Learn the basics of Gradle tasks by running one and looking at its output.

In this section you will:

  • See available tasks

  • Run a task and inspect the results

  • Understand default and typed tasks

  • Explore custom tasks

Step 0. Before you Begin

  1. You initialized your Java app in part 1.

Step 1. Viewing available Tasks

A task is a basic unit of work that can be done by Gradle as part of the build.

In the tutorial directory, enter the command below to list all the available tasks in the project:

$ ./gradlew tasks

The list includes tasks contributed by the application plugin and the plugin it applies:

Application tasks
run - Runs this project as a JVM application

Build tasks
assemble - Assembles the outputs of this project.
build - Assembles and tests this project.


Documentation tasks
javadoc - Generates Javadoc API documentation for the main source code.


Other tasks
compileJava - Compiles main Java source.


A task might be responsible for compilation, copying, and moving files around, creating JAR files, generating Javadoc, publishing artifacts to repositories, or many other discrete units of work.

You can also list the tasks only available in the app subproject by running ./gradlew :app:tasks.

You can obtain more information in the task listing using the --all option: ./gradlew tasks --all.

In part 1 of the tutorial, we ran the build task using the ./gradlew build command.

Step 2. Understanding Tasks

We’ve listed the tasks available when the project is initialized. However, users can create custom tasks that perform some specific work.

Custom task code is typically available in the build.gradle.kts file, or it can come as part of a custom plugin. We will learn more about plugins in part 4 of the tutorial.

Here is an example Hello World task:

    doLast {
        println("Welcome to Gradle")

This custom task, if added to build.gradle.kts file in the app subproject directory, would be executed using the command ./gradlew :app:welcome.

Many times, a task requires another task to run first. If task B uses the output of task A, then task A must complete before task B begins.

  • A task may declare its dependencies explicitly.

  • A task may depend on other tasks implicitly.

Here is an example of explicit task dependency:

tasks.register("hello") {

tasks.register("greet") {
    println('How are you?')

In this case, hello prints before greet. The output is Hello! How are you?.

Task execution order is automatically determined by Gradle, taking into account explicit and implicit task dependencies. If there is no dependency between tasks, Gradle enables users to request a specific execution order.

Step 3. Viewing Tasks in the IDE

Project tasks are also available in IntelliJ. The project should be open following part 1 of the tutorial.

On the right-hand side of your window, open the Gradle pane:

intellij idea tasks

Step 4. Running Tasks in the IDE

You can run a Gradle task via IntelliJ by double-clicking that task in the pane.

Double-click tutorial > app > build > build.

intellij idea build

Once the build finishes, make sure it is successful in the IntelliJ console:

7 actionable tasks: 7 executed
3:18:24 AM: Execution finished 'build'.

Step 5. Running Tasks in the Terminal

The jar task can be used to create an executable JAR file of the App.

Run the following command in your terminal:

$ ./gradlew jar

Once the build finishes, an app.jar file is created in your tutorial/app/build/libs/ folder.

Invoke the run task and check the output:

$ ./gradlew run

> Task :app:run
Hello World!


Take a moment and read the Java source code in tutorial/app/src/main/java/com.gradle.tutorial/App.java:

public class App {
    public String getGreeting() {
        return "Hello World!";
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        System.out.println(new App().getGreeting());

Step 6. Understanding Typed Tasks

Gradle tasks are typed.

This example shows a task of type Copy:

tasks.register("copyTask",Copy) {

This task copies *.war files from the source directory to the target directory.

Popular tasks types include:

  • Copy - Copy is useful to copy files around.

  • Delete - Delete is useful to delete files and directories.

  • Exec - Exec is useful to execute arbitrary O/S commands.

  • Zip - Zip is useful to bundle files.

Many more types are included in the DSL documentation.

To view a task type, use the command gradlew help --task <TASK_NAME>.