Gradle GUI

I’m really enjoying the Gradle build tool for my JVM-based projects. All of our Coursera VLSI CAD course backend software is built, tested and deployed using Gradle.

One feature that I just discovered recently is the Gradle GUI feature. In short, Gradle comes bundled with a very simple GUI, as can be seen below:

At first glance, I was quite impressed by it since no other build tool that I have used comes with a GUI built-in. It’s probably useful for new users of Gradle who might be less familiar with its options. Or it could be useful for taking a quick glance at the list of tasks and their descriptions for bigger projects.

Unfortunately, this feature seems to be less important and useful for intermediate and advanced users of Gradle. As you use Gradle more, you begin to remember most of its usual commands and the names of your own custom commands. Even if you don’t remember them, it’s usually easier to just use the history function of your shell (up and down arrows) to recall a particular command or to use a gradle shell plug-in for auto-completion.

One feature that I think might be useful to add to the GUI for both new and old users of Gradle would be some form of a dependency tree structure. Those things are hard to “visualize” from just reading the build.gradle file and having a graph of that (e.g., the Gradle Java plug-in relationship between task diagram) would be useful.

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