Understand Visual Studio Tools for Apache Cordova

Recently I turned to Cordova for building a new version of my app, as I am a Visual Studio user, it’s great to get an official tools from Microsoft for Cordova.

Cordova is a tool for building web applications running in native shell. Due to the nature of web apps, and the effort make by Cordova team and its ecosystem, Cordova is also a great tool to build cross-platform apps.

Actually, Cordova also provide a way to develop web apps dedicated to a specific platform. Though that won’t be discussed in this post.

For building cross-platform web apps, refer to http://cordova.apache.org/docs/en/edge/guide_cli_index.md.html

After creating a Cordova project, a “www” folder will be created with some initial files. The major project usually goes here. And there’s also a “platforms” folder that holds the project files for each platforms.

However, once a specific platform is added to your Cordova project, Cordova will leave most of the files as they are. This means that you may actually open a specific platform folder as a project in your IDE, edit and debug them.

Though these “most of the files” does not include cross-platform contents, e.g. contents in folder “www”.

The situation for plugins is quite the same, after the installation of plugins, Cordova will not touch the files that have already been generated, even if they’ve been changed by you.

This is what’s going on with Cordova CLI, however, not Visual Studio Tools for Apache Cordova.

Let’s put the directory structures of original Cordova and VS Tools together and we’ll be able to understand the differences.

Cordova CLI
- project
  - platforms
    - wp8
      - www
  - plugins
  - www
  - config.xml

VS Tools
- project
  - bld
    - Debug
      - platforms
        - wp8
          - www
      - plugins
      - www
      - config.xml
  - plugins
  - config.xml

VS Tools treat the entire project folder as “www” except for some special ones for Cordova. But after all it’s a tool box for Cordova, what’s their connection?

Basically a project defined by Visual Studio Tools for Cordova is not a real Cordova project, but a project that this tool will manage to convert to Cordova projects based on your configuration.

So what you see in bld\Debug\ (or Release) folder is the actual Cordova project.

I mentioned that Cordova won’t touch most of the files once they are generated. This good, but sometimes it will bring problems (e.g. install then uninstall plugins). However, the way Visual Studio Tools use brings also problems, and maybe even more…?

For example the installation of plugins does not support variables, and editing native projects is really painful.

But hoping they will solve these problems soon in the future when it goes to RTM.

Checkout Visual Studio Tools for Apache Cordova (CTP3).

Windows Phone C++ Load System Dll Using LoadLibraryExW

I was trying to write a Windows Phone 8 app using undocumented API. @imbushuo told me that there was an example on xda-developer using complete Windows API on a store app, and it works great.

And then I found a better implementation from this post in Chinese (The approach is actually mentioned in a comment of the post in xda-developer). Though it’s missing some part.

Here is the core code of the implementation mentioned above:

#include "pch.h"

typedef struct _CLIENT_ID {
	PVOID UniqueProcess;
	PVOID UniqueThread;


typedef struct _MODULE_LIST_ENTRY {
	struct  _MODULE_LIST_ENTRY* Flink;
	struct  _MODULE_LIST_ENTRY* Blink;
	DWORD* baseAddress;


typedef struct _PEB_LDR_DATA {
	//    BYTE fill[0x1c]; x86
	ULONG Length;
	BOOLEAN Initialized;
	PVOID SsHandle;
	LIST_ENTRY InLoadOrderModuleList;
	LIST_ENTRY InMemoryOrderModuleList;
	MODULE_LIST_ENTRY* initModuleList;


typedef struct _PEB {
	//    BYTE fill[0x0c]; x86
	BYTE Reserved1[2];
	BYTE BeingDebugged;
	BYTE Reserved2[1];
	PVOID Reserved3[2];

} PEB;

typedef struct _TEB {
	//BYTE fill[0x30]; x86
	NT_TIB nt_tib;
	PVOID EnvironmentPointer;
	PVOID ActiveRpcHandle;
	PVOID ThreadLocalStoragePointer;
	PEB* currentPEB;
} TEB;

typedef HMODULE(*LoadLibraryEx)(
	LPCTSTR lpLibFileName,
	HANDLE hFile,
	DWORD dwFlags

int __cdecl main(::Platform::Array<::Platform::String^>^ args) {
	TEB* teb = NtCurrentTeb();
	HMODULE kernel = (HMODULE) teb->currentPEB->ldr->initModuleList->Flink->baseAddress;
	LoadLibraryEx LoadLibraryExW = (LoadLibraryEx) GetProcAddress(kernel, "LoadLibraryExW");

	// do your jobs...