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NativeScript plugins are npm packages that often include additional native functionality. Consequently, discovering, installing, and removing NativeScript plugins resembles the process of working with npm packages used in Node.js or other front-end web development.

Finding plugins

The NativeScript team maintains a list of plugins here.

Plugins can also be found at the NativeScript marketplace or on the npm’s site

Not finding the right plugin? You can try asking on our Discord Community. Or perhaps build a new plugin.

You can also explore @nativescript/core, which is included as a dependency in every NativeScript app. It is possible that the required functionality is already available.

Installing Plugins

Once the needed plugin is found, it can be installed in a NativeScript app using the ns plugin add command which behaves just like npm install while also modifying any existing platform projects (linking, etc.).

ns plugin add <plugin-name>

For example, the following command installs the NativeScript camera plugin.

ns plugin add @nativescript/camera

Instead of using plugin add, package managers like npm, yarn, or pnpm can also be used:

npm install --save @nativescript/camera

The installation of a NativeScript plugin is similar to installing a npm package. The NativeScript CLI downloads the plugin from npm and adds it to the node_modules folder in the project's root. This process also includes updating the root package.json file with the plugin and resolving its dependencies (if any).

Installing Plugins as Developer Dependencies

As demonstrated above, the command ns plugin add @nativescript/camera is equivalent to npm i @nativescript/camera --save internally. However, when installing a developer dependency, such as @nativescript/types or @nativescript/webpack, you need to explicitly save it as a devDependency. To do so, use the npm install command with the --save-dev flag. For instance:

npm i @nativescript/types --save-dev


Regarding package handling, dependencies are necessary for the application to run, while devDependencies are only needed during the development phase. For instance, the @nativescript/camera plugin is a dependency required at runtime to utilize the hardware camera. Conversely, @nativescript/types is a developer dependency used solely for IntelliSense during the development process. It is important to avoid installing devDependencies as dependencies to prevent large output build files and keep the application size manageable. You can find an example of a package.json file using both dependencies and devDependencies here.

Importing and Using Plugins

Once the required plugin is installed, it can be utilized in the project. It's crucial to carefully review the plugin's documentation and README file as each plugin may have specific configuration requirements. The following code snippet demonstrates the basic usage of the @nativescript/camera plugin:

import { requestPermissions } from '@nativescript/camera'
import { requestPermissions } from '@nativescript/camera'

Removing Plugins

To remove a NativeScript plugin, you can use the following command.

ns plugin remove <plugin-name>

For example, the following command removes the NativeScript camera plugin.

ns plugin remove @nativescript/camera

As with installation, the removal of a NativeScript plugin mimics the removal of an npm package.

The NativeScript CLI removes plugin files from the app's node_modules folder in the project's root. It also removes the plugin's dependencies and removes the plugin from the project's root package.json file.

Package Managers

A package manager is software that enables management of external code necessary for a project to function properly. The NativeScript CLI employs Node Package Manager (npm) as its default package manager. Upon creating a new app, the CLI automatically executes npm install to install all required dependencies.

Supported package managers

NativeScript CLI allows you to configure the package manager used when working with dependencies. When you change the defaultly used npm package manager, CLI will use the newly set package manager for all operations it executes related to project dependencies, for example, project creation, managing dependencies, etc.

NativeScript CLI supports three package managers:

  • npm - this is the default option
  • yarn - you can set it by calling ns package-manager set yarn. More information about yarn is available here
  • pnpm - from version 6.4, you can use pnpm to manage the dependencies of your application. You can use pnpm by calling ns package-manager set pnpm. NOTE: You will have to use --shamefully-hoist flag if you call pnpm on your own. CLI passes this flag when installing dependencies with pnpm and probably your application will not work if you omit it. More information about pnpm is available here.

In case you want to check what is the currently used package manager, you can use:

ns package-manager get