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Setting up your system

This page will walk through installing everything you need to build your first NativeScript app.

Windows + Android

You will need Node, NativeScript CLI (command line interface), Android Studio and a JDK (java development kit).

Android Studio is not strictly necessary — however it provides an easy to use interface for installing and managing the Android SDKs.

We recommend using Chocolatey to install the required dependencies — a popular package manager for Windows.

To install Node and JDK open an Administrator Command Prompt (right click and select "Run as Administrator") and run the following command:

choco install -y nodejs.install openjdk8

Setting up the Android development environment can be daunting if you are new to Android development, however following the next steps carefully will get you up and running in no time.

Download and install Android Studio. In the installation wizard make sure to have the following components selected (the list should appear if you select custom options):

The setup may take a while, but once it has finished a welcome screen should appear.

Android Studio installs the latest Android SDK by default, which in most cases should be all that's needed to build a NativeScript app.

Configure the ANDROID_HOME environment variable for NativeScript to be able to find the Android SDK.

  1. Search for "Edit the system environment variables" in Windows Search and select
  2. Click on "Environment variables..." in the bottom corner
  3. Under the "User variables for..." click on New... to create the ANDROID_HOME user variable that points to the path of the Android SDK:

New User Variable (ANDROID_HOME)

The SDK is by default located at

%LOCALAPPDATA%\Android\Sdk

To find the actual location in the Android Studio Settings, navigate to Appearance & Behavior › System Settings › Android SDK and copy the Android SDK Location.

Add Android platform-tools to path.

  1. Search for "Edit the system environment variables" in Windows Search and select
  2. Click on "Environment variables..." in the bottom corner
  3. Under the "User variables for..." select the Path variable and click Edit...
  4. Click New and add the platform-tools path to the list.

The default location is inside the Android SDK's platform-tools folder:

%LOCALAPPDATA%\Android\Sdk\platform-tools

Install the NativeScript CLI globally:

npm install -g nativescript

To verify if the installation was successful, open a new Command Prompt window to ensure the new environment variables are loaded and run

ns doctor android

If you see No issues were detected you have successfully set up your system.

Preparing an Android device

To run a NativeScript app, you will need an Android device — either a physical or a virtual device.

  • Using a physical device: Connect the device using a USB cable, and follow the instructions from Running on a physical device

  • Using a virtual device: Open Android Studio, and open "AVD Manager" — If you are on the welcome screen, it's under the Configure › AVD Manager dropdown, otherwise under the Tools › AVD Manager menu.

    If the list of available Virtual Devices is empty, you will need to create a new AVD. Click on "Create Virtual Device..." then pick a phone from the list. You can select any phone from the list — for example "Pixel 3 XL" and then click "Next". For the System Image select the latest version (the highest API Level in the list). If the selection is greyed out, click the "Download" link next to the Release Name to download the System Image and then click "Next" and "Finish" to create the AVD. The newly created AVD should show up in the list, and you should be able to click the green "play" button to start the virtual device.

Windows + iOS

Unsupported

A Mac is required to build projects that use native iOS code. Simpler apps can be tested using the NativeScript Playground.

macOS + Android

You will need Node, NativeScript CLI (command line interface), Android Studio and a JDK (java development kit).

Android Studio is not strictly necessary — however it provides an easy to use interface for installing and managing the Android SDKs.

We recommend using Homebrew to install the required dependencies — a popular package manager for macOS.

WARNING

When installing Homebrew, carefully follow their instructions to avoid configuration issues.

Once you have Homebrew installed, to install Node open a Terminal and run the following command:

brew install node

Pro tip!

If you need to work with multiple versions of node, you may skip installing node via Homebrew, and use a node version manager: nvm, n or any other node version manager you prefer.

To install a JDK run the following command:

brew tap AdoptOpenJDK/openjdk
brew install --cask adoptopenjdk15

Note

The default adoptopenjdk16 does not currently work with the gradle plugin version NativeScript uses, so we recommend sticking with an older version for now.

Setting up the Android development environment can be daunting if you are new to Android development, however following the next steps carefully will get you up and running in no time.

Download and install Android Studio. In the installation wizard make sure to have the following components selected (the list should appear if you select custom options):

The setup may take a while, but once it has finished a welcome screen should appear.

Android Studio installs the latest Android SDK by default, which in most cases should be all that's needed to build a NativeScript app.

Configure the ANDROID_HOME environment variable for NativeScript to be able to find the Android SDK, and add the required tools to path.

Add the following lines to your shell profile, usually ~/.bash_profile or ~/.bashrc, or if you are using zsh then ~/.zprofile or ~/.zshrc config file:

export ANDROID_HOME=$HOME/Library/Android/sdk
export PATH=$PATH:$ANDROID_HOME/platform-tools

Install the NativeScript CLI globally:

npm install -g nativescript

To verify if the installation was successful, open a new Command Prompt window to ensure the new environment variables are loaded and run

ns doctor android

If you see No issues were detected you have successfully set up your system.

Preparing an Android device

To run a NativeScript app, you will need an Android device — either a physical or a virtual device.

  • Using a physical device: Connect the device using a USB cable, and follow the instructions from Running on a physical device

  • Using a virtual device: Open Android Studio, and open "AVD Manager" — If you are on the welcome screen, it's under the Configure › AVD Manager dropdown, otherwise under the Tools › AVD Manager menu.

    If the list of available Virtual Devices is empty, you will need to create a new AVD. Click on "Create Virtual Device..." then pick a phone from the list. You can select any phone from the list — for example "Pixel 3 XL" and then click "Next". For the System Image select the latest version (the highest API Level in the list). If the selection is greyed out, click the "Download" link next to the Release Name to download the System Image and then click "Next" and "Finish" to create the AVD. The newly created AVD should show up in the list, and you should be able to click the green "play" button to start the virtual device.

macOS + iOS

You will need Node, NativeScript CLI (command line interface), XCode, xcodeproj, cocoapods.

We recommend using Homebrew to install the required dependencies — a popular package manager for macOS.

Note

When installing Homebrew, carefully follow their instructions to avoid configuration issues.

Once you have Homebrew installed, to install Node open a Terminal and run the following command:

brew install node

Pro tip!

If you need to work with multiple versions of node, you may skip installing node via Homebrew, and use a node version manager: nvm, n or any other node version manager you prefer.

Next you will need XCode. XCode will install on macOS 10.15.7 Catalina or later. It will need about 50G Disk space for installation. Open the AppStore, search for XCode and and install it.

Once the installation is complete (this may take a while — brew a coffee and enjoy a little break), open XCode and if it prompts you to install the Command-Line-Tools make sure to say Yes.

Open XCode › Preferences › Locations and make sure Command Line Tools is set

XCode Preferences, Locations

Install ruby 2.7 and link it so it's available in your shell environment:

brew install ruby@2.7
brew link ruby@2.7

Add the following lines to your shell profile, usually ~/.bash_profile or ~/.bashrc, or if you are using zsh then ~/.zshrc config file:

# Add rubygems to the path
export PATH=/opt/homebrew/lib/ruby/gems/2.7.0/bin:$PATH
# or
export PATH=/usr/local/lib/ruby/gems/2.7.0/bin:$PATH

Important

Make sure to open a new terminal window for the changes to take effect!

In a new terminal window, install the cocoapods and xcodeproj gems by running the following commands:

sudo gem install cocoapods
sudo gem install xcodeproj

Depending on installation methods, the location of ruby gems may vary. Make sure you have the right folder in your $PATH by running which pod. If the binary is not found run gem env to examine your folders, and update your $PATH in the login profile file.

Next install pip and six by running the following:

sudo easy_install pip==20.3.3
python -m pip install six

NOTE

You may see a Deprecation warning when installing six, feel free to ignore it for now — NativeScript will update to Python 3.x in the near future.

Install the NativeScript CLI globally:

npm install -g nativescript

NOTE

You may see Deprecation and security warnings from npm, these are safe to ignore.

More details for those curious: The NativeScript CLI relies on 3rd party packages that may have been deprecated over the past years. We are slowly replacing these dependencies with newer, supported alternatives to resolve these warnings, however they are generally safe to ignore, since the CLI is never exposed to the public and it's only used for local development, where most of the security concerns don't apply.

To verify if the installation was successful, open a new Terminal window to ensure the new environment variables are loaded and run

ns doctor ios

If you see No issues were detected you have successfully set up your system.

Additional notes for M1 based machines:

You may need to install rosetta2, run:

softwareupdate --install-rosetta

May need to install ffi

sudo arch -x86_64 gem install ffi

Then

arch -x86_64 pod install

Linux + Android

You will need Node, NativeScript CLI (command line interface), Android Studio and a JDK (java development kit).

Android Studio is not strictly necessary — however it provides an easy to use interface for installing and managing the Android SDKs.

To install Node follow the instructions specific to your Linux distribution. We recommend using the latest version, however anything above Node 12 should be fine.

Note

We have gone through these steps on Ubuntu 20.04 and noted commands we've used, however depending on your Linux distribution, the commands may be different. We cannot provide commands for all possible distributions, so please refer to the linked documentation to find the correct commands you need to run.

# On Ubuntu 20.04, we used the following command to install latest node
$ curl -fsSL https://deb.nodesource.com/setup_15.x | sudo -E bash -
$ sudo apt-get install -y nodejs

To confirm Node is installed correctly, run:

$ node -v
$ npm -v
# Should print something like
v15.x.x
7.x.x

A JDK version 8 or greater is required, and you have a couple options:

  1. OpenJDK — can be downloaded from AdoptOpenJDK or your system package manager.
  2. Oracle JDK — can be downloaded directly or through the system package manager.
# On Ubuntu 20.04, we used the following command to install OpenJDK 14
sudo apt-get install -y openjdk-14-jdk

To confirm JDK is installed correctly, run:

$ java --version
$ javac --version
# Should print something like
openjdk 14.0.2 2020-07-14
OpenJDK Runtime Environment (build 14.0.2+12-Ubuntu-120.04)
OpenJDK 64-Bit Server VM (build 14.0.2+12-Ubuntu-120.04, mixed mode, sharing)

javac 14.0.2

Setting up the Android development environment can be daunting if you are new to Android development, however following the next steps carefully will get you up and running in no time.

Download and install Android Studio. In the installation wizard make sure to have the following components selected (the list should appear if you select custom options):

  • Android SDK
  • Android SDK Platform
  • Android Virtual Device

The setup may take a while, but once it has finished a welcome screen should appear.

Android Studio installs the latest Android SDK by default, which in most cases should be all that's needed to build a NativeScript app.

Configure the ANDROID_HOME environment variable for NativeScript to be able to find the Android SDK, and add the required tools to path.

Add the following lines to your shell profile, usually ~/.bash_profile or ~/.bashrc, or if you are using zsh then ~/.zshrc config file:

export ANDROID_HOME=$HOME/Android/Sdk
export PATH=$PATH:$ANDROID_HOME/platform-tools

Install the NativeScript CLI globally:

npm install -g nativescript

Note

Depending on how you installed Node, you may get an EACCESS: permission denied error when trying to install a global package. It's generally not recommended to run npm with sudo, see this guide for Resolving EACCESS permissions errors.

To verify if the installation was successful, open a new Command Prompt window to ensure the new environment variables are loaded and run

ns doctor android

If you see No issues were detected you have successfully set up your system.

Preparing an Android device

To run a NativeScript app, you will need an Android device — either a physical or a virtual device.

  • Using a physical device: Connect the device using a USB cable, and follow the instructions from Running on a physical device

  • Using a virtual device: Open Android Studio, and open "AVD Manager" — If you are on the welcome screen, it's under the Configure › AVD Manager dropdown, otherwise under the Tools › AVD Manager menu.

    If the list of available Virtual Devices is empty, you will need to create a new AVD. Click on "Create Virtual Device..." then pick a phone from the list. You can select any phone from the list — for example "Pixel 3 XL" and then click "Next". For the System Image select the latest version (the highest API Level in the list). If the selection is greyed out, click the "Download" link next to the Release Name to download the System Image and then click "Next" and "Finish" to create the AVD. The newly created AVD should show up in the list, and you should be able to click the green "play" button to start the virtual device.

Linux + iOS

Unsupported

A Mac is required to build projects that use native iOS code. Simpler apps can be tested using the NativeScript Playground.

Integrating with native apps

Talk about how NativeScript can be embedded into existing apps - clear and detailed step-by-step guide. This is a huge potential for bringing more people into the ecosystem.

Building for Other Platforms/Devices

Building for Smart Watches

iOS WatchOS Applications

With version 5.4 the NativeScript CLI introduces a Beta support for integrating a WatchOS application in your iOS mobile app created with NativeScript.

Prerequisites

  • NativeScript CLI version 5.4 and above.

  • NativeScript project.

  • Xcode 10 and above.

  • Paired devices or simulators (iPhone and iWatch with WatchOS 4.x/5.x and above).

    Note

    WatchOS 4.x won't work with the default Watch App created with Xcode. The user will have to manually set WATCHOS_DEPLOYMENT_TARGET in the configuration json (see below for details).

  • WatchOS app created with Objective-C (Swift code is not supported yet).

WatchOS application in NativeScript.

To integrate your existing WatchOS application into your NativeScript project, execute the following steps:

  1. Create Single View App from Xcode.

  2. Add watch app target through File > New > Target > WatchKit App.

  3. Add a name to your watch app, for example, MyFirstWatchApp. In the same screen verify that Objective-C is selected as your language.

Note

You can skip steps 1-3 if your Watch app is already created.

  1. Copy the generated MyFirstWatchApp and MyFirstWatchAppExtension to .../apps/MyApp/app/App_Resources/iOS/watchapp/MyFirstWatchApp and .../apps/MyApp/app/App_Resources/iOS/watchextension/MyFirstWatchAppExtension respectively.

  2. Inside the Info.plist of the Watch App replace the value of WKCompanionAppBundleIdentifier with $(WK_APP_BUNDLE_IDENTIFIER).

  3. Inside the Info.plist of the Watch Extension replace the of WKAppBundleIdentifier with $(WK_APP_BUNDLE_IDENTIFIER).

  4. You can populate the Assets.xcassets of the Watch App and add the name of the appiconset to the .../apps/MyApp/app/App_Resources/iOS/watchapp/MyFirstWatchApp/watchapp.json:

    {
        "assetcatalogCompilerAppiconName": "AppIcon"
    }
    
  5. You can modify the WATCHOS_DEPLOYMENT_TARGET of the Watch App by adding the value inside the _watchapp.json _ file like this:

    {
        "assetcatalogCompilerAppiconName": "AppIcon",
        "targetBuildConfigurationProperties": {
            "WATCHOS_DEPLOYMENT_TARGET": 4.1
        }
    }
    
  6. Build & Run the NativeScript application.

    ns run ios
    
  7. The application will be deployed and started on your iOS device/simulator. Make sure that the test iPhone is already paired with the testing iWatch. Once the iOS app starts, the Watch app will be automatically deployed on the testing iWatch device.