Skip to main content

How to Communicate with a Portal Web Application

The PortalsPlugin provides useful features to aid in communication between your Web and Native applications. It is included in the Ionic Portals library by default and takes advantage of the Capacitor Plugin system.



Follow the Getting Started Guide to install the Ionic Portals library into your native mobile projects. The PortalsPlugin is automatically added to every instance of a Portal.


Install the Ionic Portals package from NPM into your web application.

npm install @ionic/portals

Initial Context

The Initial Context mechanism allows you to pass data to your web application from native so that it is available for when the web application initially loads.

Setting Initial Context

Initial context can be set during initialization:

let portal = Portal(
name: "maps",
startDir: "web",
initialContext: ["ic_example": "hello world"]

Or after:

var portal = Portal(name: "maps", startDir: "web")
portal.initialContext = ["ic_example": "hello world"]

Using Initial Context

To access the initial context set from the native application in your web application, import getInitialContext from @ionic/portals use the getInitialContext() function.

import { getInitialContext } from "@ionic/portals";

const initialContext = getInitialContext<{ ic_example: string }>();
// prints "hello world" in this example

Initial context is useful when using a Single Page Application (SPA) across multiple Portals in your application. The route to a specific section of the SPA can be passed in as initial context data. Your web application can then use it to load that section directly without need for a redirect. Check out our how-to guide.

Communicating via Pub/Sub

The Publish and Subscribe mechanism (pub/sub) relies on two parts that work together: PortalsPubSub and PortalsPlugin. PortalsPubSub is the class that manages a message bush to subscribe and publish messages to, while PortalsPlugin is the Capacitor plugin that exposes the functionality of PortalsPubSub to a Portal web application. By default, PortalsPlugin uses PortalsPubSub.shared for communication, but a custom instance of PortalsPubSub can be created and passed to the PortalsPlugin initializer to enable isolating events from other Portals.

In this example, foo and bar portals cannot see events published by the other and cannot listen for events published by the native application unless the events were published through the PortalsPubSub instance it was configured with:

extension PortalsPubSub {
static let foo = PortalsPubSub()
static let bar = PortalsPubSub()

extension Portal {
static let foo = Portal(name: "foo")
.adding(PortalsPlugin(pubsub: .foo))

static let bar = Portal(name: "bar")
.adding(PortalsPlugin(pubsub: .bar))

If foo and bar portals were configured without adding the custom PortalsPlugin instance, then they would both receive events through PortalsPubSub.shared.

Defining Subscribers

Subscribers listen for messages sent to a certain topic. They can be defined in your web application to listen for messages published from native, and vice versa.

To listen for a message published from the native side of a Portal, define a subscriber in your web application.

import { subscribe } from '@ionic/portals';

const portalSubscription = await subscribe({ topic: }, (result) => {

To listen for messages published from the web side of a Portal, define a subscriber in your native application.

import UIKit
import IonicPortals

class MyViewController: UIViewController {
var dismissCancellable: AnyCancellable?

override func viewDidLoad() {
dismissCancellable = PortalsPubSub.shared.publisher(for: "dismiss")
.data(as: String.self)
.filter { $0 == "cancel" || $0 == "success" }
.receive(on: DispatchQueue.main)
.sink { _ in self.dismiss(animated: true, completion: nil) }

import SwiftUI
import IonicPortals

struct CartView: View {
@State private var shouldDisplayCheckout = false

var body: some View {
VStack {
// Cart contents
Button("Checkout") {
shouldDisplayCheckout = true
.sheet(isPresented: $shouldDisplayCheckout) {
PortalView(portal: "checkout")
PortalsPubSub.shared.publisher(for: "dismiss")
.data(as: String.self)
.filter { $0 == "cancel" || $0 == "success" }
) { _ in
shouldDisplayCheckout = false

Publishing Messages

Publish messages to send data through a Portal to registered Subscribers.

From Web to iOS

To send a message from your web application to iOS or Android, use the Portals.publish() function.

import { publish } from '@ionic/portals';

publish({ topic: "dismiss", data: "success" });

From iOS to Web

To send messages from your native application to the web application, use the PortalsPubSub.publish() method.

PortalsPubSub.shared.publish("sunny" to: "weather")


The PortalsPlugin is used in the E-Commerce App demo.