Build automation tools, or build tools, are applications used for build automation. Build automation is an important aspect of software development. It refers to the process of automating the tasks necessary to turn source code into executable programs. Your choice of build tool would depend on the languages and frameworks you’re using.
Today, we’ll focus on Java build tools. Java is one of the most commonly used languages in software development. There are many Java build tools available. We’ll compare two of the most popular build tools for Java development: Maven and Gradle.
Build automation is the process of automating the tasks necessary to create, execute, and test programs. After you create the source code for a program, build automation comes in to process and prepare the source code for deployment to production.
Build automation is a best practice and prerequisite for any continuous integration process in DevOps. Most modern development teams have an established build automation process. These task automations help save valuable time and resources for developers and development teams, who once carried out these tasks manually.
Build automation tasks were historically accomplished using makefiles. Today, they are done using build automation tools or build automation servers. The term build automation can be used interchangeably with build systems.
Build tools facilitate a wide variety of build automation tasks, including:
Maven, or Apache Maven, was released in 2004 as an improvement to Apache Ant. It is an XML-based build tool and project manager. Maven is an Apache open-source project. Its default repository is the Maven Central Repository. The Central Repository consists of open-source components from contributors ranging from individual developers to large organizations. There is a vast array of Maven plugins to customize and expand the build tool’s functionality.
Maven projects are primarily defined by Project Object Model (POM) files written in XML. These POM.xml files contain the project’s dependencies, plugins, properties, and configuration data. Maven uses a declarative approach and has a predefined life cycle.
Gradle was first released in 2008. Building on Maven’s concepts, it was introduced as Maven’s successor. Rather than using Maven’s XML-based project configuration, it introduced a domain-specific language (DSL) based on the Groovy and Kotlin programming languages. Gradle supports Maven and Ivy repositories for declaring project configurations. It was designed with multi-project builds in mind.
Both Maven and Gradle are free and open-source software distributed under the Apache License 2.0. They are both highly customizable and supported by various Java IDEs, including Eclipse.
More similarities between Maven and Gradle include:
Some of the key differences between Maven and Gradle are:
Choosing a Java build tool is largely up to your individual preferences and project requirements.
Here are some things to consider if you’re deciding between Gradle and Maven:
Choosing a build tool will depend on your individual needs. Whether you’re in DevOps or software development, Java build tools like Maven and Gradle are invaluable utilities. Since both are free, you could consider trying both to make an informed decision.
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