If you are interested in building Cordova applications, Cordova CLI has few competitors. The ones I know about:

  • Homegrown script: I built an ant script to do much of what Cordova CLI does–build packages, run tests, and start emulators. I’m sure you could use any other build tool to do the same. There’s some reverse engineering, and tangling with iOS build tools isn’t much fun.
  • Different code trees: use the Cordova create script to create a project for each platform, and then let the html, css, and javascript evolve differently for each, possibly relying on an IDE to do compilation/building. This may be a viable option if you have hard requirements that each platform’s build can be tested against, or if you don’t care to share code between platforms. Upgrading versions of Cordova may be an issue.

As you can see, there aren’t too many other options for doing Cordova development. If you are interested in forward compatibility, I suspect you’ll choose one of the scripting options (Cordova CLI or a homegrown script); if you just want to get the project done, I think you’d lean towards using an IDE after the project is created–it all depends on how future proof you want the app you are building to be.

In the next post, I will discuss installing Cordova CLI.

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