When Android was initially released, Google developed a build system based on Apache Ant as part of the SDK. Ant is an established technology with several years of enhancements and a huge community of contributors. Over the years, other build systems emerged, some becoming popular with thriving communities. Among these build systems, Gradle emerged as the next evolutionary step for Java development. This chapter explores Gradle and gives examples of how to best use it for developing and maintaining your Android apps.
Before expounding on Gradle, this chapter explains what a build system is and why you might need improvements on the existing build system. The process of creating apps or any software has historically involved ...