Gradle popularity vs Maven

First, sorry if this is the wrong place to post this but I haven’t found a better one yet. I am trying to convince my current employer to switch from Maven to Gradle. I have used Gradle at several companies now and am very familiar with it, and to a lesser extent Maven as I was the one who always converted them to Gradle.
Is there any data that you know of showing that Gradle is, or is becoming more popular than Maven? My manager pointed to,gradle&hl=en-US so I am looking for data to be a counter example. Because of the policies at where I work, they will not consider having both Maven and Gradle, so I must be able to sell them on a complete transition.

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Hi John,

A couple years ago, I collected data via Google BigQuery GitHub Activity dataset that showed that about half of new Java projects (with 5+ commits, not just toy projects) and 80%+ of new Kotlin projects use Gradle. I can share the queries with you if you need. This shows good growth.

You can find survey results in the JetBrains 2020 dev ecosystem survey that shows that 48% of developers use Gradle. Less than Maven, but that alone should not be the deciding factor.

The deciding factors might be:

  • Does this tool have enough popularity that you can continue to get support in 2025 and beyond? (Yes, Gradle’s not going away, we now are at 20M+ downloads/month)
  • Does the tool actually fit your needs? (Decide for yourself:… to me, it’s really all about build speed. Gradle is way, wayyyy faster because of all of the caching mechanisms; you can easily make a dollars-based business case based on that alone.

Let us know what happens with the decision or if you have more info or questions.


Thank you this is very good data. You are correct that this shouldn’t be a deciding factor, unfortunately where I work they are very adamant that we only have 1 build tool for Java. Since we are currently using Maven, I need to present data as evidence to them that at the very least it is trending more popular than Maven over time.

Yes I would very much be interested in this query if you are willing to share it!

Another thought on your Google Trends data - I am completely converted to Gradle, but I still search “maven pom” and “maven repository” all the time. Because Gradle piggybacks on so many of the conventions and infrastructure from Maven, I think there is more uptake than it initially appears.

You can find my BigQuery queries in this gist. NOTE: these queries are in the “legacy” SQL syntax. The blog post below shows new “Standard” syntax.

I also wrote background information and context around BigQuery, and provided additional queries in this blog post.

By combining these queries and charting the results, we chart the adoption over time using new GitHub repos as a proxy.

Obviously there’s a lot of details here that are omitted but become apparent when you look into the data. You have to decide what’s important for determining what makes something “trending more popular”.

Depending on your build logic, a gradle build script is much less verbose and simple than the Maven POM XML file.

It is Build as Code compared to configuration.

Because of this a gradle build script is much less effort of maintainability than the Maven XML POM.

Less time a developer uses to maintain the build configuration, the more money the company saves.

Thank you so much for this! This is exactly what I was looking for as another point to make in my document about why we should switch to Gradle. I think it is something Gradle should think about displaying on their page.

A while back, looked at moving from Ant to either Maven or Gradle, we chose Gradle and never looked back

  • No XML
  • Flexibility - Initially, we had several projects that did not conform to the standard layouts, so Gradle allowed us to alter source dirs, etc, during the transition
  • Speed - building unrelated modules in parallel. With Gradle daemon bootstrapped, is very fast. I haven’t used the build cache feature yet, but plan to in the future to shave off more time
  • Incremental Builds - I don’t have to wait minutes after changing one file, this is huge
  • Composite Builds - If you have a monorepo or contribute to other opensource projects that you depend on, composite builds save a lot of time by bypassing the snapshot step
  • Plugins - Very simple to add to your buildSrc vs Maven, seems quite painful

Now, Maven may have/improved these things now, but was the reason I chose Gradle at the time.

Good luck getting them to switch, next time ask which build system they use in the interview :slight_smile:

Also, the data is a little skewed in Denmark as “maven” means “the stomach”.