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Debugging Gradle plugins with IntelliJ IDEA

· DevOps Zone

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When you develop Gradle plugins it's important to have an ability to debug them. There are already a couple of articles online about how to debug Gradle plugins in IDEA with remote debug, but I found it not very convenient since I need to remember JVM options for remote debug and pass it to Gradle. So, I decided to run Gradle from IDEA like a normal Java application. 

For example, you have a project with a structure like:

  • example/
    • build.gradle
  • gradle/
    • wrapper/
      • gradle-wrapper.jar
      • gradle-wrapper.properties
  • src/
    • main/
      • java/
  • build.gradle
  • gradlew
  • gradlew.bat
Where build.gradle and src/ - your plugin's build file and sources, and example/build.gradle - example project with content like:
buildscript {
  repositories {
    ivy {
      artifactPattern "../build/libs/[artifact]-[revision].[ext]"
  dependencies {
    classpath "your.company.name:your-plugin:version"    

apply plugin: 'your-plugin'
Note that the project should have Gradle Wrapper. 

Now we want to add the ability to debug it in IDEA. Add to your plugin's build.gradle these lines:

apply plugin: 'idea'

configurations {

idea {
  module {
    scopes.RUNTIME.plus += [ configurations.gradleRuntime ]

dependencies {
  gradleRuntime files("gradle/wrapper/gradle-wrapper.jar")
Now Gradle Wrapper is available at runtime in IDEA (this will not add dependency to gradle-wrapper to your plugin, it's only for IDEA).

Now, only one thing left - IDEA run configuration. Just create a usual Run Configuration for your application, with the following configuration:


  • MainClass: org.gradle.wrapper.GradleWrapperMain
  • VM options:
  • -DdistributionBase=GRADLE_USER_HOME
  • Program arguments: all that goes after "gradle" command, for example "clean build"
  • Working directory: where you want to run your Gradle build ("example" folder in our case)
  • Before launch: remove "Make" and add Gradle task "jar"
That's it! Now you can debug just created configuration. Easy, isn't it?

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