Elegant Gradle projects for the JVM
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Elegant Gradle projects for the JVM


Aurora is a plugin for Gradle that quickly configures a JVM project hosted on GitHub, with optional support for several plugins:

Support for a plugin is enabled only if Aurora detects that such plugin has been applied to the project.

The supported languages are currently:

  • Scala

  • Groovy

  • Java

Aurora's goal is to reduce boilerplate configuration, by providing the following automatic features - enabled only when the related projects are available:

  • DSL-based configuration

  • Check project constraints (e.g.: project.description must be set)

  • Set project.ext.url to the GitHub page of the project - GitHub's project name is assumed equal to project.name

  • Set project.ext.isRelease to true if project.version ends with -SNAPSHOT

  • Set project.groupId to the string representation of project.group. It cannot be null or empty

  • Set project.artifactId to the string value of project.archivesBaseName. It cannot be null or empty, and must be lowercase

  • Initialize project.ext.facebookPage to null - if it is not already set

  • Add a generated source set, located in the src/generated directory tree, for Aurora tasks and for other plugins that generate source files and resources. Such directory is automatically removed by the cleanGenerated task as well as by the clean task

  • The output of the generated source set is added to compileClasspath and runtimeClasspath of the default source sets (main and test), as well as to run's classpath (provided by the application plugin)

  • Generate an ArtifactInfo class/object, providing information about the project. It will be located under src/generated:

    • generally, in a subpackage named according to the artifact id

    • in the root package, if the artifact id matches the last component of the root package

  • Add Maven repositories to locate dependencies; the following repositories will be added - in order:

    1. Maven local

    2. JCenter

    3. Maven Central

    4. Hephaestus

  • Setup a sources and a Javadoc jar, for Maven deployment. The actual documentation task (scaladoc, groovydoc or javadoc) is automatically inferred

  • Generate a POM including:

    • name

    • description

    • url

    • developers

    • scm

    • dependencies

  • Setup Bintray deployment, using the project information and a few sensible defaults:

    • publish = false

    • dryRun = false

    • pkg/publicDownloadNumbers = false

    • pkg/githubRepo = auroraSettings.gitHubUser/project.name

    • pkg/version/released = new Date()

    • pkg/version/gpg/sign = true

    • pkg/version/mavenCentralSync/publish = false

  • Read missing Bintray credentials from a file whose path can be declared in the BINTRAY_CREDENTIALS_FILE environment path. If existing, it must be a .properties file having one or more of the following keys:

    • bintrayUser: your Bintray user name

    • bintrayKey: the password

  • For distribution packages generated by the application plugin:

    • Include files under src/generated/dist

    • Include scripts for ensuring the required Java version is installed and run: if the user does not have at least such version, the Java download page is opened in a browser

    • For GUI applications (the default), use javaw in lieu of java on Windows

  • Starting from a mainIcon.svg file in the project directory, generate icon files:

    • as resources to be used while the program runs

    • in the dist directory, for the application plugin

  • Generate a MainIcon class to easily access the above icons

  • The checkTodo task provided by the todo plugin will fail if project.isRelease is true and there are active TODOs

  • Provide info and debug logging messages

  • Setup tasks dependencies (see the graph below)


  • cleanGenerated: deletes the src/generated directory

  • assertRelease: fails if the project.isRelease flag has been set to false (i.e., if project.version ends with -SNAPSHOT)

  • checkGit: ensures that the project's directory status is clean according to Git. It is set as a dependency of check. By default, it is added to the build graph if project.isRelease is true

  • checkDependencies: ensures that the project does not depend on any SNAPSHOT library. By default, it is added to the build graph if project.isRelease is true

  • generateArtifactInfo: generates, under src/generated, an artifact source file exposing the project information

  • generateAppDescriptor: creates a MoonDeploy app descriptor based on sensible defaults, in particular:

    • Icon named mainIcon.ico on Windows and mainIcon.png on every other system

    • Directory layout based on the application plugin

    • Base URL: project's GitHub URL/releases/latest

  • generateMainIcons: if mainIcon.svg exists in the project's root dir, this task creates, within src/generated/resources/${project.groupId}/icons the following icons by converting the original SVG:

    • mainIcon16.png

    • mainIcon32.png

    • mainIcon64.png

    • mainIcon128.png

    • mainIcon512.png

  • generateDistIcons: if mainIcon.svg exists in the project's root dir, this task creates, within src/generated/dist, 2 icons, compatible with the above generateAppDescriptor task. More precisely:

    • mainIcon.png

    • mainIcon.ico

generatePom: creates a Maven POM under build/mavenTemp

generateCustomStartupScripts: creates custom startup scripts for running the app using a suitable Java version

setupScaladoc: provides configuration in order to prevent a few warnings issued by Scaladoc

Task dependencies

Aurora introduces tasks and task dependencies - however, only if the necessary plugins have been applied when the aurora{} DSL block is run.



At the very beginning of your build script, add:

buildscript {
    repositories {

        maven {
            url 'https://dl.bintray.com/giancosta86/Hephaestus'

    dependencies {
        classpath 'info.gianlucacosta.aurora:aurora:CHOOSE_VERSION'

To apply the plugin:

apply plugin: 'info.gianlucacosta.aurora'

Aurora can be applied before or after other plugins, but its aurora{...} DSL block must occur after every apply introducing a plugin referenced by Aurora.

NOTE: when using Aurora with a language plugin - such as scala or groovy, you'll most probably need to add a generatedCompile item to your dependencies block, usually referencing the same compiler library as compile - in particular:

  • org.scala-lang:scala-library:YOUR_SCALA_VERSION for Scala

  • localGroovy() (or a specific Groovy version) for Groovy


Aurora will perform most of its configuration (excluding mainly repository and task declarations) when reaching its (mandatory) DSL block:

aurora {
    gitHubUser  = "<GitHub user id>"

    docTask = "javadoc" //or "groovydoc", or "scaladoc", ... OPTIONAL (it is inferred)

    commandLineApp = false //OPTIONAL. Default: false

    author {
        name = "<Author name>"
        email = "<Author's e-mail address>"
        url = "<Author's url - OPTIONAL>"

    customStartupScripts = true //OPTIONAL. Default: true
    commandLineApp = false //OPTIONAL. Default: false

    bintray {
        user = "<Bintray API user id - OPTIONAL>"
        key = "<Bintray API key - OPTIONAL>"

        repo = "<Target repository on Bintray>"

        licenses = ['Apache-2.0'] //The strings should follow Bintray's conventions

        labels = ["testLabel1", "testLabel2"] //Tags following Bintray's conventions

    This example makes Java 1.8.0_65 or later required to run the application.
     OPTIONAL - if missing, Aurora will inject the version of the JVM building the app
    javaVersion {
      major = 1  //Default: 0
      minor = 8 //Default: 0
      build = 0 //Default: 0
      update = 65 //Default: 0

    Execution arguments for both the JVM and the app. OPTIONAL (it defaults to empty lists)
    runArgs {
      jvm = ["-ea"] //Arguments for the JVM. OPTIONAL (defaults to an empty list)

      app = ["Alpha", "Beta"] //Arguments for the app. OPTIONAL (defaults to an empty list)


  • gitHubUser: GitHub user hosting the project. It is assumed that the repository on GitHub is named like the project (more precisely, its name must be project.name)

  • docTask: the task providing the files for the Javadoc archive. It is optional, as it is automatically inferred according to your language-related plugins. Usual values will be:

    • javadoc for Java

    • groovydoc for Groovy

    • scaladoc for Scala

  • release: determines whether the build process will create artifacts suitable for release. The default value is true. This flag controls several aspects of the plugin

  • commandLineApp: if false (the default) javaw will be used instead of java, on Windows, when generating the application distribution

  • author can be used one or more times to add authors to the project. Each author block requires:

    • name: the author's name

    • email: the author's e-mail address

    • url: the author's url. (OPTIONAL)

  • bintray: settings passed to the bintray block provided by the Bintray plugin. In particular:

    • user: the authentication user id. OPTIONAL - can be read from a properties file (see above)

    • key: the authentication key. OPTIONAL - can be read from a properties file (see above)

    • repo: the repository name

    • licenses: a list of license strings, complying with Bintray's format

    • labels: the label tags to be shown on Bintray

customStartupScripts: creates Aurora-specific startup scripts in lieu of the default ones provided by Gradle's application plugin. OPTIONAL - the default is true

javaVersion: used by the custom startup scripts to check that the required Java version (or later) is installed. If missing, the current JVM version will be chosen

runArgs: JVM- and app-related arguments. Please refer to the example configuration above for more details

Example projects

Aurora is employed in a wide variety of open source projects - both libraries and applications:

Further references