Buck vs Gradle vs Apache Maven

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Apache Maven

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Apache Maven vs Buck vs Gradle: What are the differences?


Apache Maven, Buck, and Gradle are all build automation tools used in software development. They help in managing and building large-scale projects efficiently. However, there are key differences between them that make each tool unique and suitable for different scenarios.

  1. Dependency Management:

    • Apache Maven: Maven uses a centralized repository for dependency management. It relies on the concept of a Project Object Model (POM), which is an XML file that defines the project structure and dependencies.
    • Buck and Gradle: Both Buck and Gradle allow for more flexible dependency management. They support multiple repositories and provide options to define dependencies using different formats like Maven repositories, local files, or other remote repositories.
  2. Build Performance:

    • Apache Maven: Maven follows a sequential build process, which can be slow for large projects with many modules. Maven builds the project in a top-down approach, which can lead to unnecessary rebuilding of unaffected modules.
    • Buck and Gradle: Both Buck and Gradle offer incremental builds, which significantly improve build performance. They analyze the codebase and only rebuild the necessary components, resulting in faster build times, especially for large-scale projects.
  3. Build Configuration:

    • Apache Maven: Maven works based on conventions and predefined plugins. It requires a specific project structure and relies on predefined lifecycle phases (clean, compile, test, package, etc.) to execute different tasks.
    • Buck and Gradle: Both Buck and Gradle provide more flexibility in build configuration. They support custom scripts and allow for fine-grained control over the build process. This makes them more suitable for complex projects with specific build requirements.
  4. Build Caching:

    • Apache Maven: Maven supports build caching at the dependency level. It checks the local repository for the presence of dependencies and only downloads them if necessary.
    • Buck and Gradle: Both Buck and Gradle offer advanced build caching mechanisms. They cache not only dependencies but also compiled code, resources, and intermediate build artifacts. This significantly reduces build time, especially for incremental builds.
  5. Language Compatibility:

    • Apache Maven: Maven is primarily used for Java projects, although it can also handle other JVM languages like Scala or Groovy.
    • Buck and Gradle: Both Buck and Gradle support a wide range of languages beyond just Java. They provide better support for multi-language projects and have built-in support for popular languages like Kotlin, Swift, Python, and more.
  6. Build Tools Ecosystem:

    • Apache Maven: Maven has been around for a long time and has a large community and ecosystem built around it. It has a vast number of plugins available for various tasks like code quality checks, testing frameworks, packaging options, etc.
    • Buck and Gradle: While Buck and Gradle have smaller ecosystems compared to Maven, they still have a good number of plugins and community support. They are gaining popularity, especially for performance-critical projects or those requiring multi-language support.

In summary, Apache Maven, Buck, and Gradle differ in their dependency management approach, build performance, build configuration flexibility, build caching mechanisms, language compatibility, and the size of their respective ecosystems. The choice between these tools depends on the specific project requirements and priorities.

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Pros of Buck
Pros of Gradle
Pros of Apache Maven
  • 4
  • 1
  • 1
  • 1
    Runs on OSX
  • 1
    Windows Support
  • 110
  • 51
    Easy to use
  • 47
    Groovy dsl
  • 22
    Slow build time
  • 10
    Crazy memory leaks
  • 8
    Fast incremental builds
  • 5
    Kotlin DSL
  • 1
    Windows Support
  • 138
    Dependency management
  • 70
    Necessary evil
  • 60
    I’d rather code my app, not my build
  • 48
    Publishing packaged artifacts
  • 43
    Convention over configuration
  • 18
  • 11
    Consistency across builds
  • 6
    Prevents overengineering using scripting
  • 4
    Runs Tests
  • 4
    Lot of cool plugins
  • 3
  • 2
    Hard to customize
  • 2
    Runs on Linux
  • 1
    Runs on OS X
  • 1
    Slow incremental build
  • 1
    Inconsistent buillds
  • 1
  • 1
    Good IDE tooling

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Cons of Buck
Cons of Gradle
Cons of Apache Maven
  • 2
    Lack of Documentation
  • 1
    Learning Curve
  • 8
    Inactionnable documentation
  • 6
    It is just the mess of Ant++
  • 4
    Hard to decide: ten or more ways to achieve one goal
  • 2
    Bad Eclipse tooling
  • 2
    Dependency on groovy
  • 6
  • 1
    Inconsistent buillds
  • 0
    Not many plugin-alternatives

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What is Buck?

Buck encourages the creation of small, reusable modules consisting of code and resources, and supports a variety of languages on many platforms.

What is Gradle?

Gradle is a build tool with a focus on build automation and support for multi-language development. If you are building, testing, publishing, and deploying software on any platform, Gradle offers a flexible model that can support the entire development lifecycle from compiling and packaging code to publishing web sites.

What is Apache Maven?

Maven allows a project to build using its project object model (POM) and a set of plugins that are shared by all projects using Maven, providing a uniform build system. Once you familiarize yourself with how one Maven project builds you automatically know how all Maven projects build saving you immense amounts of time when trying to navigate many projects.

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