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Capacitor Android Plugin Guide

Building Capacitor plugins for Android involves writing Java or Kotlin to interface with Android SDKs.

Getting Started

To get started, first generate a plugin as shown in the Getting Started section of the Plugin guide.

Next, open my-plugin/android/ in Android Studio. You then want to navigate to the .java file for your plugin, which changes depending on the Plugin ID and Plugin Class Name you used when creating the plugin.

For example, for a plugin with the ID com.domain.myplugin and the Plugin Class Name MyPlugin, you would find the .java file at android/src/main/java/com/domain/myplugin/MyPlugin.java.

Using Kotlin

Capacitor uses Java by default but you can use Kotlin instead, if you prefer.

After generating a plugin, right click the Java plugin class in Android Studio and select the “Convert Java file to Kotlin file” option from the menu. Android Studio will walk you through configuring the project for Kotlin support. Once this is completed, right click the Java class again and re-select the conversion option to convert it to a Kotlin class.

Plugin Basics

A Capacitor plugin for Android is a simple Java class that extends com.getcapacitor.Plugin and has a @CapacitorPlugin() annotation. It has some methods with @PluginMethod() annotation that will be callable from JavaScript.

Once your plugin is generated, you can start editing it by opening the file with the Plugin class name you choose on the generator.

Simple Example

In the generated example, there is a simple echo plugin with an echo function that simply returns a value that it was given.

This example demonstrates a couple core components of Capacitor plugins: receiving data from a Plugin Call, and returning data back to the caller.

EchoPlugin.java

package android.plugin.test;

import com.getcapacitor.JSObject;
import com.getcapacitor.Plugin;
import com.getcapacitor.PluginCall;
import com.getcapacitor.PluginMethod;
import com.getcapacitor.annotation.CapacitorPlugin;

@CapacitorPlugin(name = "Echo")
public class EchoPlugin extends Plugin {

    @PluginMethod()
    public void echo(PluginCall call) {
        String value = call.getString("value");

        JSObject ret = new JSObject();
        ret.put("value", value);
        call.resolve(ret);
    }
}

Accessing Called Data

Each plugin method receives an instance of com.getcapacitor.PluginCall containing all the information of the plugin method invocation from the client.

A client can send any data that can be JSON serialized, such as numbers, text, booleans, objects, and arrays. This data is accessible on the getData field of the call instance, or by using convenience methods such as getString or getObject.

For example, here is how you’d get data passed to your method:

@PluginMethod()
public void storeContact(PluginCall call) {
  String name = call.getString("yourName", "default name");
  JSObject address = call.getObject("address", new JSObject());
  boolean isAwesome = call.getBoolean("isAwesome", false);

  if (!call.getData().has("id")) {
    call.reject("Must provide an id");
    return;
  }
  // ...

  call.resolve();
}

Notice the various ways data can be accessed on the PluginCall instance, including how to check for a key using getData‘s has method.

Returning Data Back

A plugin call can either succeed or fail. Plugin calls borrow method names from JavaScript promises: call resolve() to indicate success (optionally returning data) and use reject() to indicate failure with an error message.

The resolve() method of PluginCall takes a JSObject and supports JSON-serializable data types. Here’s an example of returning data back to the client:

JSObject ret = new JSObject();
ret.put("added", true);
JSObject info = new JSObject();
info.put("id", "unique-id-1234");
ret.put("info", info);
call.resolve(ret);

To fail, or reject a call, use call.reject, passing an error string and optionally an error code and Exception instance

call.reject(exception.getLocalizedMessage(), null, exception);

Permissions

If your plugin has functionality on Android that requires permissions from the end user, then you will need to implement the permissions pattern.

Before following this section, make sure you’ve set up your permission aliases and status interfaces. If you haven’t, see the Permissions section in the Web guide.

Annotation Changes

Still using @NativePlugin? See the upgrade guide to switch to @CapacitorPlugin.

 @CapacitorPlugin(
     name = "FooBar",
+    permissions = {
+        @Permission(
+            alias = "camera",
+            strings = { Manifest.permission.CAMERA }
+        ),
+        @Permission(
+            alias = "storage",
+            strings = {
+                Manifest.permission.READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE,
+                Manifest.permission.WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE
+            }
+        )
+    }
 )
 public class FooBarPlugin extends Plugin {
     ...

Add the permissions attribute in the @CapacitorPlugin annotation, which is an array of one or more @Permission annotations. Each @Permission annotation contains zero or more Android permission strings and a short alias describing the purpose.

Group permission strings in each @Permission by the distinct pieces of functionality of your plugin.If your plugin requires permissions in other platforms but not Android, then define the permission with the same alias but an empty array for strings. This causes the result of the permission request to automatically return as ‘granted’ for that permission alias.

@Permission(
    alias = "notifications",
    strings = {}
)

Implementing Permission Requests

By defining permissions in your @CapacitorPlugin annotation, the checkPermissions() and requestPermissions() methods should be fully functional. App developers will be able to manually request permissions as needed. However, it is considered best practice to wrap plugin functionality with automatic permission requests as well.

Permission Callback

Create a void method with a single PluginCall parameter and annotate it with @PermissionCallback, then pass the name of the method as a string in the permission request call. The callback will run after the completion of the permission request.

@PluginMethod()
public void takePhoto(PluginCall call) {
  if (getPermissionState("camera") != PermissionState.GRANTED) {
    requestPermissionForAlias("camera", call, "cameraPermsCallback");
  } else {
    loadCamera(call);
  }
}

@PermissionCallback
private void cameraPermsCallback(PluginCall call) {
  if (getPermissionState("camera") == PermissionState.GRANTED) {
    loadCamera(call);
  } else {
    call.reject("Permission is required to take a picture");
  }
}

Initiating a Permission Request

Permission requests are initiated by calling one of the request helper methods.

For a single alias requestPermissionForAlias may be used. Multiple aliases can be provided to requestPermissionForAliases. Use requestAllPermissions to request all permissions defined in the plugin annotation.

 @PluginMethod()
 public void takePhoto(PluginCall call) {
   if (!hasRequiredPermissions()) {
+    requestAllPermissions(call, "cameraPermsCallback");
   } else {
     loadCamera(call);
   }
 }

 @PermissionCallback
 private void cameraPermsCallback(PluginCall call) {
   ...
 }

Manifest

Place any required install-time permissions in the AndroidManifest.xml of the plugin. Do not add runtime permissions (permissions that prompts users to accept). These should be added to the manifest of the Capacitor app instead, and your plugin should document any required runtime permissions.

  <manifest xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
      package="com.mycompany.plugins.network">
+     <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.ACCESS_NETWORK_STATE" />
  </manifest>

Error Handling

Unavailable

This error can be thrown to indicate that the functionality can’t be used right now, usually because it requires a newer Android API version.

@PluginMethod
public void methodThatUsesNewAndroidAPI(PluginCall call) {
    if (Build.VERSION.SDK_INT >= Build.VERSION_CODES.O) {
        // TODO implementation
    } else {
        call.unavailable('Not available on Android API 25 or earlier.');
    }
}

It is recommended to gracefully degrade the experience with older APIs as much as possible. Use unavailable sparingly.

Unimplemented

Use this error to indicate that a method can’t be implemented for Android.

@PluginMethod
public void methodThatRequiresIOS(PluginCall call) {
    call.unimplemented('Not implemented on Android.');
}

Presenting Native Screens

To present a Native Screen over the Capacitor screen we will use Android’s Intents. Intents allow you to start an activity from your app, or from another app. See Common Intents

Intents without Result(s)

Most times you just want to present the native Activity, in this case you can just trigger the relevant action.

Intent intent = new Intent(Intent.ACTION_VIEW);
getActivity().startActivity(intent);

Intents with Result(s)

Sometimes when you launch an Intent, you expect some result back. In that case you want to use startActivityForResult.

Create a callback method to handle the result of the launched activity with a PluginCall and ActivityResult parameter, and annotate it with @ActivityCallback. Pass the name of this method to startActivityForResult and it will run when the started activity is finished.

@CapacitorPlugin()
class ImagePicker extends Plugin {

  @PluginMethod()
  public void pickImage(PluginCall call) {
    Intent intent = new Intent(Intent.ACTION_PICK);
    intent.setType("image/*");

    // Start the Activity for result using the name of the callback method
    startActivityForResult(call, intent, "pickImageResult");
  }

  @ActivityCallback
  private void pickImageResult(PluginCall call, ActivityResult result) {
    if (call == null) {
      return;
    }

    // Do something with the result data
  }
}

Plugin Events

Plugins can emit their own events that you can listen by attaching a listener to the plugin object like this:

import { MyPlugin } from 'my-plugin';

MyPlugin.addListener('myPluginEvent', (info: any) => {
  console.log('myPluginEvent was fired');
});

To emit the event from the Java plugin class:

JSObject ret = new JSObject();
ret.put("value", "some value");
notifyListeners("myPluginEvent", ret);

To remove a listener from the plugin object:

import { MyPlugin } from 'my-plugin';

const myPluginEventListener = MyPlugin.addListener(
  'myPluginEvent',
  (info: any) => {
    console.log('myPluginEvent was fired');
  },
);

myPluginEventListener.remove();

It is also possible to trigger global events on window. See the docs for triggerJSEvent.

Override navigation

Capacitor plugins can override the webview navigation. For that the plugin can override public Boolean shouldOverrideLoad(Uri url) method. Returning true causes the WebView to abort loading the URL. Returning false causes the WebView to continue loading the URL. Returning null will defer to the default Capacitor policy.

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