This document describes how to install Apache Cordova and the Android SDK on a Windows machine. This is a quite complex process, which may take some time depending on your previous experience with installing SKDs and build tools. Care has been taken when writing this document to include all the essential steps needed to get you up and running with a successful install. Kindly let us know if there is something you are missing (email: info@evothings.com).

To develop Android apps, you need to install the Android SDK, and also Java if not already installed on your machine.

For the Android SDK, you have the choice between installing Android Studio or just the Android SDK Tools (sdkmanager).

Install Cordova

Follow these steps to install Cordova:

  1. Install Node.js. Cordova runs on the Node.js platform, which needs to be installed as the first step. Download installer from: http://nodejs.org
  2. Go ahead an run the downloaded installation file. It is recommended to use the default settings. Node.js needs to be added to the PATH environment variable, which is done by default.
  3. To test the installation, open a command window (make sure you open a new command window to get the updated path settings made by the Node.js installation), and type:
    node --version

    If the version number is displayed, Node.js is installed and working!

  4. Install Git. Git is a version control system, which is used by Cordova behind-the-scenes. Download and install from: http://git-scm.com. Default settings are recommended.
  5. Install Cordova. Cordova is installed using the Node Package Manager (npm). Type the following in the command window to install:
    npm install -g cordova
  6. Test the Cordova install by typing:
    cordova --version

    If you see the version number, you have successfully installed Apache Cordova!

Install Java

The Android SDK needs the Java Development Kit (JDK) to be installed, version 1.7 or later. Note that the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) is not sufficient, you will need the JDK. To check if you have the JDK installed already, type this on the command line:

javac -version

If you do not have the JDK installed, proceed as follows:

  1. Download the recent version of Java SE JDK (SE = Standard Edition) from Oracle: www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/javase/downloads/. Click the Java SE Download to see the list of downloads. Get the “Windows x86” download if you have 32-bit Windows, and “Windows x64” if you have 64-bit Windows. If you do not know which version you have, find out using the Control Panel by selecting “System and Security” and then “System”, where you will find the “System type” saying if your Windows version is 32-bit or 64-bit.
  2. Go along and run the downloaded installer file. Using the default selections should be fine, but take a note of the directory in which you install the JDK. You will need to add this to the PATH in a later step below.
  3. Next, update your path to include the JDK. Open the Control Panel, click System and Security, click System, click Change settings, which will open the System Properties window. Select the Advancedtab, then click the Environment Variables button.
  4. In the list User variables select PATH and click the Edit button. (If there is no PATH entry in the list, click the New button to create one.)
  5. At the end of the field Variable value, add a semicolon followed by the path to the bin directory of the JDK install. Here is an example (note that this must be the actual path used for the install on your machine):
    ;C:\Program Files\Java\jdk1.8.0_11\bin

    An easy way to do this is to prepare the path to add in a text editor, then paste it at the end of the input field. When done click the OK button.

  6. Next add the JAVA_HOME variable if it is not present (and if it is in the list, you may need to update its value using the Edit button). Click the New button. In the field Variable name type:
    JAVA_HOME

    In the field Variable value enter the path to the directory where the JDK is installed, without the semicolon and the /bin subdirectory, for example:

    C:\Program Files\Java\jdk1.8.0_11

    Click the OK button.

  7. Click the OK button again to close the Environment Variables window.
  8. Now you are ready to test the install. Close any open command windows, and open a new command window and type:
    javac -version

    If you see a version number you are done with the JDK install!

Install the Android Tools

To install the tools needed to build Android app using Cordova you need the Android SDK Tools. The easiesy way to install these tools is to install Android Studio. Optionally you can install the command line tools only. Follow these steps to install Android Studio:

  1. Go to the Android Studio download page and download and install Android Studio for your platform. (If you would wish to go for only the SDK Tools, you can find download links to the command line tools at the end of the Android Studio download page.)
  2. Find the path of the Android SDK tools by consulting the sdkmanager documentation page. Check in your system that the files are actually there.
  3. Add the path of the SDK Tools (directories tools and platform-tools to the system PATH variable. Open the Control Panel, click System and Security, click System, click Change settings, click the Advancedtab, then click the Environment Variables button.
  4. In the list User variables select PATH and click the Edit button.
  5. At the end of the field Variable value, add a semicolon followed by the path to the tools and platform-tools directores of the Android SDK install. Here is an example of what to add (note that there are two paths in one line, separated by a semicolon):

    ;C:\Users\miki\AppData\Local\Android\android-sdk\tools;C:\Users\miki\AppData\Local\Android\android-sdk\platform-tools

    You can prepare the path in a text editor, copy it and paste at the end of the input field. Click the OKbutton when done.Please note that the exact path may differ in the latest download of the Android Studio/SDK. Consult the Android documentation page for the sdkmanager for further information.

  6. Next add the ANDROID_HOME environment variable in system settings in the same way that the JAVA_HOME variable was added above when installing Java. Set ANDROID_HOME to point to the root of the Android SDK folder, for example:
    C:\Users\miki\AppData\Local\Android\android-sdk
  7. Click the OK button again to close the Environment Variables window.
  8. Now test the install. Close any open command windows, open a new command window and type:
    adb version

    This should display the version of the Android Debug Bridge.

  9. As the final step, you may need to get the specific Android SDK version used by Cordova. This can be done using the sdkmanager command or by using the tools in Android Studio.

If you get stuck

If you get stuck, consult the documentation at the respective web sites for Cordova, Java, and Android. The Cordova documentation has a platform guide for Android. You are also welcome to ask for help at the Evothings Forum.

One thing to do is to inspect all the environment variables. You can do this from a command window (note that you have to open a new command window after updating environment variables for updated values to be available). This displays the system PATH:

echo %PATH%

Here is how to inspect the value of JAVA_HOME:

echo %JAVA_HOME%

The fun begins

Next step is to create and build a Cordova project. Go to the Cordova Guide to learn more.