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Continuously integrate while you work. Run those tests without thinking. It's the ying to your testing yang, baby.


Because once on Guard you become hooked. No need to manually run your tests -- they are run automatically when a file changes.

What's Guard you ask? Good question Ruby tyro.

Guard is a command line tool to easily handle events on file system modifications.


It's assumed you're more familiar with Java than you are with Ruby (after all, this is a Gradle tool, right?!); consequently, it's super easy to get going with Guard::Gradle provided you have Ruby installed.

Open up a terminal and type:

$ ruby -v
ruby 2.0.0p451 (2014-02-24 revision 45167) [universal.x86_64-darwin13]

If you see something like ruby: command not found then you need to install Ruby.

For those who want to get going ASAP

We've made this super easy. Open up a terminal, cd to your desired project, and type:

curl | bash -

It's important you do this in the root directory of a project you wish to use Gradle::Guard in. This plugin is designed to work on individual project instances, much like a build.gradle file is unique to a project.

The above script will install:

  • Bundler
  • Guard::Gradle
  • Create default Guard file
  • Create a Guard launcher script

Therefore, after you run the command above, you'll be left with a script dubbed -- just execute that script to start Guard::Gradle!

For those familiar w/Ruby

Guard::Gradle is intended to work with project instances; accordingly, you'll need to follow these steps for each project.

If you already haven't installed Bundler, go ahead and install it (sudo gem install bundler).

In the root of your project, create a Gemfile that looks like:

source ''
gem 'guard-gradle'

Save the file and then run:

$ bundle install --path vendor

Then create a Guardfile with the recommended configuration by running:

$ bundle exec guard init gradle

The default Guardfile will look like this:

guard :gradle do
  watch(%r{^src/main/(.+)\.*$}) { |m| m[1].split('.')[0].split('/')[-1] }

For those who give a flip: watch watches all files in the src/main directory of your project and if a file happens to change, the corresponding file is parsed out -- i.e. src/main/groovy/org/github/aglover/prattle/Prattle.groovy becomes Prattle. The resultant file name is then passed into the Gradle test task (more or less -- see usage details below for exact behavior).


To fire up Guard, type:

$ bundle exec guard

(I highly recommend you alias bundle exec to be)

This Guard plugin simply runs the test task on your Gradle project; the exact command it runs is:

./gradlew test

Note, the plugin will try and execute the exact corresponding test for a changed file.

For example, if you change the file DataCentuar.groovy, if there is a corresponding DataCentuarTest or DataCentuarSpec only that test is executed via the Gradle parameter. Otherwise, if no analogous test is found, the entire test suite is run.

Multi-project builds

If you have a multi-project build, you can still use Guard::Gradle. You'll need to edit your Guardfile slightly by adding a special multi_project flag and passing in the project names. For instance, if you have a multi-project with two projects named "Foo" and "Bar", your Guardfile will need to look like so:

guard :gradle, multi_project: true do
  watch(%r{^Foo/src/main/(.+)\.*$}) { |m|  "Foo/" +  m[1].split('.')[0].split('/')[-1]}
  watch(%r{^Bar/src/main/(.+)\.*$}) { |m|  "Bar/" +  m[1].split('.')[0].split('/')[-1] }

Be sure to have this Guardfile in the root of your project.

Configurable command/task/flags

If you want to customize how gradle runs, there are several configuration flags available.

  • command specifies the command line program to run. Can be useful if your team wants to use globally installed gradle instead of the gradle wrapper. Default is ./gradlew
  • task specifies the gradle task. Default is test
  • flags allows additional gradle command line flags, such as --quiet, --stacktrace or others. Default is false (no flags)

For example, if you want to run with quiet logging, using a global gradle, and the cleanTest test gradle task, your Guardfile would look something like this:

guard :gradle, command: 'gradle', task: 'cleanTest test', flags: '--quiet' do
  watch(%r{^src/main/(.+)\.*$}) { |m| m[1].split('.')[0].split('/')[-1] }


Guard works natively with Growl. There are other options as well -- feel free to check out the Guard wiki page for more information.

For instance, as I use Growl, I have updated my Gemfile to include gem 'growl'. After a bundle install I can then update my Guardfile with this line: notification :growl, which will force Guard to use Growl (instead of any default notifiers).


  1. Fork it
  2. Create your feature branch (git checkout -b my-new-feature)
  3. Commit your changes (git commit -am 'Add some feature')
  4. Push to the branch (git push origin my-new-feature)
  5. Create new Pull Request