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Gradle is build automation evolved. Gradle can automate the building, testing, publishing, deployment and more of software packages or other types of projects such as generated static websites, generated documentation or indeed anything else.
Gradle combines the power and flexibility of Ant with the dependency management and conventions of Maven into a more effective way to build. Powered by a Groovy DSL and packed with innovation, Gradle provides a declarative way to describe all kinds of builds through sensible defaults. Gradle is quickly becoming the build system of choice for many open source projects, leading edge enterprises and legacy automation challenges.
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I have never felt comfortable with Maven.
The switch to Gradle made building fun again!
Here is my path to build nirvana
make -> ant -> ant+ivy > maven -> GRADLE
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I've switched over all my builds from Ant and Maven to Gradle, and never regretted it. Most common things you want to do are built right into Gradle.
I have found that the documentation, while verbose, can be a bit of a maze, with a mix of user documentation, JavaDoc, and the "DSL guide", all linked together. The big issue is that what you can put in your build depends on what properties are exposed by what objects, and often that's determined by the implementation class provided by Gradle, not the interface class defined in the DSL. So you can run in circles until you stumble on your solution.
Like many projects, the docs focus on what you can do vs. common usages. Using Gradle effectively is an exercise in learning how to read and understand those docs.
That being said, Gradle is the best tool for builds, and the one that's easiest to extend. I've had bad experiences with other tools, but Gradle has yet to let me down.
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A great powertool for pretty much any maintenance tasks you do with your project. A big advantage over Maven (and other only-declarative tools) is that Groovy is a real programming language so if Gradle doesn't do exactly what you want you can pretty easy make it as you'd like. It comes in handy when you want to craft some custom tasks (like code generating or so). It's really simple when compared to alternatives (read sbt).