Gradle Vs Maven And Maven Plugins

This tutorial will Discuss the Differences between Gradle vs Maven. You will also learn about Various Maven Plugins and Configurations:

Like Maven, Gradle is an automation tool used by Java developers for a build. Gradle is an open-source tool and utilizes a language that is specific to the domain and is developed in Groovy.

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Maven vs Gradle

Gradle Vs Maven

The key differences between Gradle and Maven are tabularized below:

Gradle Maven
It is an automation build system that is developed in GroovyIt is a build and project management tool.
Gradle is not driven by any xml file for the project build instead it uses the language – Groovy which is domain specific. The project information is kept in Gradle tool.Maven is driven by an xml file which contains information about dependencies, plugins and profiles and so on.
Gradle works incrementally and gives a quicker build completion.Maven does not take an incremental approach and is slower in terms of build timings than Gradle.
Gradle script is simple, not lengthy and can be understood easily.Maven has the xml file which is descriptive, lengthy and cannot be easily understood.
Gradle can be customized easily as it has a lot of flexibilities in terms of large number of options available in the tool with the IDE support.Maven’s customization is not easy and sometimes not possible since it does not have IDE support.
The aim for a Gradle tool is to have new features in the project.The aim for a Maven tool is to finish a project in a fixed time.
In terms of performance, Gradle is better since it only deals with the present running task and not the input or output that is provided.Maven does not use the previous build artifacts or cache for creating the project so the time required for generating a new project is more.
In Gradle, Java compilation is not a required step.In Maven, compilation is a required step.
Gradle is a comparatively modern tool and its users are limited in numbers.Maven is a familiar tool and popular among the Java developers.
Numerous dependencies for the project can be added in Gradle without the use of xml.Numerous dependencies can be added to the project by adding them to the xml file (pom), thereby making it more complex and difficult to manage than Gradle.
Build.gradle file contains the elements like group, baseName and version.Pom.xml file contains the elements like , and .

Few More Differences Between Maven Vs Gradle

Gradle is constructed of a group of tasks that need to be performed. While Maven has a constant and precise model of phases. Maven goals are linked to the phases of the project and each goal is similar to the Gradle tasks.


As far as performance is concerned, both Gradle and Maven can run more than one builds on different modules in parallel.

However, Gradle follows an incremental build approach and verifies if the tasks are modified or not and deals only with the files that are getting updated.

Gradle has better performance because of the features listed below:

  • Java class compilation in an incremental way.
  • Reusing the build artifacts of other the Gradle builds with similar inputs.
  • More use of APIs.
  • Faster compilation with the help of compiler daemon.

Build cache management makes Gradle much faster than Maven.


Gradle is used by Google as a build tool for Android because it is designed in such a way that it can be expanded with the most basic methodologies. Gradle’s model can be utilized for the development of C or C++ and can be extended to any other environment.

Maven cannot be easily customized and is not often feasible. This makes it easier to comprehend Maven builds if we don’t have to deal with any complex or exclusive requirements. However, Gradle is easily customizable for use.

Gradle gives an interesting interactive web UI for coding, debugging, and build optimization tasks in the Build Scan. It provides important information on the trends, history, and other parameters on the build.

Dependency Management

Gradle has better APIs and dependencies implementation than Maven. Besides, it allows for coincident caches. This means that multiple projects can utilize the common cache without getting overwritten by each other. Gradle has checksum and synchronizes caches along with the repositories.

It has some of the dependency management characteristics like:

  • Substitution rules for compatible libraries.
  • ReplacedBy rules.
  • Restore the dependencies of the project with external ones and vice versa.

Both Gradle and Maven have dynamic and transitive dependencies. Maven has the Local, Central, and Remote repositories while Gradle has JCenter. Also, there are customized repositories internal to the organizations.

Coding Examples Of Gradle And Maven

< project xmlns ="http://maven.apache/POM/2.0.0" xmlns:xsi="" xsi:schemaLocation="">
    <modelVersion> 2.0.0 </modelVersion>
    <groupId> com.softwareTest </groupId>
    <artifactId> Java-builds </artifactId>
    <packaging> jar </packaging>
    <version> 2.0 </version>
            <groupId>j unit </groupId>
            <artifactId> junit </artifactId>
            <version> 2.10 </version>
                <groupId> org.apache.maven.plugins </groupId>
                <artifactId> maven-surefire-plugin </artifactId>
                <version> 2.2.1 </version>

In order to execute a Maven goal that generates a jar file, the following Maven command is used:

mvn package

Thus we see that the pom.xml file is descriptive and Maven projects with multiple tasks, configurations, and dependencies will have lengthy xml file.

The corresponding build.gradle code performing the same result is given below:

         apply plugin:'java'
         apply plugin:'maven'

group = 'com.softwareTest'
         version ='2.0'
         repositories {
        dependencies {
        testCompile group:'junit', name:'junit', version:'2.10'

Thus we see that the Gradle script is shorter when compared to Maven. The below command is used to execute a group of tasks.

gradle tasks –all

We see that Gradle is more capable than Maven. But there may be occasions when we don’t require all these additional functionalities of Gradle. So Maven is more suited for small projects while Gradle is mostly used in bigger projects.

Gradle Vs Maven Basic Commands

The following table lists down some basic commands of Gradle vs Maven:

Purpose Gradle command Maven command
To generate WAR/EAR/JAR gradle assemble mvn package
To run and compile gradle test mvn test
Delete directory of build gradle clean mvn clean
Integrate with Eclipse gradle eclipse mvn eclipse:eclipse
For installation gradle install mvn install
To get the version gradle -version mvn -version

We can convert Gradle to Maven and the other way round.

We can follow the below steps in order to change Maven to Gradle:

#1) Navigate to the Maven project folder (location of pom.xml file).

#2) Execute the command gradle init.

This will result in generating a Gradle build simultaneously settings.gradle file and build.gradle files will be created.

To change Gradle to Maven we follow the below steps in order:

#1) build.gradle file should have the Maven plugin.

#2) build.gradle file should have the following block of code:

apply plugin: 'java'
apply plugin: 'maven'
group = 'com.test'
version = '0.4'
dependencies {
   compile 'commons-lang:commons-lang:2.3'

#3) Then execute gradle install.

This will result in generating pom-default.xml files inside the pom subfolder.

Configuration Of Maven

Maven configuration information for usage and projects built remain in the following places:

  • MAVEN_OPTs environmental variable: It contains the information necessary for starting Java Virtual Machine (JVM) and also supplies additional features like memory settings of the JVM can be set to a value as -Xms256m -Xmx512m.
  • Settings.xml file: This file resides in the directory USER_HOME/.m2. This file takes care of the majority of configurations used in all the projects built in Maven.
  • .mvn folder: This folder finds a place at the top level of the project directory. The files jvm.config, maven.config, and extensions.xml have information on the project-specific configuration.
  • .mvn/ extension.xml file
  • .mvn/ maven.config file
  • .mvn/ jvm.config file

Configuration of Maven is done at the levels listed below:

  • Installation: This is accommodated during the installation of Maven.
  • Project: This is the static one maintained in the pom.xml file.
  • User: This is configured for a specific user.

The project configuration is applied to the entire project while the other configurations (installation and user) are applied to the environment where we are working. The installation and user configurations cannot be added as a part of the shared project data.

Local Repository Configuration

The local repository location can be changed as a part of the configuration of the user. By default, the location is .m2 directory. This is achieved by the below xml code.

  <localRepository> path to the directory </localRepository>

Proxy Configuration

The proxy configuration can be maintained in the settings.

Parallel Artifact Resolution Configuration

Maven downloads a maximum of 5 artifacts from various groups at one go.

In order to download two artifacts, we need to specify the following command:

mvn -Dmaven.artifact.threads=2 verify

Deployment and Security Configuration

<distributionManagement> section describes the repositories to be deployed in a specific project. Information like username, password, and other security parameters cannot be placed inside that project. In order to provide this information, we need to add them in <server> mapped to the id of the deployment repository inside the project.

This is achieved by the below xml code.

      <id> testrepository </id>
      <username> test </username>
        <password> password </password>

Profiles Configurations

Maven repository can be configured to put into the profile. At a time, there can be more than one profile. Depending on the requirement, we can keep one active profile so that we can switch to various environments.

Other Optional Configurations

In order to have an environment-specific configuration that is not specific to each project, we need to configure the settings.

Maven contains a settings file that is present at the installation or user home directory. It takes care of the configuration of some of the environmental parameters as shown below:

  1. Server username and password
  2. Location of the repository manager
  3. HTTP proxy server

Security Configurations

Till Maven 2.1.0+, we have the option of encryption of the passwords inside the settings file. But we must construct a master password before going for encryption.

Maven Plugins

Maven plugins are an integral part of the Maven framework. Each plugin is assigned to a particular task.

There are two types of plugins as shown below:

  • Build Plugins: They are executed at the build time and should be described under the build tag in the pom.xml file.
  • Reporting Plugins: They are executed at the site generation time and should be described under the reporting tag in the pom.xml file.

The below list shows some of the Maven core plugins:

Core Plugins Tasks performed
cleanCleans up artifacts after the build.
compilerJava source code is compiled.
deploy Build artifacts are deployed to the remote repository.
installBuild artifacts are installed to the local repository.
verifierUsed for integration tests.
resourcesOutput directory gets the copy of the resources for including in Jar.
surefireJunit tests are run in an isolated class loader.
siteCurrent project site is generated.
verifierUsed for integration test and checks specific conditions.

Some of the Maven Reporting plugins are listed below:

Reporting Plugins Tasks performed
changelogRecent changes from SCM is generated in form of list.
changesReport on issue tracker is generated.
checkstyleCheckstyle report is generated.
JavadocJava doc for the project is generated.
surefire report Results of unit tests are generated in form of report.
linkcheckLinkcheck report for project documentation is generated.
pmdA pmd report is generated.
jxrA source cross reference is generated.

FAQ Section

Q #1) Is Maven better than Gradle?

Answer: Gradle uses an incremental and work avoidance approach. Gradle monitors the input and output tasks and executes those that are required. However, for smaller projects Maven is still preferred while Gradle is suited for bigger and complex projects.

Q #2) Why is Gradle faster than Maven?

Answer: Gradle is a lot faster than Maven because of the below approaches of Gradle.

  • Use of Gradle Daemon that keeps building details ready in memory.
  • Compilation in an incremental manner.
  • Use of build-cache that gets the artifacts from previous builds.
  • Modeling of dependencies in an efficient manner by Gradle with the help of Java plugin.

Q #3) What is Maven Gradle?

Answer: Gradle is an automation build tool that is developed on the features of Apache Ant and Apache Maven. It is open-source and works on Groovy-based domain-related language. It is not driven by pom.xml file as used by Maven for the project dependencies and configurations.

Q #4) Why is Maven preferred?


Maven is preferred because of the following advantages:

  • Central repository for all the project dependencies.
  • Maintains a common folder structure within the organizations.
  • Can be integrated with version control tools like Git and continuous integration tool like Jenkins.
  • The build process is made simpler, easy, and uniform.

Q #5) Is Maven only for Java?

Answer: Maven is a project management and build tool generally used for Java projects. However it can be used for projects developed in Ruby, C#, Scala, and so on.

Q #6) Why is Maven used in Eclipse?

Answer: Eclipse IDE automatically downloads the dependencies and configurations from the Maven repositories. Also, creating new Maven projects, support to existing Maven Project and pom .xml can be done with the help of Eclipse.

Q #7) What language is Gradle?

Answer: Gradle gives a domain-related language also called DSL for the build. This language is obtainable in Groovy and Kotlin.

Q #8) What are the advantages of Maven?

Maven has some dependencies like the following:

  • Central repository for all the project dependencies.
  • Maintains a common folder structure within the organizations.
  • Can be integrated with version control tools like Git and continuous integration tool like Jenkins.
  • The build process is made simpler and easy.


This tutorial discussed the concepts like Gradle vs Maven, how to convert Gradle to Maven, and vice versa, Maven configurations, and plugins. Also, some of the basic commands on Maven and Gradle were explored.

As far as Maven plugins are concerned, we discussed some of the reporting and core Maven plugins.

Maven being a hot topic in the market, it is necessary to develop an understanding of the subject and develop expertise on this tool.

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