Google positions Gradle as the build system of choice for Android

New Android SDK plug-in supports developers using Gradle for Android builds

Google is moving forward with efforts to make Gradle the build system of choice for Android applications.

The company has released a plug-in for Gradle and is switching over from the Ant build system. "[Gradle is] just a lot more flexible and we have IDE integration," said Xavier Ducrohet, Google lead for Android development tools, following his presentation Friday on the new Android SDK build system at the Google I/O conference in San Francisco. The Gradle plug-in currently available is version 0.4.

Google's intentions were lauded by Android application developer James Lawrie, who builds mobile applications for the New York Times. Gradle, he said, offers flexibility and a single build system, and it removes worries about the IDE. "We're currently using Ant for command-line builds," said Lawrie, who said The Times tried to use the Maven build system, too.

The Android Tools Project Site describes Gradle as an advanced build system and advanced build toolkit, supporting custom logic through plug-ins. The new build system is intended to make it easy to reuse code and resources, to build several variants of an application, and to customize, configure, and extend. "We are working on a new build system to replace both the build system inside ADT [Android Development Tools] and Ant," the site states. The Gradle website describes the system as offering the "power and flexibility of Ant" and the dependency management and conventions of Maven.

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