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Add plugins via Plugin Management Tool and avoid intelxdk.config.additions.xml file

The latest versions of Intel XDK (2496 and up) now include a Plugin Management Tool that simplifies adding and managing Cordova plugins. We urge all users to manage their plugins from existing or upgraded projects using this tool. If you were using intelxdk.config.additions.xml file to manage plugins in the past, you should remove them and use the Plugin Management Tool to add all plugins instead.

Why you should be using the Plugin Management Tool:

  • It can now manage plugins from all sources. Popular plugins have been added to the the Featured plugins list. Third party plugins can be added from the Cordova Plugin Registry, Git Repo and your file system.
  • Consistency: Unlike previous versions of the Intel XDK, plugins you add are now stored as a part of your project on your development system after they are retrieved by the Intel XDK and copied to your plugins directory. These plugin files are delivered, along with your source code files, to the Intel XDK cloud-based build server. This change ensures greater consistency between builds, because you always build with the plugin version that was retrieved by the Intel XDK into your project. It also provides better documentation of the components that make up your Cordova app, because the plugins are now part of your project directory. This is also more consistent with the way a standard Cordova CLI project works.
  • Convenience: In the past, the only way to add a third party plugin that required parameters was to include it in the intelxdk.config.additions.xml file. This plugin would then be added to your project by the build system. This is no longer recommended. With the new Plugin Management Tool, it automatically parses the plugin.xml file and prompts to add any plugin variables from within the XDK.
    When a plugin is added via the Plugin Management Tool, a plugin entry is added to the project file and the plugin source is downloaded to the plugins directory making a more stable project. After a build, the build system automatically generates config xml files in your project directory that includes a complete summary of plugins and variable values.
  • Correctness of Debug Module: Intel XDK now provides remote on-device debugging for projects with third party plugins by building a custom debug module from your project plugins directory. It does not write or read from the intelxdk.config.additions.xml and the only time this file is used is during a build. This means the debug module is not aware of your plugin added via the intelxdk.config.additions.xml file and so adding plugins via intelxdk.config.additions.xml file should be avoided. Here is a useful article for understanding Intel XDK Build Files.
  • Editing Plugin Sources: There are a few cases where you may want to modify plugin code to fix a bug in a plugin, or add console.log messages to a plugin's sources to help debug your application's interaction with the plugin. To accomplish these goals you can edit the plugin sources in the plugins directory. Your modifications will be uploaded along with your app sources when you build your app using the Intel XDK build server and when a custom debug module is created by the Debug tab.
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