Monday, November 30, 2009

Gradle, my new build tool?

Last week, i had the pleasure of attending the JavaEdge conference. The keynote speaker was Ted Neward, and you could read his thoughts about the conference here. I enjoyed his lecture very much whose theme was that new programming languages in the VM is the future and we should all get used to it and get comfortable with it.

One of the sessions that i attended was “Your Next Successful Build”, given by Baruch Sadogursky, who used a slick tool instead of Powerpoint for his presentation, though it was a bit dizzying. I was happy that for the first time, i heard someone say some of my heretical thoughts – that while Maven has a lot of positive, it has many warts, mostly for the reasons of lack of documentation as well as dependency management. As a side note, i  was amazed to see that statistics show that 44% of companies are using Maven, which probably means they are spending countless hours debugging build issues!  It was also refreshing to hear him mention the pros of Ant as well as something he wants to be able to continue to use in his new build environment. But the most exciting part was to hear from Baruch that there is a tool out there that answers the call and it is Gradle. On the one hand, we like the standardization of the file layout of maven, but Gradle adds in better documentation (200 pages!!!), and the ability to use a scripting language, Groovy, which also means you automatically have full access to Ant via Groovy. And of course, he says that dependency management has been fixed as compared to Maven 2. I am hoping to try it out in my next project.

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