How to Get Started with Gradle: A Beginner's Guide

Gradle is a powerful build tool that allows developers to automate the building, testing, publishing, deployment, and more of their applications. It combines the best features of Ant and Maven, and it introduces a Groovy-based DSL (Domain Specific Language) for describing builds, which makes it flexible and easy to use. In this guide, we will walk through the basics of getting started with Gradle.


Before you begin, make sure you have the following installed on your system:

  1. Java Development Kit (JDK) - Gradle requires JDK 8 or higher. You can download the latest version of the JDK from Oracle's website.
  2. Gradle - Download and install Gradle from the official website.

Step 1: Install Gradle

To install Gradle, follow these steps:

  1. Download the latest version of Gradle from the Gradle website.
  2. Extract the downloaded file to a directory of your choice.
  3. Set the GRADLE_HOME environment variable to the path of the Gradle directory.
  4. Add GRADLE_HOME/bin to your PATH environment variable.

To verify the installation, open a command prompt or terminal and run the following command:

gradle -v

You should see an output that includes the Gradle version and JVM information.

Step 2: Create a New Gradle Project

To create a new Gradle project, follow these steps:

  1. Open a command prompt or terminal.
  2. Navigate to the directory where you want to create the project.
  3. Run the following command to generate a new Gradle project:
gradle init

Follow the prompts to configure your project. Gradle will create the necessary files and directories for you.

Step 3: Explore the Project Structure

A typical Gradle project structure looks like this:

├── build.gradle
├── settings.gradle
└── src/
    ├── main/
    │   ├── java/
    │   └── resources/
    └── test/
        ├── java/
        └── resources/
  • build.gradle: The main build script for the project.
  • settings.gradle: Contains settings for multi-project builds.
  • src/main/java: Contains the source code.
  • src/main/resources: Contains the resources required by the application.
  • src/test/java: Contains the test source code.
  • src/test/resources: Contains the resources required by the tests.

Step 4: Writing a Simple Build Script

Let's create a simple Java application with Gradle. Open the build.gradle file and add the following content:

plugins {
    id 'java'

group 'com.example'
version '1.0-SNAPSHOT'

repositories {

dependencies {
    testImplementation 'org.junit.jupiter:junit-jupiter:5.8.1'

test {

This script does the following:

  • Applies the Java plugin: This provides tasks for compiling Java code, running tests, and creating JAR files.
  • Sets the group and version of the project: These are used for publishing the project.
  • Configures the repositories: This tells Gradle to use Maven Central to resolve dependencies.
  • Defines the dependencies: This adds JUnit 5 for testing.

Step 5: Adding Source Code

Create a simple Java class in src/main/java/com/example/

package com.example;

public class App {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        System.out.println("Hello, World!");

Create a test class in src/test/java/com/example/

package com.example;

import org.junit.jupiter.api.Test;
import static org.junit.jupiter.api.Assertions.assertTrue;

public class AppTest {
    public void testApp() {

Step 6: Running the Build

To build the project, open a command prompt or terminal in the project directory and run:

gradle build

Gradle will compile the source code, run the tests, and create a JAR file in the build/libs directory.

Step 7: Running the Application

To run the application, use the following command:

gradle run

Ensure you have the application plugin applied in your build.gradle:

plugins {
    id 'java'
    id 'application'

mainClassName = 'com.example.App'


Congratulations! You have successfully created and built a simple Java application using Gradle. This guide covered the basics of setting up Gradle, creating a new project, writing a build script, and running the build. Gradle is a powerful and flexible tool that can help you manage your projects more efficiently. To learn more about Gradle, visit the official documentation.

By following this guide and using the latest versions of dependencies, you ensure your project is up-to-date and taking advantage of the latest features and improvements.