Dependency Management Basics
This chapter introduces some of the basics of dependency management in Gradle.
What is dependency management?
Very roughly, dependency management is made up of two pieces. Firstly, Gradle needs to
know about the things that your project needs to build or run, in order to find them. We call these incoming
files the dependencies of the project.
Secondly, Gradle needs to build and upload the things that your project produces. We call these outgoing files
the publications of the project. Let's look at these two pieces in more detail:
Most projects are not completely self-contained. They need files built by other projects in order to
be compiled or tested and so on. For example, in order to use Hibernate in my project, I need to include some
Hibernate jars in the classpath when I compile my source. To run my tests, I might also need to include some
additional jars in the test classpath, such as a particular JDBC driver or the Ehcache jars.
These incoming files form the dependencies of the project.
Gradle allows you to tell it what the dependencies of your project are, so that it can take care of
finding these dependencies, and making them available in your build.
The dependencies might need to be downloaded from a remote Maven or Ivy repository, or located in a local directory, or
may need to be built by another project in the same multi-project build.
We call this process dependency resolution.
Often, the dependencies of a project will themselves have dependencies. For example, Hibernate core requires
several other libraries to be present on the classpath with it runs. So, when Gradle runs the tests for your
project, it also needs to find these dependencies and make them available. We call these transitive dependencies.
The main purpose of most projects is to build some files that are to be used outside the project.
For example, if your project produces a java library, you need to build a jar, and maybe a source jar and
some documentation, and publish them somewhere.
These outgoing files form the publications of the project. Gradle also takes care of this important work for you. You declare the
publications of your project, and Gradle take care of building them and publishing them somewhere.
Exactly what "publishing" means depends on what you want to do. You might want to copy the files to a local directory,
or upload them to a remote Maven or Ivy repository. Or you might use the files in another project in the same
We call this process publication.
Declaring your dependencies
Let's look at some dependency declarations. Here's a basic build script:
What's going on here? This build script says a few things about the project.
Firstly, it states that Hibernate core 3.6.7.Final is required
to compile the project's production source. By implication, Hibernate core and its dependencies are also required
The build script also states that any junit >= 4.0 is required to compile the project's tests.
It also tells Gradle to look in the Maven central repository for any dependencies that are required.
The following sections go into the details.
Dependency configurationsIn Gradle dependencies are grouped into configurations. A configuration is simply a named set of dependencies.
We will refer to them as dependency configurations. You can use them to declare the external dependencies of your project.
As we will see later, they are also used to declare the publications of your project.
The Java plugin defines a number of standard configurations. These configurations represent the classpaths that the
Java plugin uses. Some are listed below, and you can find more details in .
compileThe dependencies required to compile the production source of the project.runtime
The dependencies required by the production classes at runtime. By default, also includes the
compile time dependencies.
The dependencies required to compile the test source of the project. By default, also includes
the compiled production classes and the compile time dependencies.
The dependencies required to run the tests. By default, also includes the compile, runtime and test compile
Various plugins add further standard configurations. You can also define your own custom configurations to use in your
build. Please see for the details of defining and customizing dependency configurations.
External dependenciesThere are various types of dependencies that you can declare. One such type is an external dependency.
This a dependency on some files built outside the current build, and stored in a repository of some kind, such as Maven central, or
a corporate Maven or Ivy repository, or a directory in the local file system.
To define an external dependency, you add it to a dependency configuration:
An external dependency is identified using group, name and version attributes.
Depending on which kind of repository you are using, group and version may be optional.
There is a shortcut form for declaring external dependencies, which uses a string of the form "group:name:version".
To find out more about defining and working with dependencies, have a look at .Repositories
How does Gradle find the files for external dependencies? Gradle looks for them in a repository.
A repository is really just a collection of files, organized by group, name and
version. Gradle understands several different repository formats, such as Maven and Ivy, and several
different ways of accessing the repository, such as using the local file system or HTTP.
By default, Gradle does not define any repositories. You need to define at least one before you can use external dependencies.
One option is use the Maven central repository:Or a remote Maven repository:Or a remote Ivy repository:You can also have repositories on the local file system. This works for both Maven and Ivy repositories.A project can have multiple repositories. Gradle will look for a dependency in each repository in the order they are specified, stopping
at the first repository that contains the requested module.
To find out more about defining and working with repositories, have a look at .Publishing artifacts
Dependency configurations are also used to publish files.We think this is confusing, and we are gradually teasing apart the two concepts in the Gradle DSL.
We call these files publication artifacts, or usually just artifacts.
The plugins do a pretty good job of defining the artifacts of a project, so you usually don't need to do anything special to tell Gradle
what needs to be published. However, you do need to tell Gradle where to publish the artifacts. You do this by attaching repositories
to the uploadArchives task. Here's an example of publishing to a remote Ivy repository:
Now, when you run gradle uploadArchives, Gradle will build and upload your Jar.
Gradle will also generate and upload an ivy.xml as well.
You can also publish to Maven repositories. The syntax is slightly different.We are working to make the syntax consistent for resolving from and publishing to Maven repositories.
Note that you also need to apply the Maven plugin in order to publish to a Maven repository. In this instance, Gradle
will generate and upload a pom.xml.
To find out more about publication, have a look at .Where to next?
For all the details of dependency resolution, see , and for artifact publication see .
If you are interested in the DSL elements mentioned here, have a look at ,
Otherwise, continue on to some of the other tutorials.