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Executing Gradle builds on Travis CI#


Top engineering teams using Travis CI have been able to reduce CI build time by up to 90% by using the Gradle Build Cache. Register here for our Build Cache training session to learn how your team can achieve similar results.

Building Gradle projects doesn't stop with the developer's machine. Continuous Integration (CI) has been a long-established practice for running a build for every single change committed to version control to tighten the feedback loop.

In this guide, we'll discuss how to configure Travis CI for a typical Gradle project.

What you'll need#

  • A text editor
  • A command prompt
  • The Java Development Kit (JDK), version 1.8 or higher

Setup a typical project#

As example, this guide is going to focus on a Java-based project. More specifically, a Gradle plugin written in Java and tested with Spek. First, we'll get the project set up on your local machine before covering the same steps on CI.

Just follow these steps:

Clone the Gradle Site Plugin repository#

$ git clone
Cloning into 'gradle-site-plugin'...
$ cd gradle-site-plugin

Build the project#

As a developer of a Java project, you'll typically want to compile the source code, run the tests and assemble the JAR artifact. That's no different for Gradle plugins. The following command achieves exactly that:

$ ./gradlew build

14 actionable tasks: 14 executed

The project provides the Gradle Wrapper as part of the repository. It is a recommended practice for any Gradle project as it enables your project to be built on CI without having to install the Gradle runtime.

Build scan integration#

The sample project is equipped with support for generating build scans. Running the build with the command line option --scan renders a link in the console.

$ ./gradlew build --scan
Publishing build scan...

The following section will describe how to build the project with the help of Travis CI.

Configure Travis CI#

Travis CI is a free, cloud-based CI solution provider making it an excellent choice for open source projects. You can build any project as long as it is hosted on GitHub as a public repository. Travis CI does not provide built-in options to post-process produced artifacts of the build (e.g., host the JAR file or the HTML test reports). You will have to use external services (like S3) to transfer the files.

Create the configuration file#

Travis CI requires you to check in a configuration file with your source code named .travis.yml. This file contains all relevant instructions for building the project.

The following configuration file tells Travis CI to build a Java project with JDK 8, skip the usual default execution step, and run the Gradle build with the Wrapper.

language: java
install: skip

os: linux
dist: trusty
jdk: oraclejdk8

  - ./gradlew build --scan -s

Select the project from the Travis CI profile. After activating the repository from the dashboard, the project is ready to be built with every single commit.

Enabling a project

NOTE: Configuring build scans is especially helpful on cloud CI systems like Travis CI because it has additional environment and test results information that are difficult to obtain otherwise.

Enable caching of downloaded artifacts#

Gradle's dependency management mechanism resolves declared modules and their corresponding artifacts from a binary repository. Once downloaded, the files will be re-used from the cache. You need to tell Travis CI explicitly that you want to store and use the Gradle cache and Wrapper for successive invocations of the build.

  - rm -f $HOME/.gradle/caches/modules-2/modules-2.lock
  - rm -fr $HOME/.gradle/caches/*/plugin-resolution/

    - $HOME/.gradle/caches/
    - $HOME/.gradle/wrapper/

Further reading#

You can learn more about advanced Travis CI usage through these resources:


Executing Gradle builds on CI can be set up and configured with just a handful of steps. The benefit of receiving fast feedback clearly speaks for itself. If you are not using Travis CI, no problem, many CI products tightly integrate with Gradle as a first-class citizen.