Set up Cordova development environment in a container

About the guide

The purpose of the page is to provide a guide similar to that one for developing Cordova-based (and maybe other HTML5-based) applications using LXC container. Such applications are built in chroot environment, and build system is for some time unsupported in Xenial. I don't know if there are still any developers who use Cordova for Ubuntu, but if there are some, I hope the guide will be useful.

The steps needed to setup working environment are basicly the same as in original guide with few modifications specific to build environment.

  1. Set up LXD
    The steps to set up LXD are the same as in original post.
    We also need to enable overlay kernel module (it is required by click command to function properly):

    sudo modprobe overlay
  2. Set up the container
    We need 17.04+ container, because fixes for build system are published only there and not in 16.04.

    lxc launch ubuntu:17.04 clickablecontainer 
    lxc config set clickablecontainer security.privileged true 
    lxc config set clickablecontainer security.nesting true 
    lxc restart clickablecontainer 
    lxc exec clickablecontainer -- /bin/bash
  3. Inside the container
    Inside the container we have to do basically the same three things: basic configuration of the system, creation of a new not root user and configuring clickable. Steps to create basic configuration of the system and a new not root user are the same as in original post:

    apt update 
    apt install nano sudo git 
    adduser mr_nice_guy
    usermod -a -G sudo mr_nice_guy 
     
    # Now we are ready to being the nice guy 
    su mr_nice_guy
  4. Configure Clickable

    • Download clickable and add it to PATH.
    • Install NodeJS:
      sudo -S apt install nodejs-legacy npm
    • Install build tools
      sudo -S apt install click-dev phablet-tools
    • Download and Install cordova-cli package from Cordova PPA (the PPA is only for Xenial, so I downloaded it manually):
      wget https://launchpad.net/~cordova-ubuntu/+archive/ubuntu/ppa/+build/9778583/+files/cordova-cli_4.3.1-ubuntu12_all.deb; 
      sudo -S dpkg -i cordova-cli_4.3.1-ubuntu12_all.deb
    • Create chroot environment for building apps:
      sudo -S click chroot -a armhf -f ubuntu-sdk-15.04 create
      That's it. We now should have a working clickable environment for building Cordova apps.
  5. Notes on Cordova usage
    There are number of unfixed long-standing issues with Cordova for Ubuntu. So if you'd like to create apps using Cordova, you might be interested in project's fork. It is based on last official version, but adds few fixes that make it more usable:

    • WebView is automatically resized when on-screen keyboard is shown/hidden
    • Copy/Paste operations are supported with touchscreen

    There is also repository with patched File plugin, which gives applications ability to list hidden files and directories.


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