Keeping Gradle up-to-date

Gradle is an awesome build tool, and I am always looking forward to new versions to enjoy the latest features, performance improvements and bug fixes. Actually, forget what I’ve said about bugfixes: Gradle works like a charm.

I could just check Gradle’s distributions page periodically, or subscribe to their releases on GitHub to get notified about new versions faster. And I actually do that from time to time when I need to know the latest available version. But how can I keep Gradle up-to-date in the existing codebases?

I suppose, the easiest solution that does not involve using third-party services like Snyk (BTW, I am not sure they can track version of the build tool) is to automate the check in your CI pipeline. Here is an example for GitLab:

  stage: Test # (1)
  image: openjdk:12 # (2)
  dependencies: [] # (3)
    - gradle_version=$(./gradlew --version | sed -rn 's/^Gradle (.+)$/\1/p') # (4)
    - latest_gradle_version=$(curl | python2 -c 'import json,sys;print json.load(sys.stdin)["version"]') # (5)
    - echo $gradle_version
    - echo $latest_gradle_version # (6)
    - '[[ $gradle_version == $latest_gradle_version ]]' # (7)
  allow_failure: true # (8)
  1. Defines a job named gradle-version to be run during Test stage.

  2. Specifies Docker image to be used for this job.

  3. Disables artifact passing (it’s just another way to say "speeds up the build and saves some money").

  4. Parses ./gradlew --version output and extracts Gradle’s version, like 5.5.1.

  5. Parses the latest published Gradle’s version. jq could be used for that, but it’s not available in the image unlike Python 2.

  6. I believe that println is one of the best ways to debug.

  7. Compares the versions. Quotes are needed for YML to be valid.

  8. Allows the check above to fail without failing the whole build.

That’s it! This way I’m automatically checking Gradle’s version on every build and see a warning when the version is not equal to the latest published stable release.

Thanks for reading to the end. May you builds be green!

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