Dependency management comes with a wealth of terminology. Here you can find the most commonly-used terms including references to the user guide to learn about their practical application.

Configuration

A configuration is a named set of dependencies grouped together for a specific goal: For example the implementation configuration represents the set of dependencies required to compile a project. Configurations provide access to the underlying, resolved modules and their artifacts. For more information, see Managing Dependency Configurations.

The word "configuration" is an overloaded term and has a different meaning outside of the context of dependency management.

Dependency

A dependency is a pointer to another piece of software required to build, test or run a module. For more information, see Declaring Dependencies.

Dependency constraint

A dependency constraint defines requirements that need to be met by a module to make it a valid resolution result for the dependency. For example, a dependency constraint can narrow down the set of supported module versions. Dependency constraints can be used to express such requirements for transitive dependencies. For more information, see Dependency Constraints.

Module

A piece of software that evolves over time e.g. Google Guava. Every module has a name. Each release of a module is optimally represented by a module version. For convenient consumption, modules can be hosted in a repository.

Module metadata

Releases of a module can provide metadata. Metadata is the data that describes the module in more detail e.g. the coordinates for locating it in a repository, information about the project or required transitive dependencies. In Maven the metadata file is called .pom, in Ivy it is called ivy.xml.

Module version

A module version represents a distinct set of changes of a released module. For example 18.0 represents the version of the module with the coordinates com.google:guava:18.0. In practice there’s no limitation to the scheme of the module version. Timestamps, numbers, special suffixes like -GA are all allowed identifiers. The most widely-used versioning strategy is semantic versioning.

Repository

A repository hosts a set of modules, each of which may provide one or many releases indicated by a module version. The repository can be based on a binary repository product (e.g. Artifactory or Nexus) or a directory structure in the filesystem. For more information, see Declaring Repositories.

Resolution rule

A resolution rule influences the behavior of how a dependency is resolved. Resolution rules are defined as part of the build logic. For more information, see Customizing Dependency Resolution Behavior.

Transitive dependency

A module can have dependencies on other modules to work properly, so-called transitive dependencies. Releases of a module hosted on a repository can provide metadata to declare those transitive dependencies. By default, Gradle resolves transitive dependencies automatically. However, the behavior is highly customizable. For more information, see Managing Transitive Dependencies.