Getting started with gradle

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Gradle is an open-source, general-purpose build tool. It is popular in the Java community and is the preferred build tool for Android.

Highlighted Gradle features

  • Declarative build scripts are code written in Groovy or Kotlin.
  • Lots of core and community plugins which use a flexible, convention-based approach
  • Incremental builds such that tasks whose dependencies who haven't changed aren't rerun.
  • Built-in dependency resolution for Maven and Ivy. Contributed plugins provide dependency resolution from other repositories such as npm.
  • First-class multi-project builds.
  • Integration with other build tools like Maven, Ant and others.
  • Build Scans that increase developers' the ability to collaborate on and optimize Gradle builds.

More information

If you want to learn more about Gradle features can look at the Overview part of the Gradle User Guide.

If you want to try Gradle can check out the guides here. You can walk through a Java quickstart guide, learn how use Gradle for the first time, and migrate from another build tool.

Gradle Installation

Requirements: Installed Java JDK or JRE (version 7 or higher for Gradle 3.x version)

Installation steps:

  1. Download Gradle distribution from the official web site
  2. Unpack the ZIP
  3. Add the GRADLE_HOME environment variable. This variable should point to the unpacked files from the previous step.
  4. Add GRADLE_HOME/bin to your PATH environment variable, so you can run Gradle from the command line interface (CLI)
  5. Test your Gradle installation by typing gradle -v in the CLI. The output should contain the installed Gradle version and the current Gradle configuration details

More information can be found in the official user guide

Hello World

Gradle tasks can be written using Groovy code from inside a projects build.gradle file. These tasks can then be executed using > gradle [taskname] at the terminal or by executing the task from within an IDE such as Eclipse.

To create the Hello World example in gradle we must define a task that will print a string to the console using Groovy. We will use Groovy's printLn to call Java's System.out.printLn method to print the text to the console.


task hello {
    doLast {
        println 'Hello world!'

We can then execute this task by using > gradle hello or > gradle -q hello . The -q is used to suppress gradle log messages so that only the output of the task will be shown.

Output of > gradle -q hello :

> gradle -q hello
Hello world!

Install Gradle plugin for Eclipse

Here are the steps required to install Gradle plugin in Eclipse:

  1. Open Eclipse and go to Help -> Eclipse Marketplace
  2. In the search bar, enter buildship and hit enter
  3. Select "Buildship Gradle Integration 1.0" and click Install
  4. In the next window, click Confirm
  5. Then, accept the terms and license of agreement, then click Finish
  6. After installation, Eclipse will need to restart, click Yes

Installation with homebrew on OS X / macOS

Users of homebrew can install gradle by running

brew install gradle

Installing with SdkMan

Users of SdkMan can install Gradle by running:

sdk install gradle

Install specific version

sdk list gradle
sdk install gradle 2.14

Switch versions

sdk use gradle 2.12

More about tasks

First of all: operator << (leftShift) is equivalent of doLast {closure} . From gradle 3.2 it is deprecated. All the task code are writing in a build.gradle.

A task represents some atomic piece of work which a build performs. This might be compiling some classes, creating a JAR, generating Javadoc, or publishing some archives to a repository.

Gradle supports two big types of tasks: simple and enhanced.

Let's observe some task definition styles:

task hello {
       //some code

Or the:

task(hello) {
       //some code

This tasks above are equivalents. Also, you can provide some extensions to the task, such as: dependsOn ,mustRunAfter , type etc. You can extend task by adding actions after task definition, like this:

task hello {
       println 'Inside task'
hello.doLast {
    println 'added code'

When we'll execute this we got:

> gradle -q hello
    Inside task
    added code

Questions about task dependencies and ordering examined here

Let's talk about two big types of task.


Tasks which we define with an action closure:

    task hello {
        println "Hello from a simple task"


Enhanced it is a task with a preconfigured behavior. All plugins that you using in your project are the extended, or the enhanced tasks. Let's create ours and you will understand how it works:

task hello(type: HelloTask)

class HelloTask extends DefaultTask {
    def greet() {
        println 'hello from our custom task'

Also, we can pass parameters to our task, like this:

class HelloTask extends DefaultTask {
    String greeting = "This is default greeting"
    def greet() {
        println greeting

And from now on we can rewrite our task like so:

   //this is our old task definition style
task oldHello(type: HelloTask) 
   //this is our new task definition style     
task newHello(type: HelloTask) {
    greeting = 'This is not default greeting!'

When we'll execute this we got:

> gradle -q oldHello
This is default greeting

> gradle -q newHello
This is not default greeting!

All questions about development gradle plugins onto official site


283 Contributors: 15
Monday, March 27, 2017
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