Cordova JavaScript Plugins

I am beginning to understand the way Cordova works internally more and more; one thing I continue to struggle with is the format of the JavaScript plugins however.

I am used to writing my JavaScript as follows (which is the standard convention, as far as I am aware):

(function () {
    var version = "EXAMPLE",

    function somePrivateFunction(successCallback, errorCallback) {
        someOtherPrivateFunction(sc, ec);

    function someOtherPrivateFunction(successCallback, errorCallback) {
        cordova.exec(sc, ec, 'SomeService', 'SomeMethod', [args]);

    res = {
        VERSION: version,
        doSomething: function (sc, ec) {
            somePrivateFunction(sc, ec);    

    window.myPlugin = res;

However, Cordova uses a format I am completely unfamiliar with. I think (and I have only heard of the term here and there) it uses something called require (judging by the declarations at the top of most plugins).

The format I often see in the official Cordova plugins are like follows:

    var argscheck = require('cordova/argscheck'),
    utils = require('cordova/utils'),
    exec = require('cordova/exec');

var myPlugin = function () {


myPlugin.doSomething = function(successCallback, errorCallback) {
    exec(successCallback, errorCallback, 'SomeService', 'SomeMethod', [args]);

myPlugin.doSomethingElse = function(successCallback, errorCallback) {
    exec(successCallback, errorCallback, 'SomeService', 'SomeOtherMethod', [args]);

modules.export = myPlugin;

Maybe it is because I do not have any knowledge on this require library - but I do not get it? This seems completely foreign to me, in terms of JavaScript.

What is modules, what is the cordova/[...] syntax and what does it indicate. Where are these other cordova modules defined (is that the correct terminology) and where does modules come from?

And finally, what does modules.export do? I am trying to understand the <js-module> tag of plugin.xml and the <clobbers> tag, but this is holding me back I think.

I understand that when Cordova builds the project, it inserts cordova.define surrounding the plugin.

Maybe at least someone can clarify? Thanks!



the require and exec functions are methods of the cordova object. When you install a plugin it gets wrapped in function that give access to the cordova object. Those calls are actually cordova.require and cordova.exec

Here is an example of a plugin js file before and after install:


var exec = require("cordova/exec");

var VideoPlayer = {
    play: function(url) {
        exec(null, null, "VideoPlayer", "playVideo", [url]);

module.exports = VideoPlayer;


cordova.define("com.dawsonloudon.videoplayer.VideoPlayer", function(require, exports, module) {

    var exec = require("cordova/exec");

    var VideoPlayer = {
        play: function(url) {
            exec(null, null, "VideoPlayer", "playVideo", [url]);

    module.exports = VideoPlayer;


Additionally, to answer about the config setup, the clobbers command secures the name space of your plugin object. From my plugin:

<js-module src="www/VideoPlayer.js" name="VideoPlayer">
    <clobbers target="VideoPlayer" />

This is stating the name of my JS file, and the object namespace used to call to my plugin in JS.


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