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Creating Environment Specific Configurations

Platforms: iOS, Android

Many software development teams utilize different environments during the software development lifecycle. Configuration may differ between environments, such as bundle IDs, deep-link schemes, or icons and splash screens.

The Capacitor configuration file handles high-level options for Capacitor tooling and plugin configuration. iOS schemes and Android product flavors allow developers to provide differing app values for different environments. By combining the two, developers can use the Capacitor CLI to build apps for different environments.

This guide will walk you through setting up a QA environment configuration alongside the default environment configuration provided out-of-the-box. To demonstrate differences between each environment, the app name and bundle ID will differ between the two.

Prepare a Capacitor App

You will need a Capacitor app with both iOS and Android platforms added. If you have an existing Capacitor app with both platforms added, skip this section.

Depending on your preference, you can either add Capacitor to an existing web application or create a new Capacitor application with the Ionic Framework.

The Capacitor app must use TypeScript for configuration. This guide uses capacitor.config.ts to dynamically export different configurations.

Before adding any native platforms to the project, you must build the Capacitor App at least once.

npm run build

Once built, you can add the platforms.

npm install @capacitor/ios @capacitor/android
npx cap add ios
npx cap add android

Setup a new iOS scheme

Create a new Xcode target

Start by opening the native iOS project in Xcode: npx cap open ios.

  1. Go to the project’s settings in the Project Navigator panel. Under the Targets section, right-click the “App” target and select Duplicate to copy the existing target.
  2. Click the new “App copy” target and press the Enter key to rename it. Set the target’s name to “App QA”.

This process created an additional “App copy” scheme and added a new file called App copy-Info.plist.

You can find additional information on iOS targets at this link.

Rename the new scheme and Plist file

  1. Select Manage Schemes… from the Scheme menu.
  2. Find the “App copy” scheme and press the Enter key to rename it. Set the name to “App QA” and close the dialog.
  3. Find the “App copy-Info” file in the Project Navigator panel and press the Enter key to rename it. Set the file’s name to “App QA-Info.plist”.
  4. Return to the project’s settings. Ensuring that the “App QA” target is selected, open the Build Settings section. Scroll down to Packaging and change the Info.plist File entry to “App QA-Info.plist”.

The iOS project now has two runnable schemes: “App” and “App QA”. Capacitor’s configuration file allows you to supply which scheme to build during the run command.

You can find additional information on iOS schemes at this link.

Set environment-specific values

Return to the General portion of the project’s settings. Ensure you have the “App QA” target selected and change the Display Name and Bundle Identifier.

Make sure these values are different than what exists for the default “App” target. Target-specific values get stored in the target’s associated Info.plist file. Following this guide, that file is App QA-Info.plist.

Update the Podfile and sync the App

Exit Xcode; you can use your preferred IDE going forward.

Open /ios/App/Podfile and duplicate the code block for the “App” target, replacing “App” with “App QA” for the duplicate entry like so:

...snip...
target 'App' do
  capacitor_pods
  # Add your Pods here
end

target 'App QA' do
  capacitor_pods
  # Add your Pods here
end

Run npx cap sync to sync plugins with the “App QA” target.

Add iOS-specific Capacitor configuration

With the target and scheme for the QA environment created, the Capacitor configuration needs to be updated to use them.

Add the property below to the configuration object in capacitor.config.ts:

ios: {
  scheme: 'App QA',
}

The scheme property tells Capacitor which iOS scheme to use for the run command. Test this out; run npx cap run ios and you’ll see that the app name is different.

Setup Android product flavors

Modify the App’s Gradle file

Android projects contain multiple build.gradle files; the one to modify to set up product flavors resides in the /android/app folder.

Open /android/app/build.gradle and add the following code within the android block:

flavorDimensions "environment"
productFlavors {
  dev {
      dimension "environment"
      manifestPlaceholders = [displayName:"My App"]
  }
  qa {
      dimension "environment"
      applicationIdSuffix ".qa"
      manifestPlaceholders = [displayName:"My App - QA"]
  }
}

This code requires some explanation:

  1. Android does not provide a “default” flavor. In this guide, the non-QA environment is called “dev”.
  2. applicationIdSuffix will append .qa to the end of the bundle ID.
  3. manifestPlaceholders are values that are usable in AndroidManifest.xml.

Note: You are free to modify the bundle ID and display name values to your liking.

You can find additional information on Android product flavors at this link.

Update the Android manifest

In the last section, you created a placeholder, displayName. Open AndroidManifest.xml and change the value of android:label to ${displayName} within the application and activity nodes.

<application
  ...snip...
  android:label="${displayName}">

  <activity
    ...snip...
    android:label="${displayName}">

Add Android-specific Capacitor configuration

Like iOS, you must update the Capacitor configuration to use the QA product flavor.

Add the property below to the configuration object in capacitor.config.ts:

android: {
   flavor: "qa",
 },

Test this out; run npx cap run android and you’ll see that the app name is different.

Dynamically build for different environments

Export environment-specific Capacitor configuration

All the pieces in place, now capacitor.config.ts can be written such that it exports a different configuration object based on a particular value.

Open capacitor.config.ts and modify the code like so:

import { CapacitorConfig } from '@capacitor/cli';

let config: CapacitorConfig;

const baseConfig: CapacitorConfig = {
  appId: 'io.ionic.starter',
  appName: 'My App',
  webDir: 'build',
  bundledWebRuntime: false,
};

switch (process.env.NODE_ENV) {
  case 'qa':
    config = {
      ...baseConfig,
      ios: {
        scheme: 'App QA',
      },
      android: {
        flavor: 'qa',
      },
    };
    break;
  default:
    config = {
      ...baseConfig,
      ios: {
        scheme: 'App',
      },
      android: {
        flavor: 'dev',
      },
    };
    break;
}

export default config;

When NODE_ENV equals qa, Capacitor will use configuration pointing to the “App QA” scheme and “qa” product flavor. Otherwise, Capacitor uses configuration pointing to the “App” scheme and the “dev” product flavor.

Run the App for different environments

You can run a build using the QA environment-specific configuration by prepending NODE_ENV=qa to the npx cap copy and npx cap run commands.

NODE_ENV=qa npx cap copy
NODE_ENV=qa npx cap run ios     #NODE_ENV=qa npx cap run android

To run a build using the “default” environment-specific configuration, use the Capacitor commands as you would normally.

npx cap copy
npx cap run ios     #npx cap run android

Go ahead and test it out! If you’ve followed the guide correctly, you’ll be able to run builds for both environments and see that the app name differs depending on the environment-specific configuration used.

Additional environments and configuration options

Use the information provided in this guide as a foundation to build upon. The Capacitor CLI has no limitation on how many schemes or product flavors can be used, and you can configure each one as deep as iOS and Android allow you to. You can also provide different environment-specific configuration values for Capacitor plugins! The sky’s the limit.

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