Monaca Development Overview

What is Monaca?

Monaca is a development environment for smartphone and tablet applications provided by Asial Corporation. Monaca does not only provide you with a development environment at your fingertips but also allows anyone to be able to develop smartphone applications easily.

Monaca makes HTML5 hybrid mobile app development with PhoneGap/Cordova simple and easy. Monaca is the most open hybrid app development platform available and ready to be immediately plugged into your existing workflow and development environment. With the Cloud IDE, CLI, debugger and remote online build, everything you need for developing hubrid apps is here.

Why to use Monaca?

Monaca's top 3 benefits are:

  • Cloud-empowered development: Our tools are designed to use the cloud to supercharge your app development in two ways. The complete cloud development environment gives you flexibility with no setup required. The cloud-synced local development enables you to use your own environment but enjoy features like device live-sync and remote build. It’s the best of both worlds.

  • Framework agnostic: Our open source Onsen Framework is tightly integrated with the Monaca tools. However, you can use Monaca with any JavaScript frameworks. We support Angular 1, 2+, React and Vue.js but you can also bring your own favorite framework. There are many templates ready to use, so you can get started immediately.

  • Mix-and-match as you like: We’ve got you covered all the way from design, app development, backend development, testing and debugging to build and distribution. Monaca can be used as a whole or a piece, working with your favorite tools like Sublime Text or Git. Just pick what you need. We will seamlessly plug into your workflow.

Monaca development tools

For your flexibility and convenience during the app development process, Monaca provides four different development environments as shown in the following subsections.

Monaca Cloud IDE

Monaca Cloud IDE is a browser-based development environment. Right from your web browser, all your Cordova development can be done without any setup. With the Cordova IDE, debugger and remote build, we've got everything you need in one place.

Monaca Cloud IDE provides a browser-based development environment as a service. Right from your web browser, all your Cordova development can be done without any setup. Along with the Monaca Debugger, Live Preview (built-in function in the Monaca Cloud IDE) allows you to easily check the progress of your app during development. Noticeably, there are neither Cordova plugins nor native work in the Live Preview. Therefore, an app that requires those plugins and functions can't be previewed properly.

Monaca Localkit

Monaca Localkit is a local environment development support tool offered through our app development platform Monaca. You can achieve better security and peace of mind from your own app development environment by combining existing tools such as code editors and version management system with the versatile development support capabilities of Monaca. With the Monaca Localkit, Monaca users are able to setup their preferred development environment on a local PC. To learn more about the Monaca Localkit, check out its documentation.

Monaca CLI

Monaca CLI provides a command line interface to use the Monaca Cloud. It features the debugger connection, inspector integration, project creation and remote building. You can also import projects that exist in the cloud when you want to switch your environment to local. To learn more about the Monaca CLI, check out its documentation.

Monaca Debugger

On top of the flexibility in the development environment, Monaca also provides high development efficiency by using the Monaca Debugger. Monaca Debugger is an application used to test and debug your Monaca applications on real devices without building the applications during the development. It needs to be installed on your mobile device. The app will automatically sync all your development projects and run them without the build process. To learn more about the Monaca Debugger, check out its documentation.

Here is a table summarizing the debugging options between Monaca Debugger and Monaca development tools. For more information, please refer to Debugging Monaca Apps.

Monaca Cloud IDE

Monaca CLI/Monaca Localkit


Internet connection

Internet connection and pairing

Monaca debug panel

You can use this debug option whether you have a Mac/Windows and your device can either be an iOS or Android.

Not available

USB Debugging

If you have an iOS device, you need a Mac because Safari (Safari remote debugging) is only available on Mac. If you have an Android device, you can use either a Mac or a Windows as long as you have a Chrome Browser (Chrome DevTools).

Monaca Power Plugins

Power up your Cordova app. The Resource Encryption Plugin provides extra protection for your app. In-App Updater makes it easy to update without redeployment to the App Store. Additionally, In-App-Purchase, Secure Storage and Secure SQL Plugin and more are available. To learn more about the Monaca Power Plugins, check out the documentation.

Monaca subscription plans

Monaca provides various account types to match with your needs ranging from free to enterprise plan. After registration, a 14-day free trial will start. For detailed information of Monaca account types and their usage, please refer to Monaca Pricing.

If you use an activation code:

  • If you want to upgrade your plan or extend the expiration date, please

    contact us with the preferred plan name and term of months.

  • On the expiration date, your plan will be switched to free automatically.

Characteristics of hybrid apps

  • The apps consist of the web and native characteristics. (See the picture below)

  • Regardless of the operating system, hybrid apps run on a browser component (cross-platform support). In other words, they can run on iOS, Android, and other supported platforms since they run on WebView component of those platforms. Therefore, one source code can run on multiple supported platforms.

Required knowledge for hybrid app development:

  • HTML and CSS for UI (User Interface) design

  • JavaScript for implementing the app

  • Cordova plugins for accessing the native functions of a device and additional plugins

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