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Gradle vs. Maven

Educative Answers Team

Gradle and Maven are both build automation tools for Java. Although they are not the only tools available, we will be looking at the difference between them today.

Build Automation tools automatically compile the software’s source code into machine code through a build script.


  • Gradle is a build automation system that uses a domain-specific language based on the programming language Groovy.


  • Maven is a software project management and comprehension tool. It is mostly used with Java-based projects.

  • Gradle does not use an XML file to describe a project that is being built, instead, it uses the domain-specific language Groovy DSL; a Java-based DSL that supports Groovy language features.
  • Maven uses an XML file to describe the project, its dependencies, the build order, and its required plug-ins.

  • Gradle’s mechanisms for incrementality and work avoidance allow for faster build times.
  • Maven does not use incrementality or *build caches, thus its builds times are slower than gradles’.

Note: Incrementality is the process of avoiding work by tracking input and output tasks, and by only running the parts of the code/files that have changed.”


Gradle cont.

  • Gradle allows for a wide range of customizations and is very flexible. Gradle can be used for native development with C/C++. Custom builds are easy to do on Gradle.

  • Gradle scripts are short, clean and easy to understand

Maven cont.

  • Customization is complicated in Maven due to its limited parameters and requirements. However, this also makes Maven easier to understand and configure.

  • Maven build scripts, written in XML, are neither as short nor as easy, to understand as Gradle scripts are.

Therefore, Gradle should be used when flexibility, ease of use, speed, and incremental builds are of importance. Maven, on the other hand, should be used when dependency, management, modularization, consistency, lots of plug-ins, and conventions (over configuration) are preferred.


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