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Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Maven vs Gradle? Which one Java Developer Should Learn?

Hello guys, if you are looking for a quick introduction to Maven and Gradle then you have come to the right place. Earlier, I have shared the best Maven course and best courses to learn Gradle, if you haven't checked them, I suggest you can also look at them if you want to learn these tools in depth. Maven and Gradle are the two most popular build tools for Java applications. They manage dependencies and create artifacts.  How do they do that? They have a repository like a maven has Maven repository where the store every single Java library and depending upon which library you add to your project, they download that library + all the transitive dependency for those libraries automatically. 

You may not realize the benefit unless you have manually manage them and bitten by different versions of libraries for example using the Spring framework with the wrong version of the logging library.  You can see my post about 10 Maven things Java developer should know to learn about it. 

A maven repository is just a repo where the library files are stored in the maven style file structure. Most build tools can read and store their libraries in the maven repository file structure-- in fact, most new build tools just use the maven style is a kind of standard cause they've found it to be good enough. 

Similarly, most online library search sites just call themselves maven repository or some such thing, as for a long time maven was the only good solution, but they're just repositories.

I have used both Maven and Gradle in our projects and in general the Maven project files are always about 5x larger than the equivalent Gradle files. Also, Multi-language builds are much easier to manage with Gradle than Maven. 

You can manage Java, groovy, and node.js codebases in the same multi-project without any problem, in fact, in our project it's the same structure. We have to react based on GUI which is one module then we have a couple of modules for server-side Java application. 

Since I have worked in multi-module Maven projects, it's not that difficult to manage but Gradle files are generally simpler.  Btw, if you are just starting with Maven, I suggest you first go through a comprehensive Maven course like Apache Maven: Beginner to Guru to learn some fundamentals. It will not only help you to build and deploy your Java and Spring Boot projects using Maven but also learn Maven itself in depth.

Maven vs Gradle for Beginner Java Developers

Gradle files are shorter and more concise for simple projects and also substantially simpler when your projects contain specialized one-off needs like pulling the output of a JavaScript program as a cross-project resource dependency. 

The big disadvantage of Maven is that it is not completely declarative, since it involves more than XML. You have to write plugins for anything more complicated than what can be declared with XML and not offered by other plugins.

If you ask me given I am a Maven power user, I've found Gradle to be difficult to use. It's slow and not as robust as Maven. Sometimes builds just hang for no reason and with no explanation. Maven's POM file structure is based on a schema that can't be done with JSON (or Groovy for that matter) and makes it a lot harder to create an invalid configuration. 

Since it's said, a picture is worth a thousand word, I am not going to write more but share a simple comparison of pom.xml and build.gradle, Maven, and Gradle's build file and leave up to you to decide which way you want to go?

maven vs gradle

Other Maven and Java articles you may like
  • 10 Essential Tools Every Java Developer should Learn (tools)
  • Top 10 Maven Plugin Every Java developer should know (list)
  • How to create or modify build.xml in ANT? (tutorial)
  • 3 tips to use Maven in Eclipse for Java development (tips)
  • What is the difference between Maven, ANT, and Jenkins? (answer)
  • How to install Maven in Windows 10? (steps)
  • How to fix the Maven Eclipse Dependency search not working issue? (solution)
  • How to increase the heap size of Maven? (steps)
  • How to build a Java project using ANT? (article)
  • Top 5 Apache Maven Free Books for Java developers (books)
  • Top 5 Courses to Learn Apache Maven for Developers (courses)
  • 10 Things Every Java developers should learn (skills)
  • 20 Maven Interview Questions with Answers (maven questions)

Thanks for reading this article so far, if you find this tutorial useful in learning Maven and Gradle then please share it with your friends and colleagues. If you have any questions or suggestions then please drop a comment and I'll try to find an answer for you.

P. S. - If you are looking for some free courses to learn Maven, Jenkins, and other essential tools for Java developers then I also suggest you check out this list of 10 free Courses to learn Maven, Jenkins, and Docker for Java Developers on Medium.

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