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What is Gradle? A Beginners Guide

What is Gradle? A Beginners Guide

Being a Java developer, if you are looking for performance and versatility in a build automation tool, Gradle is the perfect option for you. Gradle is a building automation tool, let’s have a look at what it means. To cut a long story short, it refers to a type of distributed system that is used to combine various components of software to make a new centralized system. This tool covers various aspects of the development process of the application, and Gradle is one of them. Let’s begin our journey of learning about the basics of Gradle.

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Topics to be covered:

What is Gradle?

Introduction to Gradle

Gradle in Java is an open-source build automation system that is widely used in the development world to compile, build, and package applications. It provides a flexible and customizable platform for building complex software projects, making it a popular choice for developers.

  • Gradle operates on the concept of a build script, which is written in a domain-specific language (DSL) based on Groovy (A Java platform-based programming language).
  • This build script defines the tasks and dependencies required for the build process, allowing developers to specify the steps necessary to go from source code to a deployable artifact.
  • Gradle can handle multiple projects and dependencies at the same time. This makes it easy to manage the build process for complex projects with many inter-dependencies between components.
  • Gradle can also be used to automate tasks such as testing, deployment, and continuous integration.
  • Gradle also provides a rich plugin system that allows developers to extend its functionality and integrate it with other tools and systems.

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Useful Gradle Commands

There are various types of commands in Gradle. These commands can be used to perform various tasks, from compiling your code to running tests and deploying your application. Here are ten of the most useful Gradle commands that every developer should be familiar with:

gradle build

This command in Gradle is used to compile your code, run tests, and package your application into a deployable artifact. The build task is the default task that is executed when you run Gradle without specifying any task, so this is the most commonly used command.

gradle clean

It is used to remove all generated files and artifacts from the build directory. Running this command before a build is a good practice, as it ensures that the build process starts with a clean slate and doesn’t carry over any stale or outdated files.

gradle assemble

By using this command you can package your application into a deployable artifact, such as a JAR or WAR file. Unlike the build task, this task does not run tests or perform any other build-related tasks, making it a faster option for creating a package for deployment.

gradle test

This one runs all of your application’s tests. It is a good practice to run tests regularly during the development process to ensure that changes to your code do not break existing functionality.

gradle check

We use the check command to run all of the checks defined in your Gradle build script. These checks can include tasks like code quality checks, coding style checks, and dependency management checks.

gradle dependencies

It displays the dependencies of your project, including the versions of libraries and other components that your project depends on. This can be useful for troubleshooting build issues or for understanding the dependencies of your project.

gradle run

This Gradle command is used to run a specific main class in your application. This can be useful for quickly testing changes to your code without going through the full build and deployment process.

gradle install

This command will install your application’s artifact in the local repository. This can be useful for testing your application against a local installation, or for making the artifact available to other projects that depend on it.

gradle publish

Publish command in Gradle is used to publish your application’s artifact to a remote repository, such as a Maven repository. This makes the artifact available to other developers or builds processes that need to depend on it.

gradle wrapper

Wrapper is used to generate a Gradle wrapper for your project. The Gradle wrapper is a script that can be used to download and run a specific version of Gradle, ensuring that all developers on a project are using the same version of the build tool.

Note – To get a list of all tasks that are available in your project, run the “gradle task” command.

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Features of Gradle

Features of Gradle

Gradle is a feature-rich and very popular tool that offers a wide range of advanced features for modern software development. With its multi-language support, incremental builds, dependency management, build cache, plugins, and advanced reporting, Gradle is an excellent choice for software developers who are looking for a flexible and efficient build automation tool. Check out the detailed description in the below-mentioned pointers.

  • Multi-language Support: In the beginning, Gradle was supported by Java, but with various updates, popular programming languages like C++, Scala, Ruby, and many more had been cluttered with Java. This makes Gradle a versatile tool that can be used for a variety of software development projects.
  • Dependency Management: Gradle offers a comprehensive dependency management system that makes it easy for developers to manage the dependencies of their projects. The tool automatically resolves and downloads the necessary dependencies, reducing the risk of compatibility issues and minimizing the time required for manual configuration.
  • Incremental Builds: Gradle allows developers to perform incremental builds, which in simple words means that only the parts of the project that have changed are recompiled. This significantly speeds up the build process, especially for large projects.
  • Build Cache: Gradle allows developers to cache build outputs and reuse them in subsequent builds. This can significantly reduce build times and improve the overall efficiency of the build process.
  • Wide Range of Plugins: Gradle provides additional functionality and integration with other tools. These plugins can be easily installed and used within your project, making it simple to extend the functionality of Gradle to meet the specific needs of your project.
  • Highly Customizable: Gradle is highly customizable, and developers can extend its functionality by writing custom plugins or by using existing plugins from the Gradle plugin repository. This allows developers to tailor Gradle to the specific needs of their projects and workflows.
  • Advanced Reporting: It provides advanced reporting features that make it easy for developers to track the progress of their builds and monitor the health of their projects. The tool provides detailed information about build times, code coverage, and test results, among other things.

Also, check out the blog on Maven in Selenium.

Faceoff between Gradle and Maven

Faceoff between Gradle and Maven

Both Gradle and Maven are build automation tools that are used by software developers to develop software. They both have changed the way modern software is developed. But yet both technologies differ a lot, so let’s have a look at Gradle vs Maven.

Gradle uses Groovy for the creation of project structure.Maven uses Extensible Markup Language for the creation of project structure.
It is highly optimized as compared to Maven because Gradle tracks only current running tasks.It is slower as compared to Gradle. because Maven does not create local temporary files.
Gradle does not require compilation.It is mandatory to compile code developed using Maven.
Highly customizable as compared to Maven.Maven offers a limited amount of customization.

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In the blog, we had a brief discussion on Gradle, a revolutionary automation tool based on Java. Gradle is a powerful and flexible build automation tool that has become an essential tool for modern software development.

It provides a comprehensive set of features that make it easy for developers to manage the entire build lifecycle, from compiling the code to delivering the final product. With its user-friendly interface, extensive plugin library, and compatibility with other build tools, Gradle is an excellent choice for both small and large-scale projects.

The domain is still in the developing phase. Keep exploring and happy Gradling!

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About the Author

Senior Consultant Analytics & Data Science

Presenting Sahil Mattoo, a Senior Consultant Analytics & Data Science at Eli Lilly and Company is an accomplished professional with 14 years of experience across data science, analytics, and technical leadership domains, demonstrates a remarkable ability to drive business insights. Sahil holds a Post Graduate Program in Business Analytics and Business Intelligence from Great Lakes Institute of Management.