Isolated Projects is a pre-alpha Gradle feature that extends the configuration cache to further improve performance, in particular the performance of Android Studio and IDEA sync.

When isolated projects is enabled, the configuration model of Gradle projects are "isolated" from each other. This means that build logic, such as build scripts or plugins, applied to a project cannot directly access the mutable state of another project. This allows configuration and tooling model creation for each project to safely run in parallel and the result cached and invalidated for each project independently.

Status as of Gradle 8.5

When isolated projects is enabled, Gradle applies two levels of caching during IDE sync:

Gradle starts by applying coarse-grained caching. To do this, Gradle caches the result of the entire sync operation and reuses it when nothing that affects the IDE model has changed. When the cache entry can be reused, Gradle short-circuits the entire sync operation and simply returns the cached result to the IDE.

Generally, the settings and build scripts affect the IDE model, but the source code of the projects does not. So, when these scripts change the cache entry cannot be reused. When this happens, Gradle falls back to fine-grained caching. To do this, Gradle caches the result of creating the tooling models for each project and reuses these models when nothing that affects them has changed. When the cached models for a project can be reused, Gradle short-circuits all work for that project, including the project’s configuration phase and other work such as dependency resolution.

This means that Gradle will only configure and create tooling models for projects whose configuration has changed. This work is done in parallel for each project.

Current limitations

Isolated projects is a pre-alpha feature, and as such there are a number of limitations in the current implementation. These will addressed in future Gradle releases:

  • Gradle, IDEA, Android Studio and the Kotlin plugins are not yet 100% compatible with isolated projects, so you should expect to see some violations reported. The teams are actively working on fixing these incompatibilities.

  • Parallel configuration and fine-grained caching are not applied to task execution. They are only applied to IDE sync.

  • Changes to included builds invalidate all cached results, even when the change would not affect the cached results.

  • The implementation does not attempt to take advantage of the isolation to limit peak memory consumption. Currently, peak memory consumption is a function of how many project need to be configured.

  • All caching is done on the local machine, as for the configuration cache. There is no support for remote caching yet.

How do I use it?

To use isolated projects, you will need Gradle 8.5 or later and preferably a recent nightly. You should also use the most recent version of IDEA or Android Studio.

The feature is off by default. You can enable it by setting the org.gradle.unsafe.isolated-projects system property to true. For example:

$ gradle build -Dorg.gradle.unsafe.isolated-projects=true

When enabled, Gradle will fail the build whenever build logic attempts to cross project boundaries and access the model of another project. Gradle collects all of these access problems in the configuration cache report, in the same way as other problems.

The configuration cache command-line options can be used to control how Gradle handles these problems. For example:

  • --configuration-cache-problems=warn can be used to treat the access problems as warnings instead of errors.

  • -Dorg.gradle.configuration-cache.max-problems=x can be used to increase the maximum number of problems included in the report.

You can also use -Dorg.gradle.internal.invalidate-coupled-projects=false to force parallel configuration when there are access problems.

Please be aware that these options disable the validation that makes execution parallel- and caching-safe when isolated projects is enabled, so you may see some unexpected behaviour when using them.

Build logic constraints

Isolated projects prevents build logic from accessing the state of another project. This includes:

  • Using most methods on the Project type. A small number of methods that return immutable information about the project are allowed:

    • getName()

    • getPath()

    • getBuildTreePath()

    • getProjectDir()

    • getRootDir()

    • project() overloads

    • getChildProjects()

    • getSubprojects()

    • subprojects() overloads

    • getAllProjects()

    • allprojects() overloads

Note that isolated projects is a pre-alpha feature. These constraints are not final and can change at any time.