonstrate multi-page navigation and other features, see the Ionic SideMenu Starter Template and WinJS Navigation App template samples. Visual Studio 2013 versions of these samples are here and here.

Get started

Download the toolsGet the Visual Studio Tools for Apache Cordova or learn more

See Also

Other Resources

Visual Studio Tools for Apache Cordova download

Visual Studio Tools for Apache Cordova FAQ

Known Issues

Cordova Build process in Visual Studio