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An introduction to the benefits of gradle, a modern and efficient Java building tool

Jun 01, 2021 Article blog

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Students who study Java believe you've all used Maven a classic and useful project builder. But if you use Maven a lot, you may find some uncomfortable things about Maven

  • For one thing, Maven profile is XML format, and if your project relies on more packages, XML file becomes very, very long;
  • Second, XML files are not very flexible, if you need to add some custom logic during the build process, it can be very cumbersome;
  • The third is that Maven is very stable, but relatively not enough support for the new version of java even if it is just to compile java11 you need to update the built-in Maven plug-in.

If you're also impressed by Maven shortcomings and are ready to try other build tools, try gradle a brand new java build tool that addresses some of Maven pain points.

Install the gladle

The most traditional installation method is to go to gradle website to download the binary package, unzip it, and then add the path to the environment variable. I f you don't have any other needs, you can use this installation method. However, gradle is a very trendy project that releases a new version every few months, which may not keep pace with the update speed of gradle

So I'd recommend using a package manager to install gradle I f you use linux system, you don't have to say much. I f you use Windows system, I recommend scoop package manager to install gradle It's easy to install, it uses SHIM directories to manage environment variables, and it's easy to configure gradle in a variety of tools.

Of course, if you don't like installing so many messes at all, you can also use gradle gradle provides a tool called gradle wrapper that you can use gradle gradle W ell, it's actually a script file, and when you run wrapper script, if the script finds that there's no gradle on your computer, it automatically downloads and installs one for you. There's even Maven wrapper which is also a script file that automatically installs Maven

It was previously believed that some friends had gradle and tried to use it, only to give up because it was too slow. I 've been giving it up for a while before because of the speed of the gradle B ut it's much easier to use gradle now. gradle officially opened CDN in China and downloads very quickly when using gradle wrapper It's a good time to learn to use gradle

Use gladle wrapper

Here I use IDEA to create and use gradle projects.

 An introduction to the benefits of gradle, a modern and efficient Java building tool1

IDEA uses gradle wrapper to create projects by default, so it works without installing gradle A t this point, the project structure should be similar to the one shown in the following image, and students who use Maven should be familiar because it is almost identical to Maven project structure. gradle folder and gradlew files are gradle wrapper files, and the files with .gradle suffix name are gradle profile, corresponding to Maven pom.xml

 An introduction to the benefits of gradle, a modern and efficient Java building tool2

One of the advantages of gradle wrapper is that you can customize the downloaded version of gradle which is convenient if you're working as a team, and you can unify the team's build tool version with a simple setup. H ere I set it to the latest gradle 6.4 The default download is the bin version, which contains only binary. If you use IDEA it recommends downloading all version with the source code so IDEA can analyze the source code and provide more accurate gradle script support.

 An introduction to the benefits of gradle, a modern and efficient Java building tool3

Rely on management

Here's a look at gradle dependency management capabilities, which is one of the main purposes of our use of build tools. T his is also one of the advantages of gradle over maven gradle dependencies require only one line compared to maven long list of XML configurations.

dependencies {
    testImplementation 'junit:junit:4.13'
    implementation ''

The package search site for Jetbrains is recommended here, and is the best site to find maven and gradle packages, making it easy to search for and use dependencies.

(Recommended tutorial: Java tutorial)

 An introduction to the benefits of gradle, a modern and efficient Java building tool4

gradle on more granular control than maven which has only four scope compile provided test and runtime and gradle has the following types of scope Maven

  • the default scope implementation scope of the effect allows dependencies to be included at compile and runtime, but is not exposed to the compilation time of the class library consumer. For example, if our class library contains gson then when others use our class library, there is no gson dependency at compile time.
  • Api, like implementation is a dependency that is visible at compile and runtime. But api allows us to expose the dependencies of our own class libraries to the consumers of our class libraries.
  • compileOnly and runtimeOnly, both as the name suggests, are visible only at compile time and only at runtime. runtimeOnly and Maven provided are closer.
  • TestImplementation, which is visible at test compilation and runtime, is similar to Maven test scope.
  • TestCompileOnly and testRuntimeOnly, both similar to compileOnly and runtimeOnly but act on test compilation and runtime.

With a short, robust dependency configuration and a wide variety of roles and options, Gradle can provide us with better dependency management capabilities than Maven

Gradle tasks and plug-ins

gradle profile is a groovy script file where we can programmatically customize some of the build tasks. B ecause of the programming approach, this gives us a lot of flexibility and convenience. F or example, there is now a requirement to check the size of the jar file by the way when you package out the jar I n gradle you only need to write a few lines of code in the build script. In Maven you need to write Maven plug-ins, and the complexity is not at all one level.

Of course, Maven has grown to the point where there are a number of plug-ins that offer a wide variety of features to use. B ut in terms of flexibility, it's still not comparable to Gradle A nd Gradle also has plug-in capabilities and is growing rapidly, with a number of very good plug-ins, such as gretty gretty originally a community plug-in, was officially incorporated as an official plug-in that can run web projects on Tomcat and jetty servers, more powerful than Maven related plug-ins.

While gradle can be very flexible in writing custom scripting tasks, in general we don't need to write build scripts to do the functionality with existing plug-ins and tasks. In IDEA you can also easily see how many tasks there are in your current gradle project, with basic tasks such as build test Maven and Gradle all connected.

 An introduction to the benefits of gradle, a modern and efficient Java building tool5

Configure the mirror

Maven official repository is very slow to download, so we generally have to configure the domestic mirror source. gradle fully compatible with Maven in this regard, so you can use Maven mirror with just a little configuration of the mirror source. If you've built a project with gradle you should be able to see the configuration and cache of the gradle under the .gradle folder in the user directory. gradle

(Recommended micro-class: Java micro-class)

gradle by wrapper is also stored under this folder at wrapper/dists

 An introduction to the benefits of gradle, a modern and efficient Java building tool6

The dependent local cache is under the caches\modules-2\files-2.1 folder. The directory structure is similar to Maven local cache, both of which are package names and version numbers, but the last layer of gradle directory structure is different from Maven which prevents them from sharing the local cache.

 An introduction to the benefits of gradle, a modern and efficient Java building tool7

To put it bluntly, configuring a download image in gradle requires a new init.gradle initialization script to be created directly in the .gradle folder, as follows. .gradle A s a result, gradle downloads the image using the mirror source configured here, much faster. Coupled with the CDN set up in China gradle wrapper using gradle should be fast now.

allprojects {
   repositories {
       maven {
           url ""
       maven {
           url ""
       maven {
           url ""
       maven {
           url ""
       maven {
           url ""
       maven {
           url ""
       maven {
           url ""
       maven {
           url ""

Of course, if you have a proxy, I actually recommend that you set up a global proxy directly for gradle B ecause gradle scripts are so flexible, some scripts may rely on remote scripts from github or elsewhere. That's when the download mirror source set up above doesn't work.

So it's better to use the global proxy directly if you have the conditions. T he setup is simple: create a new .gradle file in the folder, as follows. T he middle line is the configuration item that sets up the agent. Of course, a few other lines I also recommend that you set up the file encoding for the gradle runtime to UTF8 to increase cross-platform compatibility.

org.gradle.jvmargs=-Xmx4g -XX:MaxPermSize=512m -XX:+HeapDumpOnOutOfMemoryError -Dfile.encoding=UTF-8

Why use gladle?

Seeing here, you should have a basic understanding of gradle and use it in your project. B ut if you're already familiar with Maven you might be reluctant to use gradle because it doesn't seem necessary. B ut now that gradle has appeared, there are a lot of people who still have some opinions about Maven So here I'll summarize the gradle over maven

1. Speed

gradle uses build caches, daemons, and more to speed up compilation. The result is that gradle compiles much faster than maven with an average compilation speed several times faster than Maven and the larger the project, the more obvious the gap becomes.

 An introduction to the benefits of gradle, a modern and efficient Java building tool8

2. Flexibility

gradle is much more flexible than Maven although sometimes flexibility is not a good thing. B ut for the most part, being flexible can be extremely convenient for us. Maven rigid XML file approach is cumbersome. M any Maven projects do some work that requires flexibility by executing external scripts. In gradle the configuration file is the build script, which is the programming language (groovy programming language) and is completely self-sufficient without the need for external scripts.

3. Simplicity

To accomplish the same functionality, the length of the gradle script is much shorter than the length of the maven profile. While a lot of people say XML is not troublesome to maintain, I don't think it's necessarily easier to maintain an XML file that relies on hundreds of lines alone than gradle script.

Perhaps for the reasons I said above, and perhaps for other reasons, one thing I have to admit is that gradle has been widely used as an emerging tool. P rojects such as spring have switched from Maven to gradle D eveloping Android programs also only gradle So whether or not you need to switch the project from maven to gradle now, at least learning gradle is a necessity.

(Recommended tutorial: Gradle tutorial)

Here's a look at the benefits of a modern and efficient Java build tool, gradle, and I hope to help you all.

Author: Belle Chuan