Gradle Build System Tutorial

In this tutorial, we will see how to use gradle build in detail with examples.

1. Overview

Gradle is a popular build management system. The Gradle framework has features for the automatic download and configuration of the libraries which are required for the build. The library dependencies can be downloaded from Maven and Ivy repositories. Gradle can handle multiple projects and multiple artifact-based builds.


2. Gradle Build System Tutorial

2.1 Prerequisites

Java 8 is required on the Linux, windows, or Mac operating systems. Gradle 5.4.1 version can be used for building Gradle projects.

2.2 Download

You can download Java 8 from the Oracle web site. Likewise, Gradle 5.4.1 can be downloaded from this website.

2.3 Setup

2.3.1 Java Setup

You can set the environment variables for JAVA_HOME and PATH. They can be set as shown below.

Java Environment Setup

export JAVA_HOME
export PATH

2.3.2 Gradle Setup

The environment variables for Gradle are set as below:

Gradle Setup


2.4 Running Gradle

You can check the version of the Gradle by using the command Gradle –-version. The command for running Gradle is as below:


gradle --version

The output of the executed Gradle command is shown below.

Gradle Version

apples-MacBook-Air:~ bhagvan.kommadi$ gradle --version

Welcome to Gradle 5.5.1!

Here are the highlights of this release:
 - Kickstart Gradle plugin development with gradle init
 - Distribute organization-wide Gradle properties in custom Gradle distributions
 - Transform dependency artifacts on resolution

For more details see

Gradle 5.5.1

Build time:   2019-07-10 20:38:12 UTC
Revision:     3245f748c7061472da4dc184991919810f7935a5

Kotlin:       1.3.31
Groovy:       2.5.4
Ant:          Apache Ant(TM) version 1.9.14 compiled on March 12 2019
JVM:          1.8.0_101 (Oracle Corporation 25.101-b13)
OS:           Mac OS X 10.12.6 x86_64

2.4.1 Gradle Hello World

Let us look at Gradle Hello World. You can create a task as shown below in build.gradle:


task helloworld {
    doLast {
        println 'Hello World'

The command to execute above task is shown below:


gradle helloworld

The output of the command executed is as below:


apples-MacBook-Air:gradlesystem bhagvan.kommadi$ gradle helloworld
Starting a Gradle Daemon (subsequent builds will be faster)

> Task :helloworld
Hello World

1 actionable task: 1 executed

2.5 Gradle Projects

Every Gradle project has tasks. A Gradle task is a unit of work to execute a build. The compilation of source code and generation of Javadoc are examples of Gradle tasks. The project name is mentioned in settings.gradle as shown below.

settings.gradle ='org.javacodegeeks.gradle.saygreetings'

build.gradle is written as below:


description ="""
Example project for a Gradle build
Project name: ${}

More detailed information here... """

task saygreetings {
    doLast {
        println 'Greetings'

The command to execute above task is shown below:


gradle saygreetings

The output of the command executed is as below:


apples-MacBook-Air:project bhagvan.kommadi$ gradle saygreetings

> Task :saygreetings

1 actionable task: 1 executed

An enterprise application will have multiple projects to be built. The Gradle framework has a root project which can have multiple sub-projects. build. Gradle file has the root project. The file settings.gradle will have the subprojects information.

For example, you can have the project structure as below:

  • base_project
    • auth
    • usermgmt
    • utils
  • settings.gradle

Based on the project structure, you can have the settings.gradle.


include 'auth', 'usermgmt', 'utils'

#include 'auth'
#include 'usermgmt'
#include 'utils'

2.6 Gradle Tasks

The Gradle task is used to create tasks such as jar creation and archive publishing. The Gradle framework is extensible. Tasks are the core part of the framework. A Gradle task can be created for moving data from a directory to the other directory. A task can have a dependency on another task. It can have an input and the output. Gradle has introspection related tasks.

For example, the tasks command shows the available tasks for a project. This command shows the base tasks when you do not have a build.gradle file.

Tasks command

gradle -q tasks

The output of the command executed is as below:

Tasks command output

apples-MacBook-Air:gradlesystem bhagvan.kommadi$ gradle -q tasks

Tasks runnable from root project

Build Setup tasks
init - Initializes a new Gradle build.
wrapper - Generates Gradle wrapper files.

Help tasks
buildEnvironment - Displays all buildscript dependencies declared in root project 'gradlesystem'.
components - Displays the components produced by root project 'gradlesystem'. [incubating]
dependencies - Displays all dependencies declared in root project 'gradlesystem'.
dependencyInsight - Displays the insight into a specific dependency in root project 'gradlesystem'.
dependentComponents - Displays the dependent components of components in root project 'gradlesystem'. [incubating]
help - Displays a help message.
model - Displays the configuration model of root project 'gradlesystem'. [incubating]
projects - Displays the sub-projects of root project 'gradlesystem'.
properties - Displays the properties of root project 'gradlesystem'.
tasks - Displays the tasks runnable from root project 'gradlesystem'.

To see all tasks and more detail, run gradle tasks --all

To see more detail about a task, run gradle help --task 

Gradle has helped the task to give information related to the other tasks such as the init task. The command executed for help task related to init is shown below:

Help for Init task

gradle -q help --task init

The output of the command executed is as below:

Help for Init task output

apples-MacBook-Air:gradlesystem bhagvan.kommadi$ gradle -q help --task init
Detailed task information for init


     InitBuild (org.gradle.buildinit.tasks.InitBuild)

     --dsl     Set the build script DSL to be used in generated scripts.
               Available values are:

     --package     Set the package for source files.

     --project-name     Set the project name.

     --test-framework     Set the test framework to be used.
                          Available values are:

     --type     Set the type of project to generate.
                Available values are:

     Initializes a new Gradle build.

     Build Setup

2.7 Gradle Plugins

Gradle has an extension for a plugin for preconfigured tasks. It has a base set of plugins and developers can add custom plugins. build.gradle file has plugin specified using the statement apply plugin ‘plugin-name’.

You can add the entry apply plugin: '' which sets the Android plug-in available for a Gradle build. Gradle has a registry of plugins which can be accessed at site.

2.8 Gradle Java Project

The Gradle framework has features for java projects. You can create a new Gradle based Java project for JUnit Jupiter.


gradle init --type java-library --test-framework junit-jupiter

The output of the command executed is as below:


apples-MacBook-Air:gradlesystem bhagvan.kommadi$ gradle init --type java-library --test-framework junit-jupiter

Select build script DSL:
  1: Groovy
  2: Kotlin
Enter selection (default: Groovy) [1..2] 1

Project name (default: gradlesystem): junit
Source package (default: junit): junit

> Task :init
Get more help with your project:

2 actionable tasks: 2 executed

Java code generated related to the command above is presented below:

Library class

 * This Java source file was generated by the Gradle 'init' task.
package junit;

public class Library {
    public boolean someLibraryMethod() {
        return true;

The code generated for Junit Test is shown below:

Junit class

 * This Java source file was generated by the Gradle 'init' task.
package junit;

import org.junit.jupiter.api.Test;
import static org.junit.jupiter.api.Assertions.*;

class LibraryTest {
    @Test void testSomeLibraryMethod() {
        Library classUnderTest = new Library();
        assertTrue(classUnderTest.someLibraryMethod(), "someLibraryMethod should return 'true'");

You can execute the build using the command below:

build command

gradle build

The output of the command executed is presented below:

build command output

apples-MacBook-Air:junit bhagvan.kommadi$ gradle build
4 actionable tasks: 4 up-to-date

The command for executing the junit test is shown below:

build command

gradle test

The output of the command executed is presented below:

build command output

apples-MacBook-Air:junit bhagvan.kommadi$ gradle test
3 actionable tasks: 3 up-to-date

2.9 Gradle Wrapper

The Gradle wrapper is used for executing the build with a predefined Gradle version and settings. Gradle version download happens when the Gradle wrapper is executed. The Gradle wrapper can be created using command Gradle wrapper

gradlew is created for mac and Unix systems. gradlew.batis created for window systems. These files are executed when the Gradle command is executed. Gradle wrapper version can be specified in a Gradle task. When the task is executed, Gradle wrapper is created and it downloads the Gradle based on the version. Gradle wrapper version can be specified as shown below:

Gradle wrapper

wrapper {
    gradleVersion = '4.9'

Gradle options can be specified in the gradlew or gradlew.bat file.

gradle wrapper options

#!/usr/bin/env bash

2.10 Gradle Custom Tasks

A gradle custom task can be created and it can be derived from other tasks. For example, CopyTask can be created to copy files.

A copyTask can be created in a build.gradle file as shown below:

custom task

task copyTask(type: Copy) {
    from 'src'
    into 'dest'

You can create an src folder inside this project and add an example.txt text file to this folder. copy task will copy the example.txt file to a new dest folder.

The command to execute above task is shown below:

custom task run command

gradle copyTask

The output of the command executed is presented below:

custom task output

apples-MacBook-Air:customtask bhagvan.kommadi$ gradle copyTask

1 actionable task: 1 up-to-date

2.11 Gradle Testing

Gradle 6.0 has features for unit testing with Junit 5. you can add dependencies in the build.gradle file as shown below.

custom task

dependencies {


Gradle test task helps in finding the compiled classes in the project source folder.

2.12 Gradle Deployment

Gradle provides support for deploying build artifacts to artifact repositories, such as Artifactory or Sonatype Nexus. You can use a maven-publish plugin for publishing build artifacts.

2.13 Gradle Custom Plugins

A gradle custom plugin can be created to have a plugin with custom logic. The build file will have simple and straightforward tasks. The build needs to have declarative logic to have better maintenance.

2.14 Gradle – Eclipse Integration

You can find the source code for installing Gradle Plugin using the Grails project in this javacodegeeks article.

You need to also ensure that the Buildship Gradle Integration plugin is installed. The snapshot below shows the installed Gradle version.

gradle build - Gradle plugin
Eclipse – Gradle plugin

2.14.1 Building with Gradle – Eclipse

You can import the project HelloWorld which was a Gradle project created. The snapshot below shows the import wizard from the Eclipse menu File-> Import.

gradle build - Import Gradle Project
Eclipse – Import Gradle Project

After the import, the Gradle Grails project can be viewed in the eclipse. The screen shot below shows the imported project.

gradle build - Eclipse Project
Gradle Grails Eclipse Project

From the Gradle tasks view, You can see all the Gradle tasks. To execute the grails-app, click on bootRun. The screenshot below shows the Gradle tasks view.

Gradle Tasks Eclipse View

The grails app can be accessed at http://localhost:8080 when the gradle runs the Grails app on eclipse. The snapshot of the Grails app and Gradle task execution is shown below.

Grails App Running – Eclipse

The HelloController can be accessed and the page renders to show the “Greetings” message. The rendered page is shown below:

Hello Controller – Eclipse

Gradle provides several plugins for analyzing the code base of a Gradle project.

2.15 Gradle Build Scans

The Gradle project can have a build scanner. A build scan has incidents and details of a Gradle build project. The Gradle remote server will have the build scans which are published. Gradle init is used for creating a project. The command is shown below:

gradle project create command

gradle init  

You can use build scan option to publish the build scan as shown below:

build scan

gradlew build --scan 

The output of the above command executed is shown below:

gradle project create command

apples-MacBook-Air:build_scan bhagvan.kommadi$ ./gradlew build --scan

7 actionable tasks: 7 executed

Publishing a build scan to requires accepting the Gradle Terms of Service defined at Do you accept these terms? [yes, no] yes

Gradle Terms of Service accepted.

Publishing build scan...

The above command publishes the Gradle project. The scan can be accessed by the link provided in the output. The link takes you to the website as shown below.

Build Scan activation

You can type your email address and an email will be sent to you as shown in the message below.

Message for Email check

When you click on the link. The email will be like in the picture below.

Inbox email

When you click on the build, the link takes you to the build scan.

Build Scan

3.Download the Source Code

You can download the full source code of this example here: Gradle Build System Tutorial

Bhagvan Kommadi

Bhagvan Kommadi is the Founder of Architect Corner & has around 20 years’ experience in the industry, ranging from large scale enterprise development to helping incubate software product start-ups. He has done Masters in Industrial Systems Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology (1997) and Bachelors in Aerospace Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (1993). He is member of IFX forum,Oracle JCP and participant in Java Community Process. He founded Quantica Computacao, the first quantum computing startup in India. Markets and Markets have positioned Quantica Computacao in ‘Emerging Companies’ section of Quantum Computing quadrants. Bhagvan has engineered and developed simulators and tools in the area of quantum technology using IBM Q, Microsoft Q# and Google QScript. He has reviewed the Manning book titled : "Machine Learning with TensorFlow”. He is also the author of Packt Publishing book - "Hands-On Data Structures and Algorithms with Go".He is member of IFX forum,Oracle JCP and participant in Java Community Process. He is member of the MIT Technology Review Global Panel.
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