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How To:

Create Your First Hybrid Mobile App

Mobile Hybrid Tools enables you to quickly create Cordova-based hybrid mobile applications using the Hybrid Mobile Project wizard. This wizard is a useful starting point for creating all new Cordova-based mobile applications in the IDE.

As illustrated in this article, from this foundation you can customize the application by adding a range of Cordova plug-ins for accessing device hardware with the Cordova Plug-in Discovery wizard. You can also test your Cordova-based hybrid mobile applications without leaving the IDE using CordovaSim, a mobile application simulator. The IDE also allows you to deploy your Hybrid Mobile project on the FeedHenry server.

The Hybrid Mobile Project wizard is also an ideal starting point for new users to Hybrid Mobile Tools and CordovaSim, guiding you through the necessary steps to set up the IDE and your system for developing Cordova applications before generating a basic Cordova project.

Before attempting to install or create a hybrid mobile project with JBoss Tools, ensure that the Android SDK is installed and up to date. Creating or installing hybrid mobile projects without a working and updated installation of Android SDK can result in unexpected errors.

The instructions here demonstrate how to complete the following tasks:

1. Prerequisites

Ensure that the following prerequisites are met to create a hybrid mobile project:

1.1 Enable the JBoss Hybrid Mobile Tools + CordovaSim Feature

To enable the JBoss Hybrid Mobile Tools + CordovaSim feature:

  1. In JBoss Central, click the Software/Update tab.

  2. In the Features Available list, select the JBoss Hybrid Mobile Tools + CordovaSim check box and then click Install/Update.

    Hybrid Mobile Tools + CordovaSim Check Box Selected
    Figure 1. Hybrid Mobile Tools + CordovaSim Check Box Selected
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation.

During the installation process you may receive warnings about installing unsigned content. If this is the case, review the details of the content and if satisfied click OK to continue with the installation.

Once installation is complete, you are prompted to restart Eclipse. Click Yes to restart immediately and No if you need to save any unsaved changes to open projects. Note that IDE changes do not take effect until the IDE is restarted.

1.2 Install Android SDK

To install Android SDK:

  1. Download Android SDK and then unzip the file at a desired location.

  2. In the IDE, click Window > Preferences.

  3. In the Preferences window, type filter text field, type Hybrid Mobile.

  4. In the Hybrid Mobile category, click Android.

  5. Click Browse to locate and select the Android SDK directory on your machine.

    Select the Android SDK Location
    Figure 2. Select the Android SDK Location
  6. Click Apply and then click OK.

2. Create a Hybrid Mobile Project

After the project wizard requirements are installed, you can restart the Hybrid Mobile Project wizard and follow it through to completion to create a template-based project. Within the wizard you must specify identifiers for the project and application and select the Cordova engine version to be used for building the project.

To create a Hybrid Mobile project, complete the following steps:

  1. In JBoss Central, under Start from scratch, click Hybrid Mobile Project.

  2. Complete the fields about the project and application as follows:

    • In the Project name field, type a name for the project.

    • In the Name field, type a name for the application

    • In the ID field, type an alpha-numeric package name for the application; IDs are akin to Java package names and must begin with an alpha character and contain at least one dot.

      Provide the Project and Application Information
      Figure 3. Provide the Project and Application Information
  3. Click Next.

  4. From the Available Engines table, select the latest Apache Cordova version. If the Available Engines table is empty, first click Download and follow the instructions to install the latest Cordova engine version on your system.

  5. Click Finish.

Result: The project is created and listed in the Project Explorer view.

3. Customize the Hybrid Mobile Project

Before building and running the Hybrid Mobile application, instructions are given here for customizing the project by adding the Cordova Device Motion plug-in and modifying the source code to make use of it. The plug-in gives access to the mobile device accelerometer and the code snippets added to this project check for data every one second and display the X, Y, Z acceleration values on the front page of the application. This plug-in is just one of a catalog of plug-ins available to add to your Hybrid Mobile project.

To customize the Hybrid Mobile project with the Cordova Device Motion plug-in, complete the following steps:

  1. In the Project Explorer view, right-click {project name} and click Install Cordova Plug-in.

  2. In the Find field, enter motion.

  3. From the filtered list of plug-ins, select org.apache.cordova.device-motion and click Finish.

  4. In the Project Explorer view, expand {project name} > www.

  5. Double-click index.html to open it in the JBoss Tools HTML Editor.

  6. Edit index.html as follows:

    • Before the closing </head> tag, add the following lines

      <script type="text/javascript" charset="utf-8" src="cordova.js"></script>
      <script type="text/javascript" charset="utf-8" src="js/index.js"></script>
    • Replace the code inside the <body></body> tags with the following lines

      <div class="app">
           <h1>My Cordova Accelerometer App</h1>
           <div id="accelerometer">Waiting for accelerometer...</div>
      </div>
      The Modified index.html File
      Figure 4. The Modified index.html File
  7. Save the index.html file by pressing Ctrl+S (or Cmd+S).

  8. In the Project Explorer view, expand {project name} > www > js.

  9. Double-click index.js to open it in the IDE JavaScript Editor.

  10. Replace the code in index.js with the following lines

    // The watch id references the current `watchAcceleration`
        var watchID = null;
    
        // Wait for device API libraries to load
        document.addEventListener("deviceready", onDeviceReady, false);
    
        // device APIs are available
        function onDeviceReady() {
            console.log("deviceready");
            startWatch();
        }
    
        // Start watching the acceleration
        function startWatch() {
    
            // Update acceleration every 1 seconds
            var options = { frequency: 1000 };
            watchID = navigator.accelerometer.watchAcceleration(onSuccess, onError, options);
        }
    
        // Stop watching the acceleration
        function stopWatch() {
            if (watchID) {
                navigator.accelerometer.clearWatch(watchID);
                watchID = null;
            }
        }
    
        // onSuccess: Get a snapshot of the current acceleration
        function onSuccess(acceleration) {
            var element = document.getElementById('accelerometer');
            element.innerHTML = 'Acceleration X: ' + acceleration.x + '<br />' +
                                'Acceleration Y: ' + acceleration.y + '<br />' +
                                'Acceleration Z: ' + acceleration.z;
        }
    
        // onError: Failed to get the acceleration
        function onError() {
            alert('onError!');
        }
  11. Save the index.js file.

Result: Your Hybrid Mobile Project is now customized and saved.

4. Test the Hybrid Mobile Application using CordovaSim

You can build and test the Hybrid Mobile application within the IDE using CordovaSim. CordovaSim is a mobile device simulator specifically for testing Cordova-based hybrid mobile applications. Using the CordovaSim control panel you can input sample data for mobile device hardware, as illustrated here for a device accelerometer.

To run and test your Hybrid Mobile application using CordovaSim, complete the following steps:

  1. In the Project Explorer view, right-click {project name} and click Run ▸ Run with CordovaSim.

  2. In the CordovaSim control panel, expand Accelerometer and drag the 3D device representation to generate device accelerometer data.

    Generated Device Accelerometer Data Displayed in Application
    Figure 5. Generated Device Accelerometer Data Displayed in Application

Result: Your Hybrid Mobile application is running for testing.

5. Deploy the Hybrid Mobile Project on the FeedHenry Server

The IDE allows users to quickly and easily publish a Mobile Hybrid (Cordova) application, developed in the IDE, on the FeedHenry server.

The instructions here demonstrate to complete the following tasks:

5.1 Connect the Cordova Application to the FeedHenry Server

To connect the Cordova application to the FeedHenry server:

  1. In the Project Explorer view, right-click the {project name} and New ▸ Other.

    Refer to the Create a Hybrid Mobile Project section to create the Hybrid Mobile (Cordova) application.

  2. In the search field, type FeedHenry and then select New FeedHenry Application and click Next.

  3. In the Create FeedHenry Application window, enter the following details:

    • Ensure that the Source project field displays the name of the master Cordova project

    • In the Select FeedHenry project field, select the FeedHenry project name

    • In the Git remote name field, type a Git remote name for the FeedHenry repository

  4. Click Finish.

Result: The Almost Done window confirms that the project is created on the platform. The project structure in the Project Explorer view, shows the feedhenry.js and the fhconfig.json files.

Almost done Window Confirms the Application Creation
Figure 6. Almost done Window Confirms the Application Creation

5.2 Push the Cordova Application to the FeedHenry Server

To push the application to the FeedHenry server:

  1. In the Project Explorer view, right-click the {project name} and click Team ▸ Push Branch “master”.

  2. If you are prompted for a confirmation to connect, click Yes.

  3. In the Push Branch master window, enter the following details:

    • In the Remote field, enter the location for the remote Git repository.

    • In the Branch field, type master.

  4. Click Next.

    Details of the Push Added in the Push Branch master Window
    Figure 7. Details of the Push Added in the Push Branch master Window
  5. Confirm the details in the Push Confirmation window and click Finish.

  6. The Pushed to git window confirms the push. Click OK.

  7. Log into FeedHenry at https://[your-studio-domain].feedhenry.com.

  8. Click Projects and then click the relevant application.

Result: The Cordova application is visible in the FeedHenry instance.

Cordova Application Published on the FeedHenry Server
Figure 8. Cordova Application Published on the FeedHenry Server

6. Modify Icon for a Mobile Application

Define the icons for the Mobile Hybrid application using the icon tag in the config.xml file. If an icon is not specified, the Apache Cordova logo is used as the default icon.

To change the application icon:

  1. Save the icon in the <workspace> /www/res/icon directory of your project.

  2. In the IDE, in the Project Explorer view, locate the config.xml file.

    Note: If you are using Cordova 4.0.0 or lower, the config.xml file is located in the {project_name} > www directory. For Cordova versions higher than 4.0.0 the config.xml file is located, a level higher, in the project directory.

  3. Double-click config.xml to open it in the config.xml editor.

  4. Click the config.xml tab to edit the file.

  5. To define a single default icon for all platforms, add the following code anywhere withing the widget tag in the config.xml file:

    <icon src="www/res/icon[image name].png" />
    Icon Tag Added to the config.xml File

    Icon Tag Added to the config.xml File

    Alternatively,

    • To define a pixel-perfect icon for Android, add the following code in the config.xml file:

      <platform name="android">
      <icon src="www/res/android/[image name].png" density="ldpi" />
      <icon src="www/res/android/[image name].png" density="mdpi" />
      <icon src="www/res/android/[image name].png"density="hdpi" />
      <icon src="www/res/android/[image name].png" density="xhdpi" />
      </platform>
    • To define a pixel-perfect icon for iOS, add the following code in the config.xml file:

      <platform name="ios">
      <icon src="www/res/ios/[image name].png" width="180" height="180" >
      </platform>
  6. Save the config.xml file.

  7. Right-click the application and click Run As ▸ Run on Android Emulator.

  8. On the emulator, click the Home button and then click the Applications button to view the modified icon for the application.

Result: The icon for the application is modified.

Modified Icon for the Application Displayed on the Android Emulator

Modified Icon for the Application on the Android Emulator

7. Edit an Application Splash Screen

You can edit the splash screen associated with your application using the splash tag within the platform tag in the config.xml file. If you are using Cordova 4.0.0 or higher, you must first install the new cordova-plugin-splashscreen to continue to use the splash screen and then use the steps below to edit the splash screen. For Cordova versions lower than 4.0.0, simply follow the steps below to edit the splash screen.

To change the application splash screen:

  1. Save the image for the splash screen in the <workspace> /www/res directory of your project.

  2. In the IDE, in the Project Explorer view, locate the config.xml file.

    Note: If you are using Cordova 4.0.0 or lower, the config.xml file is located in the {project_name}> www directory. For Cordova versions higher than 4.0.0, the config.xml file is located, a level higher, in the project directory.

  3. Double-click config.xml to open it in the config.xml editor.

  4. Click the config.xml tab to edit the file.

  5. To define the splash screen add the following code within the widget tag in the config.xml file:

    Note: You can use any density that exists in the Android project.

    <platform name="android">
    <splash src="www/res/[image name].png" density="land-hdpi"/>
    <splash src="www/res/[image name].png" density="land-ldpi"/>
    <splash src="www/res/[image name].png" density="land-mdpi"/>
    <splash src="www/res/[image name].png" density="land-xhdpi"/>
    
    <splash src="www/res/[image name].png" density="port-hdpi"/>
    <splash src="www/res/[image name].png" density="port-ldpi"/>
    <splash src="www/res/[image name].png" density="port-mdpi"/>
    <splash src="www/res/[image name].png" density="port-xhdpi"/>
    </platform>
    <preference name="SplashScreenDelay" value="10000" />
  6. Save the config.xml file.

  7. Right-click the application and click Run As ▸ Run on Android Emulator.

Result: The edited splash screen appears while the application is starting.

Did You Know?

  • You can manually initiate installation of JBoss Hybrid Mobile Tools and CordovaSim by locating them in the JBoss Central Software/Update tab or by dragging the following link into JBoss Central: https://devstudio.jboss.com/central/install?connectors=org.jboss.tools.aerogear.hybrid

  • You can change the Cordova engine associated with the project after it is created. In the Project Explorer view, right-click the project and click Properties. Click Hybrid Mobile Engine and select the engine you want to use. Click OK to save the engine change and close the Properties window.

  • You can download multiple Cordova engines to your system with which to build your projects. The Download wizard can be accessed from the Hybrid Mobile Engine pane in the project Properties window, in addition to the Hybrid Mobile Project wizard.

  • From the IDE you can also initiate testing of Cordova projects with a connected Android device, system Android Emulator, and system iOS Simulator. The project is built in the necessary native format during the process.

  • With the CordovaSim control panel, you can generate simulated data for a range of device hardware, including geolocation and battery status. CordovaSim also manages camera actions, enabling you to upload system images to simulate receiving camera data.

  • A Shake button under Accelerometer in the CordovaSim control panel enables you to simulate a hardware-shake gesture and test the impact on your application.

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