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Getting Started with Visual Studio Tools for Apache Cordova

Visual Studio 2013

This article refers to the Visual Studio Tools for Apache Cordova, which is pre-release software. The features described are in preview and are subject to change. You can download the preview 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. This Visual Studio extension enables cross-platform development using Cordova and standard web technologies such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

You can use the extension to build apps for the following 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


The version of Cordova installed with Visual Studio Tools for Apache Cordova in CTP3 is 4.0.0.

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 Windows, the Android emulator, attached Android devices, iOS devices and emulators, 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.

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 other samples for Visual Studio Tools for Apache Cordova that demonstrate multi-page navigation and other features, see the Ionic SideMenu Starter Template, AngularJS Master-Detail Page sample, and WinJS Navigation App template samples.

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