Best Java Build Tools For Developers [2024]

Best Java Build Tools For Developers [2024]

Build tools are essential for effectively managing the intricacies of efficiently generating, testing, and packaging code in Java development. Just like automation testing tools help automate the testing of software applications, build tools automate the process of creating apps. 

These solutions improve the efficiency and manageability of the development lifecycle. Java build tools, including Apache Maven, Gradle, and Ant, give developers strong capabilities to manage dependencies, specify project topologies, and carry out different activities with ease.

Moreover, Java build tools are closely integrated with automation testing, which is an essential component of contemporary software development. By making testing frameworks like JUnit, TestNG, and Mockito easier to integrate into the build process, developers can automate test execution and guarantee the stability and dependability of their software. By integrating automation testing, developers can identify issues with the build process.

Join us as we examine the newest trends and insights from industry experts as we go deeper into the domain of build automation and find the finest Java build tools for your projects. 

Let’s get started!

Importance of Build Tools in Java Development

Build tools are essential to Java development because they provide a streamlined method for effectively managing, compiling, testing, and deploying Java applications. The following justifies the significance of build tools in Java development:

  1. Automated Dependency Management

Java programs frequently rely on third-party dependencies and libraries. Build technologies that automatically manage dependencies, like Gradle and Apache Maven, and ensure that the necessary libraries are downloaded and incorporated into the project without any problems.

  1. Consistent Build Process

Build tools, which work with many platforms and development environments, make a standardized and uniform build process possible. This uniformity guarantees that everyone in the team follows the same build steps and helps to minimize errors.

  1. Efficient Compilation

Build tools to efficiently assemble source code into executable binaries. They drastically cut down on compilation time, especially for large projects, using incremental compilation techniques to recompile only the updated files.

  1. Automated Testing

Build tools integrate with testing frameworks like JUnit and TestNG to provide automated testing. They allow developers to perform unit tests, integration tests, and other types of testing as part of the build process, assuring the software’s dependability and caliber.

  1. Dependency Resolution

Build tools make sure that the right library versions are used throughout the project by hierarchically resolving dependencies. By doing this, compatibility problems can be avoided, and it is guaranteed that the program will work as intended with the listed dependencies.

  1. Build Lifecycle Management

Build tools provide a series of steps or jobs that must be completed in a particular order. Developers can incorporate operations like compilation, testing, packaging, and deployment into the build lifecycle, tailoring it to their project’s needs.

  1.  Ease of Collaboration

Build tools that offer a consistent project structure and build configuration, facilitating team collaboration. So, there’s no question they can save the time of software engineers as they can easily collaborate on features, exchange code, and give uniformity to the project.

  1. Integration with Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) Pipelines

The automation methods imply a language integration for the automated development, testing, and deployment of Java applications that smoothly fit into CI/CD systems. It facilitates a fast and iterative development process by guaranteeing that changes are vetted and sent to production settings promptly.

To sum up, build tools are essential to Java development because they provide automation, consistency, efficiency, and teamwork features that improve development teams’ overall productivity and streamline the software development lifecycle.

Top Java Build Tools for Developers

  1. Apache Maven

One of the most popular build tools in the Java platform is definitely Apache Maven, hammering all other contenders. It simplifies the process for the developers as they have just to present their code with configuration over convention. Developers can, therefore, successfully apply Agile to projects by adopting a set of programming models to define project structures, dependencies, and build actions. Developers of Java frequently make use of Maven as a tool of the trade that hints at a tactic to accelerate the development cycle and ensure project sustainability.

Key Features and Benefits

  • Dependency management: Maven makes it easier to declare and resolve dependencies, which makes it possible to integrate third-party libraries seamlessly.
  • Convention over configuration: Maven reduces the need for manual configuration by adhering to established norms.
  • Plugin ecosystem: Maven has an extensive library of plugins that cover every facet of the development lifecycle, thereby expanding its functionality.
  1. Gradle

Gradle has now gained ground with Maven and is considered a solid alternative to be used in the area of automation. The build process is improved, and time is cut as well. It is worth noting that Gradle uses a Groovy-based DSL that enables programmers to create bulky and complex build scripts, unlike Maven’s reliance on XML configuration. Being versatile, Gradle can be configured to handle various build scenarios and numerous customization choices, among others; therefore, it could be the perfect choice for upcoming projects regardless of its size and level of complexity. More specifically, Gradle has been a game-changer due to its optimized incremental builds and extensive dependency management. It is not difficult to understand why Gradle gained popularity and became efficient to be applied in a Java domain and even beyond.

Key Features and Benefits

  • Performance: Build times are reduced by Gradle’s incremental build functionality, which only recompiles changed source files.
  • Flexibility: Gradle integrates with a wide range of tools and libraries with ease because of its adaptable plugin design.
  • Gradle Kotlin DSL: Gradle offers improved readability and type safety by supporting Kotlin DSL as an alternative to Groovy.
  1. Cmake

CMake is a free and open-source toolset for building, testing, and packaging software across platforms. GitLab undergoes perpetual maintenance every day, with over 62,000 commits already from developers. You can find the locations of the included files and libraries using CMake’s FindJava module.

Shaders, audio, and other materials can all be compiled with CMake. The steps to collect the assets can be specified using the CMake programming language. After that, automate the procedure with a CMake build script. One can interactively debug the CMake language with CMake. It lets you see the values of variables and expressions as you walk through the CMake build process line by line.

  1. Jenkins

Jenkins is a highly esteemed Java build tool. It is unique because it is an open-source automation server made to make the build process more manageable for various apps, including Java-based ones. Software development is automated using Jenkins, which smoothly integrates with many version control systems, including Git and Subversion. Jenkins can create pipelines, which enables users to start building projects and smoothly move them across testing environments. Due to its adaptability and broad support, Jenkins is a well-liked option for continuous integration and deployment workflows in Java development and beyond.

Furthermore, using cloud-based platforms has many benefits. Integrating Jenkins with your test scripts can be challenging. Fortunately, LambdaTest, an AI-powered test orchestration and execution platform that simplifies the procedure, can help you overcome this difficulty. 

LambdaTest is an AI-powered test orchestration and execution platform that provides various project management capabilities, including bug-tracking tools. It can effectively manage testing workflows with the Jenkins plugin. Developers can still leverage test automation and ensure smooth coordination between build processes and testing environments using LambdaTest alongside Jenkins. This approach allows teams to produce quality Java-based software applications with increased dependability and efficiency.

  1. Apache Ant

Apache Ant is another viable choice for building Java applications, especially for legacy projects. Through XML-based build files, Ant offers a foundation for build automation that is adaptable and customized. It is appropriate for a variety of project requirements since it provides an extensive range of built-in processes for building, testing, packaging, and distributing Java programs. While Maven and Gradle, two more recent build tools, have become more well-liked for their convention-over-configuration methodology and improved functionality, Ant is still useful for projects that need fine control over the build process or for those where switching to more recent tools is not practical.

  1. Apache Ivy

With its sophisticated dependency management features, Apache Ivy enhances Apache Ant and Apache Maven. With its ability to resolve, retrieve, and seamlessly integrate external libraries into the build process, it’s a potent tool that aids in managing project dependencies. Ivy’s smooth integration with Ant and Maven enables developers to take advantage of its functionalities in their current build processes. Developers can ensure seamless and successful project development and maintenance by using Ivy to describe dependencies, handle transitive dependencies, and effectively regulate versioning. Because of its resilience and adaptability, Ivy is an excellent tool for projects requiring complex dependency management solutions.

  1. TeamCity

One of the greatest Java build tools for Configuration-as-Code is thought to be TeamCity. You can use scripts to automate processes like deploying code, performing tests, and informing team members of build findings in addition to replicating and automating your builds.

The actions required to create your Java projects, as well as the appropriate triggers and failure situations, can be automatically identified by TeamCity.

Additionally, it supports both Oracle Java and OpenJDK, allowing you to use the CI/CD server that best suits your requirements. You can design your pipeline by dragging and dropping stages in the TeamCity visual pipeline editor. TeamCity can be set up in the cloud or on-site. While the cloud option is more manageable and scalable, the on-premises alternative offers you greater control over your environment.

  1. MSBuild

As the best Java build tool, MSBuild is preferred by many developers. MSBuild is an open-source program for source code construction. Although it comes packed with Visual Studio, you can get it individually as well. It’s mostly used for writing.NET code and is frequently used alongside other Microsoft tools like Visual Studio.

MSBuild can be used to run Ant or Maven builds from Team Foundation Server (TFS) for Java projects. You can accomplish this by using a collection of tools provided by the Team Foundation Build Extensions (TFBSE).


To sum up, there is a wide range of Java build tool options available, each meeting the unique needs, tastes, and complexity levels of various projects. The software development lifecycle can be streamlined by developers using a variety of technologies, such as the versatile Apache Ant, the versatile Gradle, and the reliable Apache Maven.

Because they automate dependency management, provide consistent build procedures, enable effective compilation, and integrate easily with testing frameworks, these build tools are essential to modern Java programming. Also these build tools precisely the continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines and the developer collaboration inside the team.

It is becoming all the more important for developers to follow the most recent advancements made in automating their build processes as the field of software development keeps evolving. Developers have the choice of which tool to select, which could be Ant for ultimate control, Maven’s convention-over-configuration, and Gradle’s performance.

Additionally, the productivity and dependability of Java applications are improved by integrating cloud-based systems like Jenkins with tools like LambdaTest, enabling teams to produce high-quality software confidently.

In today’s dynamic and competitive software development world, developers may effectively optimize development workflows, boost productivity, and ultimately create robust and scalable software solutions by leveraging the capabilities of these Java build tools.

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