Spring Boot with Gradle

Gradle is a powerful and flexible build automation system that uses a Groovy-based DSL (Domain Specific Language) or Kotlin-based DSL for defining build tasks. It was designed to overcome the shortcomings of Apache Ant and Apache Maven, and it is widely adopted in the Java community, as well as in Android app development.

Here’s a breakdown of Gradle’s key features and how it works:

  1. Build Scripts: Gradle uses scripts to define and configure builds. These scripts are typically written in Groovy or Kotlin and are interpreted by Gradle. A common name for a build script file is build.gradle.
  2. Project and Task Structure: A Gradle build is made up of one or more projects. Each project can have one or more tasks. For example, a task might compile source files, create a JAR file, or generate Javadoc documentation.
  3. Plugins: Gradle is designed to be extensible, and plugins provide a way to add new functionality. Many plugins are available for Java, Android, and other platforms or tools.
  4. Dependencies: Like Maven, Gradle has robust dependency management capabilities. You can declare dependencies in your build script, and Gradle will download and cache those dependencies for you.
  5. Build Lifecycles: Gradle has a lifecycle for its builds which includes phases like initialization, configuration, and execution. During these phases, different actions are performed, like determining which projects are part of the build, determining dependencies, and executing tasks.
  6. Incremental Builds: Gradle avoids redundant work by only executing tasks that are out-of-date. For instance, if you re-run a build without changing any source files, Gradle recognizes that there’s no need to recompile the source and skips that task.
  7. Customizability: One of Gradle’s strengths is its flexibility. You can create custom tasks, add custom logic, and modify the build process as needed.
  8. Wrapper: Gradle provides a wrapper (typically called gradlew on UNIX-like systems or gradlew.bat on Windows). This is a small script that can download and install the correct version of Gradle for a project, ensuring consistent builds across different environments.

How does it work?

  1. When you run a Gradle command, it starts by evaluating the build script.
  2. It initializes the build, determining which projects will be built.
  3. During the configuration phase, all tasks are configured. At this stage, no task is executed; Gradle just determines the dependencies and order in which tasks will run.
  4. During the execution phase, Gradle runs the necessary tasks in the order determined by their dependencies.
  5. As tasks run, Gradle checks its cache to avoid redoing work (like recompiling unchanged source files).
  6. Once all tasks are executed, the build finishes.

Gradle is a versatile tool that can be used not only for Java projects but also for C++, Python, and more. It has integrations with many IDEs (like IntelliJ IDEA and Android Studio) and CI/CD tools, making it a popular choice for modern development environments.

How to run tests using gradle?

in maven -> mvn test

gradle test


./gradlew test

How to compile java project using gradle?

in maven -> mvn compile

gradle compileJava


./gradlew compileJava

How to package a springboot project using gradle?

in maven -> mvn package

gradle jar


./gradlew jar

How to skip tests using gradle?
in maven -> mvn install -DskipTests

gradle assemble -x test


./gradlew assemble -x test

How to list dependencies using gradle?
in maven -> mvn dependency:list

gradle dependencies


./gradlew dependencies

Including a dependency in a Gradle project with Spring Boot typically involves adding the dependency to the build.gradle file. Here’s a step-by-step process:

Ensure You Have the Spring Boot Gradle Plugin:

First, make sure your build.gradle file applies the Spring Boot Gradle plugin and has the Spring Boot dependencies’ BOM (Bill Of Materials):

plugins {
    id 'org.springframework.boot' version '2.5.4' // Use the appropriate version
    id 'io.spring.dependency-management' version '1.0.11.RELEASE' // Again, ensure the version matches your needs
    id 'java'

Include the Spring Boot Repositories (if not already added):

Spring Boot dependencies are available in the Maven Central repository, but if you’re using Spring Milestone or Snapshot releases, you might also need the Spring repositories:

repositories {
    // For milestone releases
    maven { url 'https://repo.spring.io/milestone' }
    // For snapshots
    maven { url 'https://repo.spring.io/snapshot' }

Add Your Dependency:

Let’s say you want to include Spring Web to create a web application. You would add:

dependencies {
    implementation 'org.springframework.boot:spring-boot-starter-web'
    // ... your other dependencies


  • implementation is a configuration indicating that the dependency is required for compiling the source code of the module and is also required at runtime.
  • The format for the dependency is 'group:artifact:version', but when using the Spring Boot BOM, you often don’t need to specify the version since it’s managed by Spring Boot’s dependency management.


Refresh Your Dependencies:

If you’re using an IDE like IntelliJ IDEA or Eclipse, you might need to refresh your project to download the new dependencies. For command-line builds, the next time you run a Gradle task like ./gradlew bootRun, the dependencies will be fetched automatically.

Additional Tip:

To view all the managed versions and dependencies provided by Spring Boot, you can check the spring-boot-dependencies BOM in the Maven Central repository. It’s a useful reference when you want to know the default versions for various libraries that Spring Boot manages.

Remember, the versions and dependencies might vary based on the specific version of Spring Boot you’re using, so always refer to the official Spring Boot documentation or the Spring Initializr website for accurate information.


Github Repo Reference

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