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Thursday, January 4, 2024

Why Java Developer Should Learn Maven or Gradle in 2024?

Hello guys, being a Java blogger, many Java developers ask me questions like "I am learning Java, should I also learn Maven or Gradle?" or "Is it mandatory to learn Maven to get a job as a Java developer", "Should I learn Maven or Gradle, which one is better for future?" and the less common one "Why should I learn Maven or Gradle as a Java developer?".  In the past, I have shared the best courses to learn Maven for Java developers and some useful Gradle books and courses,  as well as answered questions around Maven vs Gradle and I will try to answer these questions in this article and assert the importance of Maven and Gradle as a build tool for Java Developer.  Along the way, I will also share useful resources to learn both Maven and Gradle for Java developers. 

What is Maven or Gradle?

Maven and Gradle both are build tools similar to what ANT was but it offers more than just a build tool. The most important thing Maven offers is a project structure, which has a predefined place to put your source file, test file, and resources. 

It promotes the idea of Convention over Configuration which makes it easy to understand the project. Any Java developer can take an unknown project build over Maven and knows there to look for Java files, test files or config and resources, etc.

The second major advantage of using Maven is automatic dependency management, you don't need to download each and every JAR file manually which your project needs,s and mind it, real-world Java projects use 100s of JAR files.

This advantage is a plugin for everything. You can create a ZIP or tar file using the plugin, can create a WAR and EAR file, can directly deploy the artifact to configure the host, can save it in your internal repository.

Gradle is another build tool that is similar to Maven but instead of XML, it uses Groovy to define its build file which is much more readable and concise. Similar to Maven it also provides a project structure and dependency management, including the transitive dependency. 

For example, if you download Spring 5.0 JAR then you don't need all the JARs which is required by Spring 5.0, Maven or Gradle both will pull all the dependent JARs like Log4j, HttpClient.jar and their correct version for you. 

This is the single most reason, Java developers should learn Maven or Gradle as a build tool. You will need this knowledge to work as a professional JAva developer on real-world projects which use either Maven or Gradle to build their artifacts like JAR and WAR files. 

If you want to learn Maven and need a resource then I highly recommend you to join Apache Maven: Beginner to Guru course by John Thompson on Udemy. It's a great course to learn Apache Maven in depth. 

Why Java Developer Should Learn Maven or Gradle?

I am learning Java, should I also learn Maven or Gradle?

Initially, when you learn Java you don't really need to learn Maven or Gradle, as it will make your learning complicated, first, try to execute  Java programs on interactive websites like Educative and CodeCademy whose Java courses allow you to practice Java coding online. 

Once you understand a little bit of Java, the next step is to set up your own Java environment and learn to work in IDEs like Eclipse or IntelliJ IDEA. You can spend some time here until you get familiar with IDE and things like running and debugging Java programs. 

After that, you can try compiling and running the Java program from the command prompt, which's very low level but very important if you want to really master Java. Well, I kind of learned that as a first step and it was hard but now you have the luxury of interactive websites and IDEs so you can learn it later but make sure you learn it. 

After this step, I advise you to start learning Maven or Gradle, first use them inside your IDE because that's easier than using them from the command prompt, once you get hold of them you can try running Maven and Gradle command from the command line. 

In short, Yes, you should learn Maven or Gradle while learning Java because it will help a lot in long run. Most of the commercial and real project uses Maven or Gradle for build, release and dependency management.

At this point in time, I recommend you to prioritize Gradle over Maven because of its cleaner build files, I really loved those clean and concise Gradle build files. It's easier to find dependencies and get an idea about the whole project. 

If you want to learn Gradle in-depth and need a resource then I suggest you check out The Gradle Masterclass course by Bruce E. Hilton on Udemy. It's a hands-on course to learn Gradle for Java developers. 

why java developer should learn Gradle

Is it mandatory to learn Maven to get a job as a Java developer?

No, it's not mandatory but it's more likely that you will need it and if you know it also provides a competitive advantage of another candidate who has applied for the same but doesn't know Maven.

Sometimes project manager also looks for exact skills used in their project so if don't include Maven or Gradle in your resume, you might miss calls for those opportunities

The bottom line is as a professional Java developer you should learn all essential tools to do your job professionally and efficiently and Maven is one of them. 

You can choose to learn either Maven or Gradle but having basic knowledge of both of them is required because you will bound to work on different Java projects with different tech stacks in your career. Some of them will use Maven and others, more recent ones will use Gradle. 

Why Java developers should learn Maven or Gradle in 2024?

You should learn Maven because it will help you to better manage your Java project. You don't need to find and download JAR files manually. If you are dependent on a core library internally developed by your company and always want to include an updated version of that library, you can automate this process by using Maven.

By learning Maven you can easily share your project with anyone in the world who knows Maven, it's much earlier to understand and work on Maven-based projects than the one without it. 

Even you will be happy to work on a project build over Maven. Though there are alternative like ANT and Gradle even though ANT is more powerful and rule the Java world as a most preferred built tool it's not as easy as Maven and doesn't offer key advantage like predefined project structure, automatic dependency management, and plugin to do everything.

The choice between Maven and Gradle often depends on the specific needs and preferences of the development team. As of 2024, it's essential to consider the latest updates and trends in the Java community.

Ultimately, there isn't a one-size-fits-all answer, and both Maven and Gradle are capable build tools. Many projects successfully use either tool based on their specific requirements and team preferences. It might be beneficial to conduct a small proof of concept or trial to see which tool aligns better with your project's needs and the preferences of your development team.

But bottom line is that you should learn a build tool, be it Maven or Gradle in 2024, its essential for any Java developer. 

And, here is a nice table which compares Maven and Gradle on various parameters:

Maven vs Gradle

That's all about why a Java developer should learn Maven or Gradle. It's not mandatory to learn Maven, Gradle, or ANT, or any other build tool to get a Java job but it's the one tool that will help you a lot, both in your learning as well as in your Job. 

From my experience, I can say that you will save a lot of time just by using Maven for dependency management. In past, I have gone through the pain of manually searching and downloading JAR file and putting them into CLASSPATH, believe it takes a lot of your time and effort. 

Ever since I used Maven, I don't have to bother with that. Another thing that has also made a lot of impacts is the consistent project structure, it's much easier to find test files, source files, config files, and other resources. 

Thanks for reading this article so far. If you find this article and my explanation of Maven and Gradle's importance for Java developers useful then please share it with your friends and colleagues. If you have any questions or feedback then please drop a note. 

P. S. - If you are looking for some gift ideas for your programmer friend this holiday season, then you can check out my list of the 10 best gifts for programmers and tech geeks.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Gradle is new compared to Maven so by that logic, one should learn Gradle in 2024, its also concise

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