Android Shell Tool Guide

This guide shows how to use Cordova's set of platform-centered shell tools to develop Android apps. This development path, discussed in the Overview, may offer you a greater range of development options than the cross-platform CLI tool described in The Command-Line Interface. For example, you need to use shell tools when deploying a custom Cordova WebView alongside native components. Before using either development path, you must first configure the Android SDK environment as described in the Android Platform Guide.

To enable shell tools for Android, download Cordova from The download contains separate archives for each platform. Expand each you wish to target, android in this case. The relevant tools are typically available in the top-level bin directory, otherwise consult the README file for more detailed directions.

These tools allow you to create, build, and run Android apps. For information on the additional command-line interface that enables plugin features across all platforms, see Using Plugman to Manage Plugins. See Application Plugins for details on how to develop plugins.

Create a Project

Run the create command, specifying the existing path to the project, the reverse-domain-style package identifier, and the app's display name. Here is the syntax for both Mac/Linux and Windows:

    $ /path/to/cordova-android/bin/create /path/to/project com.example.project_name ProjectName

    C:\>\path\to\cordova-android\bin\create.bat \path\to\project com.example.project_name ProjectName


This cleans then builds a project.

Debug, on Mac/Linux or Windows:

    $ /path/to/project/cordova/build --debug

    C:\>\path\to\project\cordova\build.bat --debug

Release, on Mac/Linux or Windows:

    $ /path/to/project/cordova/build --release

    C:\>\path\to\project\cordova\build.bat --release

Run the App

The run command accepts the following optional parameters:

  • Target specification. This includes --emulator, --device, or --target=<targetID>.

  • Build specification. This includes --debug, --release, or --nobuild.

    $ /path/to/project/cordova/run [Target] [Build]
    C:\>\path\to\project\cordova\run.bat [Target] [Build]

Make sure you create at least one Android Virtual Device, otherwise you're prompted to do so with the android command. If more than one AVD is available as a target, you're prompted to select one. By default the run command detects a connected device, or a currently running emulator if no device is found.


    $ /path/to/project/cordova/log



    $ /path/to/project/cordova/clean


Manual Use of Ant

If you wish to call Ant directly from the command line such as ant debug install, you need to specify additional parameters to the ant command:

    ant debug install -Dout.dir=ant-build -Dgen.absolute.dir=ant-gen

This is because the directories used by Cordova's Ant scripts are different than the default. This is done to avoid conflicts when Ant is run from the command line versus inside Eclipse/ADT.

These additional parameters are automatically added for you when using the cordova/build and cordova/run scripts described above. For this reason it is recommended to use the cordova/build and cordova/run scripts instead of calling Ant directly from the command line.