Modifying and adding variants to existing components for publishing

Gradle’s publication model is based on the notion of components, which are defined by plugins. For example, the Java Library plugin defines a java component which corresponds to a library, but the Java Platform plugin defines another kind of component, named javaPlatform, which is effectively a different kind of software component (a platform).

Sometimes we want to add more variants to or modify existing variants of an existing component. For example, if you added a variant of a Java library for a different platform, you may just want to declare this additional variant on the java component itself. In general, declaring additional variants is often the best solution to publish additional artifacts.

To perform such additions or modifications, the AdhocComponentWithVariants interface declares two methods called addVariantsFromConfiguration and withVariantsFromConfiguration which accept two parameters:

  • the outgoing configuration that is used as a variant source

  • a customization action which allows you to filter which variants are going to be published

To utilise these methods, you must make sure that the SoftwareComponent you work with is itself an AdhocComponentWithVariants, which is the case for the components created by the Java plugins (Java, Java Library, Java Platform). Adding a variant is then very simple:

Example 1. Adding a variant to an existing software component
InstrumentedJarsPlugin.groovy
        AdhocComponentWithVariants javaComponent = (AdhocComponentWithVariants) project.components.findByName("java")
        javaComponent.addVariantsFromConfiguration(outgoing) {
            // dependencies for this variant are considered runtime dependencies
            it.mapToMavenScope("runtime")
            // and also optional dependencies, because we don't want them to leak
            it.mapToOptional()
        }
InstrumentedJarsPlugin.kt
        val javaComponent = components.findByName("java") as AdhocComponentWithVariants
        javaComponent.addVariantsFromConfiguration(outgoing) {
            // dependencies for this variant are considered runtime dependencies
            mapToMavenScope("runtime")
            // and also optional dependencies, because we don't want them to leak
            mapToOptional()
        }

In other cases, you might want to modify a variant that was added by one of the Java plugins already. For example, if you activate publishing of Javadoc and sources, these become additional variants of the java component. If you only want to publish one of them, e.g. only Javadoc but no sources, you can modify the sources variant to not being published:

Example 2. Publish a java library with Javadoc but without sources
build.gradle
java {
    withJavadocJar()
    withSourcesJar()
}

components.java.withVariantsFromConfiguration(configurations.sourcesElements) {
    skip()
}

publishing {
    publications {
        mavenJava(MavenPublication) {
            from components.java
        }
    }
}
build.gradle.kts
java {
    withJavadocJar()
    withSourcesJar()
}

val javaComponent = components["java"] as AdhocComponentWithVariants
javaComponent.withVariantsFromConfiguration(configurations["sourcesElements"]) {
    skip()
}

publishing {
    publications {
        create<MavenPublication>("mavenJava") {
            from(components["java"])
        }
    }
}

Creating and publishing custom components

In the previous example, we have demonstrated how to extend or modify an existing component, like the components provided by the Java plugins. But Gradle also allows you to build a custom component (not a Java Library, not a Java Platform, not something supported natively by Gradle).

To create a custom component, you first need to create an empty adhoc component. At the moment, this is only possible via a plugin because you need to get a handle on the SoftwareComponentFactory :

Example 3. Injecting the software component factory
InstrumentedJarsPlugin.groovy
    private final SoftwareComponentFactory softwareComponentFactory

    @Inject
    InstrumentedJarsPlugin(SoftwareComponentFactory softwareComponentFactory) {
        this.softwareComponentFactory = softwareComponentFactory
    }
InstrumentedJarsPlugin.kt
class InstrumentedJarsPlugin @Inject constructor(
    private val softwareComponentFactory: SoftwareComponentFactory) : Plugin<Project> {

Declaring what a custom component publishes is still done via the AdhocComponentWithVariants API. For a custom component, the first step is to create custom outgoing variants, following the instructions in this chapter. At this stage, what you should have is variants which can be used in cross-project dependencies, but that we are now going to publish to external repositories.

Example 4. Creating a custom, adhoc component
InstrumentedJarsPlugin.groovy
        // create an adhoc component
        def adhocComponent = softwareComponentFactory.adhoc("myAdhocComponent")
        // add it to the list of components that this project declares
        project.components.add(adhocComponent)
        // and register a variant for publication
        adhocComponent.addVariantsFromConfiguration(outgoing) {
            it.mapToMavenScope("runtime")
        }
InstrumentedJarsPlugin.kt
        // create an adhoc component
        val adhocComponent = softwareComponentFactory.adhoc("myAdhocComponent")
        // add it to the list of components that this project declares
        components.add(adhocComponent)
        // and register a variant for publication
        adhocComponent.addVariantsFromConfiguration(outgoing) {
            mapToMavenScope("runtime")
        }

First we use the factory to create a new adhoc component. Then we add a variant through the addVariantsFromConfiguration method, which is described in more detail in the previous section.

In simple cases, there’s a one-to-one mapping between a Configuration and a variant, in which case you can publish all variants issued from a single Configuration because they are effectively the same thing. However, there are cases where a Configuration is associated with additional configuration publications that we also call secondary variants. Such configurations make sense in the cross-project publications use case, but not when publishing externally. This is for example the case when between projects you share a directory of files, but there’s no way you can publish a directory directly on a Maven repository (only packaged things like jars or zips). Look at the ConfigurationVariantDetails class for details about how to skip publication of a particular variant. If addVariantsFromConfiguration has already been called for a configuration, further modification of the resulting variants can be performed using withVariantsFromConfiguration.

When publishing an adhoc component like this:

  • Gradle Module Metadata will exactly represent the published variants. In particular, all outgoing variants will inherit dependencies, artifacts and attributes of the published configuration.

  • Maven and Ivy metadata files will be generated, but you need to declare how the dependencies are mapped to Maven scopes via the ConfigurationVariantDetails class.

In practice, it means that components created this way can be consumed by Gradle the same way as if they were "local components".

Adding custom artifacts to a publication

Instead of thinking in terms of artifacts, you should embrace the variant aware model of Gradle. It is expected that a single module may need multiple artifacts. However this rarely stops there, if the additional artifacts represent an optional feature, they might also have different dependencies and more.

Gradle, via Gradle Module Metadata, supports the publication of additional variants which make those artifacts known to the dependency resolution engine. Please refer to the variant-aware sharing section of the documentation to see how to declare such variants and check out how to publish custom components.

If you attach extra artifacts to a publication directly, they are published "out of context". That means, they are not referenced in the metadata at all and can then only be addressed directly through a classifier on a dependency. In contrast to Gradle Module Metadata, Maven pom metadata will not contain information on additional artifacts regardless of whether they are added through a variant or directly, as variants cannot be represented in the pom format.

The following section describes how you publish artifacts directly if you are sure that metadata, for example Gradle or POM metadata, is irrelevant for your use case. For example, if your project doesn’t need to be consumed by other projects and the only thing required as result of the publishing are the artifacts themselves.

In general, there are two options:

  • Create a publication only with artifacts

  • Add artifacts to a publication based on a component with metadata (not recommended, instead adjust a component or use a adhoc component publication which will both also produce metadata fitting your artifacts)

To create a publication based on artifacts, start by defining a custom artifact and attaching it to a Gradle configuration of your choice. The following sample defines an RPM artifact that is produced by an rpm task (not shown) and attaches that artifact to the archives configuration:

Example 5. Defining a custom artifact for a configuration
build.gradle
def rpmFile = file("$buildDir/rpms/my-package.rpm")
def rpmArtifact = artifacts.add('archives', rpmFile) {
    type 'rpm'
    builtBy 'rpm'
}
build.gradle.kts
val rpmFile = file("$buildDir/rpms/my-package.rpm")
val rpmArtifact = artifacts.add("archives", rpmFile) {
    type = "rpm"
    builtBy("rpm")
}

The artifacts.add() method — from ArtifactHandler — returns an artifact object of type PublishArtifact that can then be used in defining a publication, as shown in the following sample:

Example 6. Attaching a custom PublishArtifact to a publication
build.gradle
publishing {
    publications {
        maven(MavenPublication) {
            artifact rpmArtifact
        }
    }
}
build.gradle.kts
publishing {
    publications {
        create<MavenPublication>("maven") {
            artifact(rpmArtifact)
        }
    }
}
  • The artifact() method accepts publish artifacts as argument — like rpmArtifact in the sample — as well as any type of argument accepted by Project.file(java.lang.Object), such as a File instance, a string file path or a archive task.

  • Publishing plugins support different artifact configuration properties, so always check the plugin documentation for more details. The classifier and extension properties are supported by both the Maven Publish Plugin and the Ivy Publish Plugin.

  • Custom artifacts need to be distinct within a publication, typically via a unique combination of classifier and extension. See the documentation for the plugin you’re using for the precise requirements.

  • If you use artifact() with an archive task, Gradle automatically populates the artifact’s metadata with the classifier and extension properties from that task.

Now you can publish the RPM.

If you really want to add an artifact to a publication based on a component, instead of adjusting the component itself, you can combine the from components.someComponent and artifact someArtifact notations.

Restricting publications to specific repositories

When you have defined multiple publications or repositories, you often want to control which publications are published to which repositories. For instance, consider the following sample that defines two publications — one that consists of just a binary and another that contains the binary and associated sources — and two repositories — one for internal use and one for external consumers:

Example 7. Adding multiple publications and repositories
build.gradle
publishing {
    publications {
        binary(MavenPublication) {
            from components.java
        }
        binaryAndSources(MavenPublication) {
            from components.java
            artifact sourcesJar
        }
    }
    repositories {
        // change URLs to point to your repos, e.g. http://my.org/repo
        maven {
            name = 'external'
            url = "$buildDir/repos/external"
        }
        maven {
            name = 'internal'
            url = "$buildDir/repos/internal"
        }
    }
}
build.gradle.kts
publishing {
    publications {
        create<MavenPublication>("binary") {
            from(components["java"])
        }
        create<MavenPublication>("binaryAndSources") {
            from(components["java"])
            artifact(tasks["sourcesJar"])
        }
    }
    repositories {
        // change URLs to point to your repos, e.g. http://my.org/repo
        maven {
            name = "external"
            url = uri("$buildDir/repos/external")
        }
        maven {
            name = "internal"
            url = uri("$buildDir/repos/internal")
        }
    }
}

The publishing plugins will create tasks that allow you to publish either of the publications to either repository. They also attach those tasks to the publish aggregate task. But let’s say you want to restrict the binary-only publication to the external repository and the binary-with-sources publication to the internal one. To do that, you need to make the publishing conditional.

Gradle allows you to skip any task you want based on a condition via the Task.onlyIf(org.gradle.api.specs.Spec) method. The following sample demonstrates how to implement the constraints we just mentioned:

Example 8. Configuring which artifacts should be published to which repositories
build.gradle
tasks.withType(PublishToMavenRepository) {
    onlyIf {
        (repository == publishing.repositories.external &&
            publication == publishing.publications.binary) ||
        (repository == publishing.repositories.internal &&
            publication == publishing.publications.binaryAndSources)
    }
}
tasks.withType(PublishToMavenLocal) {
    onlyIf {
        publication == publishing.publications.binaryAndSources
    }
}
build.gradle.kts
tasks.withType<PublishToMavenRepository>().configureEach {
    onlyIf {
        (repository == publishing.repositories["external"] &&
            publication == publishing.publications["binary"]) ||
        (repository == publishing.repositories["internal"] &&
            publication == publishing.publications["binaryAndSources"])
    }
}
tasks.withType<PublishToMavenLocal>().configureEach {
    onlyIf {
        publication == publishing.publications["binaryAndSources"]
    }
}
Output of gradle publish
> gradle publish
> Task :compileJava
> Task :processResources
> Task :classes
> Task :jar
> Task :generateMetadataFileForBinaryAndSourcesPublication
> Task :generatePomFileForBinaryAndSourcesPublication
> Task :sourcesJar
> Task :publishBinaryAndSourcesPublicationToExternalRepository SKIPPED
> Task :publishBinaryAndSourcesPublicationToInternalRepository
> Task :generateMetadataFileForBinaryPublication
> Task :generatePomFileForBinaryPublication
> Task :publishBinaryPublicationToExternalRepository
> Task :publishBinaryPublicationToInternalRepository SKIPPED
> Task :publish

BUILD SUCCESSFUL in 0s
10 actionable tasks: 10 executed

You may also want to define your own aggregate tasks to help with your workflow. For example, imagine that you have several publications that should be published to the external repository. It could be very useful to publish all of them in one go without publishing the internal ones.

The following sample demonstrates how you can do this by defining an aggregate task — publishToExternalRepository — that depends on all the relevant publish tasks:

Example 9. Defining your own shorthand tasks for publishing
build.gradle
task publishToExternalRepository {
    group = 'publishing'
    description = 'Publishes all Maven publications to the external Maven repository.'
    dependsOn tasks.withType(PublishToMavenRepository).matching {
        it.repository == publishing.repositories.external
    }
}
build.gradle.kts
tasks.register("publishToExternalRepository") {
    group = "publishing"
    description = "Publishes all Maven publications to the external Maven repository."
    dependsOn(tasks.withType<PublishToMavenRepository>().matching {
        it.repository == publishing.repositories["external"]
    })
}

This particular sample automatically handles the introduction or removal of the relevant publishing tasks by using TaskCollection.withType(java.lang.Class) with the PublishToMavenRepository task type. You can do the same with PublishToIvyRepository if you’re publishing to Ivy-compatible repositories.

Configuring publishing tasks

The publishing plugins create their non-aggregate tasks after the project has been evaluated, which means you cannot directly reference them from your build script. If you would like to configure any of these tasks, you should use deferred task configuration. This can be done in a number of ways via the project’s tasks collection.

For example, imagine you want to change where the generatePomFileForPubNamePublication tasks write their POM files. You can do this by using the TaskCollection.withType(java.lang.Class) method, as demonstrated by this sample:

Example 10. Configuring a dynamically named task created by the publishing plugins
build.gradle
tasks.withType(GenerateMavenPom).all {
    def matcher = name =~ /generatePomFileFor(\w+)Publication/
    def publicationName = matcher[0][1]
    destination = "$buildDir/poms/${publicationName}-pom.xml"
}
build.gradle.kts
tasks.withType<GenerateMavenPom>().configureEach {
    val matcher = Regex("""generatePomFileFor(\w+)Publication""").matchEntire(name)
    val publicationName = matcher?.let { it.groupValues[1] }
    destination = file("$buildDir/poms/$publicationName-pom.xml")
}

The above sample uses a regular expression to extract the name of the publication from the name of the task. This is so that there is no conflict between the file paths of all the POM files that might be generated. If you only have one publication, then you don’t have to worry about such conflicts since there will only be one POM file.