List of Popular Open Source Java Build Tools

List of Popular Open Source Java Build Tools

In this article, we will look into a few popular and widely used, open-source java build tools with its pros and cons.

Java Build Tools

  1. Ant with ivy
  2. Maven
  3. Gradle

Apache Ant with ivy

Ant is a java library, which helps to drive the process defined in the build file.
Mainly Ant is used to build java applications. Ant is very flexible, it does not impose any rules like coding conventions, directory structure. Ivy is a subproject of Ant, which acts as a dependency manager.

Here you can refer some ant scripts: Ant Scripts

Apache Maven

Maven is more than a build tool. Maven even describes how software is built and helps in dependency management also. Maven is used mainly for java based projects.

Also Read: Beginners Guide To Java Continuous Integration With Jenkins


Gradle is built upon the concepts of ant and maven. Gradle uses Groovy scripts for declaring project configuration. Gradle was designed for multi-project builds and supports incremental builds by determining which parts of the build are up-to-date.

Ant is mostly treated as legacy right now. Industry going forward with Gradle build tool. I personally feel, Ant and Maven still we can use, it mainly depends on the project. Sometimes we can use a combination of Ant and Gradle, Maven and Gradle, or even three together.

ANT vs Maven:

Let me share with you some of the important differences between ANT and Maven.

  1. ANT – we need to provide information about the project structure whereas Maven has a convention to place source code, compiled code, packages etc., So for Maven we no need to provide information about the project.
  2. Maven has a life cycle of the build process, whereas ANT does not have.
  3. Maven is a framework and Ant is just a tool.
  4. Ant is mainly for build tool and Maven is mainly project management tool.
  5. Ant is less preferred and Maven is more preferred than Ant.

Maven vs Gradle :

Let me share with you some of important features or reasons, which Gradle is having and Maven does not have. These features promoting Gradle to choose over other build tools.

  1. When it comes to the performance, Gradle has features like Incremental build and Compiler Daemon, which increases dramatic speed and reduced build time.
  2. Ant integration with Gradle works very well.
  3. Google adopted Gradle as the default build tool for android projects. so Gradle has more support for better building Android projects.
  4. Gradle releases a new version usually every 6 to 8 weeks and adds new features every release.

For a more and detailed comparison between Maven and Gradle. Please refer to this link. 


In this article, we have learned about some of the popular open-source java build tools. Selecting a build tool for your java projects depends on your choice. If you have any queries regarding the build tools, leave a comment below.

  1. The java programming language is based on the syntax of C and C++ but has a simpler object model. Though it provides very little lower level functionality.

  2. First, thanks for providing information.
    My question is, if i want to use java, spring, JPA, apache camel, infinispan cache, jboss server.
    Which one should i use?

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