Companion App Tabs Overview

The version number of the Intel® XDK you have installed on your system appears in the upper-right corner. See the Release Notes to learn about the latest version's new features and fixes. To install the latest release, either let the Intel XDK updater download the new release for you or download the latest release from xdk.intel.com.


Intel® XDK mobile IoT companion apps are hybrid HTML5 apps that run on Android*, Apple iOS* and Microsoft Windows* mobile devices. HTML5 apps are not limited to smart web pages viewed in a browser - you can package your HTML5 code and deploy it directly on a mobile device as a locally installed hybrid mobile app. This enables the use of the same distribution channels as for native mobile apps, in addition to the same app installation and launch experience.

NOTE: If you are just getting started with the Intel XDK and hybrid HTML5 mobile web apps, please continue reading this article for a quick overview.

Be sure to download and install the latest version of the Intel XDK for your Linux*, Microsoft Windows* or Apple OS X* development system. You will need to create a personal account for use with the Intel XDK cloud-based services (necessary for some test services) as part of the installation. There is no charge to download or use the Intel XDK.

Using the Intel XDK to Develop Mobile IoT Companion Apps

When you start a mobile IoT companion app in the Intel XDK you are presented with a series of tabs. These tabs provide access to a set of tools that help you develop, debug, test and build your HTML5 apps. After starting a companion app project, you can jump between the tabs as required:

A quick summary of each tab in a mobile companion app follows. If you are new to developing hybrid HTML5 mobile web apps, you should start by reading an Introduction to Developing Companion Apps with the Intel XDK and this article about building cross-platform apps with HTML5. There is also a short tutorial available to walk you through a typical end-to-end companion app workflow with the Intel XDK.

IMPORTANT: Intel XDK mobile IoT companion apps are Apache* Cordova* (aka PhoneGap*) hybrid HTML5 mobile web apps. Companion apps you build with the Intel XDK run in a WebView (embedded browser). Your mobile companion app can only do what the WebView + plugins provide. WebViews typically have less capability than a browser, except for the very useful feature where they can be extended via native-code Cordova plugins. Therefore, you can interpret the existence of a Cordova (and/or PhoneGap) plugin as an indication that the embedded WebView does not provide the needed function and a plugin is required for that function. Sometimes there is a pure JavaScript* solution, in which case, an equivalent function provided as a plugin is either expanding beyond the pure JS solution or is attempting to provide an alternative solution.

Projects Tab

Use this tab to change the active project, import an existing HTML5 application or create a new project from a template or sample. The currently active project is highlighted and is the project upon which all other tabs perform operations.

Before you build your Cordova mobile app, use this tab to add and manage its Cordova plugins, select build settings for each target platform, and specify icon and splash screen assets for each build target. You can also add or manage Bower* library packages. For details see the Projects Overview topic.

NOTE: The main entry point of your HTML5 mobile companion app must be an index.html file.

Develop Tab

From this tab you can edit files directly with the built-in Brackets* code editor or with your favorite code editor.

The "Web Services" section, in the lower-left corner of the Develop tab, provides easy access to a collection of third-party web (cloud) service APIs. To get started, see the Web Services Overview.

The list of services provided by the Intel XDK does not constitute an endorsement of these services by Intel, they are simply being provided as a convenience to you, the developer. You are under no obligation to use the services provided by this feature; you may use any web services that are appropriate for your app. Please contact your third-party web services provider(s) for information regarding service costs and licensing and for technical and programming help.

Simulate Tab

Check the functionality and layout of your hybrid companion app on a collection of simulated mobile views. Click the debug button on the toolbar (the "bug" icon) to open the Chrome* DevTools (CDT) and debug your mobile app's JavaScript* code, CSS rules and DOM elements.

The Simulate tab provides a basic simulation of a subset of the Apache Cordova* APIs. To get started, see the Debug and Test Overview.

Test Tab

NOTE: As of August 16, 2017, Intel App Preview has been retired and is no longer available in the respective mobile app stores; if you already have a copy of Intel App Preview on your test device it will continue to work, but you can no longer download it from a mobile store for new installations.

Build Tab

IMPORTANT: On July 10, 2017, the Intel XDK cloud-based build servers were retired. You can no longer build a Cordova mobile app using the Intel XDK directly, with any version of the Intel XDK. You will need to build your mobile app using either PhoneGap Build or Cordova CLI. See Export to PhoneGap* Build and Cordova* CLI for instructions on how to export and build your mobile app using these external tools.

The PhoneGap Build and Cordova CLI build processes package your mobile companion app so it can be submitted to the appropriate mobile app store and, ultimately, downloaded and installed onto mobile devices. The Intel XDK supports creating Cordova apps for the Android, Apple iOS and Windows platforms.

NOTE: The Intel XDK does not provide store submission services for your mobile app. You must submit your app to each mobile app store on your own. Each store has unique rules regarding developer keys and the conditions required to submit an app.

For more complete information about compiler optimizations, see our Optimization Notice.