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Is it possible to declare a variable in Gradle usable in Java?

Posted by: admin November 2, 2017 Leave a comment


Is it possible to declare a variable in Gradle usable in Java ?
Basically I would like to declare some vars in the build.gradle and then getting it (obviously) at build time. Just like a pre-processor macros in C/C++…

An example of declaration would be something like that … :

android {
    debug {
    release {

Is there a way to do something like that ?


Generate Java Constants

android {
    buildTypes {
        debug {
            buildConfigField "int", "FOO", "42"
            buildConfigField "String", "FOO_STRING", "\"foo\""
            buildConfigField "boolean", "LOG", "true"

        release {
            buildConfigField "int", "FOO", "52"
            buildConfigField "String", "FOO_STRING", "\"bar\""
            buildConfigField "boolean", "LOG", "false"

You can access them with BuildConfig.FOO

Generate Android resources

android {
    buildTypes {
            resValue "string", "app_name", "My App Name Debug"
        release {
            resValue "string", "app_name", "My App Name"

You can access them in the usual way with @string/app_name or R.string.app_name


An example of usage an Api App Key in an Android application (Java and XML)




buildTypes {
    buildTypes.each {
        it.buildConfigField 'String', 'APP_KEY_1', AppKey
        it.resValue 'string', 'APP_KEY_2', AppKey

Usage in java code

Log.d("UserActivity", "onCreate, APP_KEY: " + getString(R.string.APP_KEY_2));


Usage in xml code

<data android:scheme="@string/APP_KEY_2" />

Example using system properties, set in build.gradle, read from Java application (following up from question in comments):

Basically, using the test task in build.gradle, with test task method systemProperty setting a system property that’s passed at runtime:

apply plugin: 'java'
group = 'example'
version = '0.0.1-SNAPSHOT'

repositories {
    // mavenLocal()
    // maven { url 'http://localhost/nexus/content/groups/public'; }

dependencies {
    testCompile 'junit:junit:4.8.2'
    compile 'ch.qos.logback:logback-classic:1.1.2'

test {
  logger.info '==test=='
  systemProperty 'MY-VAR1', 'VALUE-TEST'

And here’s the rest of the sample code (which you could probably infer, but is included here anyway): it gets a system property MY-VAR1, expected at run-time to be set to VALUE-TEST:

package example;
import org.slf4j.Logger;
import org.slf4j.LoggerFactory;

public class HelloWorld {
  static final Logger log=LoggerFactory.getLogger(HelloWorld.class);
  public static void main(String args[]) {
    log.info("entering main...");
    final String val = System.getProperty("MY-VAR1", "UNSET (MAIN)");
    System.out.println("(main.out) hello, world: " + val);
    log.info("main.log) MY-VAR1=" + val);

Testcase: if MY-VAR is unset, the test should fail:

package example;
public class HelloWorldTest {
    static final Logger log=LoggerFactory.getLogger(HelloWorldTest.class);
    @Test public void testEnv() {
        HelloWorld.main(new String[]{});
        final String val = System.getProperty("MY-VAR1", "UNSET (TEST)");
        System.out.println("(test.out) var1=" + val);
        log.info("(test.log) MY-VAR1=" + val);
        assertEquals("env MY-VAR1 set.", "VALUE-TEST", val);

Run (note: test is passing):

$ gradle cleanTest test
:compileJava UP-TO-DATE
:processResources UP-TO-DATE
:classes UP-TO-DATE
:compileTestJava UP-TO-DATE
:processTestResources UP-TO-DATE
:testClasses UP-TO-DATE


I’ve found that the tricky part is actually getting the output from gradle… So, logging is configured here (slf4j+logback), and the log file shows the results (alternatively, run gradle --info cleanTest test; there are also properties that get stdout to the console, but, you know, why):

$ cat app.log
INFO Test worker example.HelloWorld - entering main...
INFO Test worker example.HelloWorld - main.log) MY-VAR1=VALUE-TEST
INFO Test worker example.HelloWorldTest - (test.log) MY-VAR1=VALUE-TEST

If you comment out “systemProperty...” (which, btw, only works in a test task), then:

example.HelloWorldTest > testEnv FAILED
    org.junit.ComparisonFailure at HelloWorldTest.java:14

For completeness, here is the logback config (src/test/resources/logback-test.xml):

    <appender name="FILE" class="ch.qos.logback.core.FileAppender">
        <layout class="ch.qos.logback.classic.PatternLayout">
            <pattern>%d %p %t %c - %m%n</pattern>
 <root level="info">
     <appender-ref ref="FILE"/>


  • build.gradle
  • src/main/java/example/HelloWorld.java
  • src/test/java/example/HelloWorldTest.java
  • src/test/resources/logback-test.xml

You can create build config field overridable via system environment variables during build:

Fallback is used while developing, but you can override the variable when you run the build on Jenkins or another tool.

In your app build.gradle:

buildTypes {
        def serverUrl =  '\"' + (System.getenv("SERVER_URL")?: "http://default.fallback.url.com")+'\"'
            buildConfigField "String", "SERVER_URL", serverUrl
        release {
            minifyEnabled false
            proguardFiles getDefaultProguardFile('proguard-android.txt'), 'proguard-rules.pro'
            buildConfigField "String", "SEVER_URL", serverUrl