Building from Source

NOTE If you want to run it on your desktop, you can directly download desktop binaries here and if you want it for Android/iOS you can get from the play/appstore. This is only for those who want to run from source.

Note: If you are building from source, you are mostly on your own. I have very limited time to debug environment differences/package differences between what I have and what you may have. I’m not a nodejs/grunt etc expert and stuff seems to change all the time.

Version note: The code is compiled using the following versions of tools. If you are using newer versions of ionic the code may not compile - I don’t have the time to upgrade yet. Finally, if you choose to go the source route, I expect you to spend a lot of time yourself debugging first before you create an issue. Even if you do create an issue, I have very limited bandwidth to debug source compilation issues for you. Thanks.

Output of ionic info


Ionic CLI         : 6.9.3 (/Users/pp/.nvm/versions/node/v12.17.0/lib/node_modules/@ionic/cli)
Ionic Framework   : unknown
@ionic/v1-toolkit : 1.0.22


 Cordova CLI       : 9.0.0 (cordova-lib@9.0.1)
 Cordova Platforms : android 9.0.0, ios 5.1.1
 Cordova Plugins   : cordova-plugin-ionic-keyboard 2.2.0, (and 31 other plugins)


 cordova-res : 0.15.1
 native-run  : not installed


 Android SDK Tools : 26.1.1 (/Users/pp/Library/Android/sdk)
 ios-deploy        : 1.10.0
 ios-sim           : 8.0.2
 NodeJS            : v12.17.0 (/Users/pp/.nvm/versions/node/v12.17.0/bin/node)
 npm               : 2.15.12
 OS                : macOS Catalina
 Xcode             : Xcode 12.3 Build version 12C33

Install Dependencies - needed for all platforms

Install NodeJS

I use nvm to install NodeJS. It allows you to easily switch node versions. Follow their instructions and use the same node major version you see above (12.x). Note that it is entirely possible another version of node works. This is the only one I’ve tested with. I don’t think minot version changes will cause issues (example, 12.18 etc.).

Install cordova and ionic

npm install -g cordova@9.0.0 @ionic/cli
npm install @ionic/v1-toolkit --save-dev
npm install -g cordova-res
gem install cocoapods

If you don’t have gem that means you need to install ruby. Installing ruby installs gobs of nonsense. Too bad. (Note you may need to do sudo depending on how your system is set up. It’s better you don’t, but if you must, well, you must)

Download zmNinja

git clone --depth 1

Add some more build deps:

npm install -g gulp
npm install node-sass
npm install async
npm install jshint

Prepare for a build

cd zmNinja
npm install
ionic cordova platform add android (or ios)
cordova prepare

Making an iOS build

Note: You need to be doing this on a mac, with Xcode and the SDK installed. You also need to have your developer certificates/etc. (I am not going to detail this out - there are many internet resources on this)

(Harder) If you need picture notification support in push

As of Aug 2020, cordova-ios does not support multiple targets, nor does it support automatic building of notification extensions. So there is manual work to be done:

  • Open up platforms/ios/zmNinja.workspace in XCode

  • Go to File->Workspace Settings and select Legacy Build System

  • Go to Target->zmNinja->Build Settings and set “Swift Language Version” to Swift 4

  • Go to File->New->Target->Notification Service Extension, select Objective C

  • In the “Product Name” put in zmNinjaNotification (your BundleID should now read com.pliablepixels.zmninja-pro.zmNinjaNotification)

  • Say “Yes” to “Activate zmNinjaNotification scheme?” popup

  • Now go to zmNinjaNotification target and make version and build same as zmNinja

  • Now in XCode Targets, select zmNinjaNotification, and make sure you select a Team and make sure Deployment Target is 11 or above

  • Change Deployment target to 11 or above (same as zmNinja target)

  • cp etc/NotificationService.m platforms/ios/zmNinjaNotification/

  • Please make sure you select the right development teams for both zmNinja and zmNinjaNotification so the app can be signed

Starting 1.5.0, zmNinja uses the cordova-plugin-firebasex library for push notifications. The older cordova-push-plugin is no longer supported by the author. If you are facing compilation issues that relate to this plugin, please make sure you read it’s install section, especially around outdated pods et. al.

You can now do However, after you build, you will have to go back to XCode after the build to make the following changes:

  1. Sync notification version with app version

  2. Change notification bundle ID back to com.pliablepixels.zmninja-pro.zmNinjaNotification (cordova removes the last word)

(Easier) If you don’t need picture notification support in push

There are a few steps you need to take to get the iOS build working for the first time. If you don’t do this, you may get a compilation error that says ld: library not found for -lGoogleToolboxForMac

cd platforms/ios
pod install

This does not produce an iOS ready ipa. What you need to do then is to open platforms/ios/zmNinja.xcworkspace in Xcode, and run.

To compile a debug build for iOS from command line, from zmNinja project root: First edit ./build-auto.json and change the developmentTeam id to yours. Then:


To compile using XCode, open platforms/ios/zmNinja.xcworkspace - You need to use “Legacy Build” system if you are on XCode 10+. You can change this in XCode File->Workspace Settings and then build usual. Also switch to the Capabilities tab and make sure “Remote Notifications” is on in Background Modes and in iCloud section, Key-Value storage is enabled. If you see a “Fix issue” there, clicking on that button resolves everything.

Making an Android build

Note that you need the Android SDK installed and configured properly for this to work.

From the zmNinja project root:

./ --debug (or --release)

If this complains of missing SDKs, you need to install the SDK version it requests This should produce an APK file. To install it on your phone over adb, you’d do something like

adb install -r debug_files/android-debug.apk #if you did --debug
adb install -r release_files/zmNinja.apk #if you did --release

Making a desktop build

I use electron to build the desktop app.

For versions 1.3.018 and beyond

I’ve migrated to using electron-builder to automate the build process better.

Make sure you have all the dependencies

Typically, just running

npm install

Should have installed everything. Validate by checking you have electron installed by invoking it on the command line

You now have the following options:

npm run dist-all # builds linux, mac and windows packages
npm run dist-mac # only builds mac packages
npm run dist-lin # only builds linux packages (32bit, 64bit, arm)
npm run dist-win # only builds win packages (32bit, 64bit)

Your packages will be created in the dist folder


Lots of things can go wrong.

  • Please make sure you don’t post issues about why your own build is not working - please figure it out

  • Look carefully at error messages