Bazel vs Gradle

Posted on in programming

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Bazel and Gradle are two of the most popular build systems for Java and other languages. They both have their own strengths and weaknesses, and the best choice for you will depend on your specific needs.

In this article, we will compare and contrast Bazel and Gradle in terms of their features, performance, and ease of use. We will also discuss some of the pros and cons of each build system.


Bazel and Gradle both offer a wide range of features, but there are some key differences between the two build systems.

One of the biggest differences is that Bazel is a more declarative build system, while Gradle is a more imperative build system. This means that Bazel builds are defined in a more concise and readable way, but they can be more difficult to debug.

Bazel also has a few features that Gradle does not, such as:

  • A distributed build system that can scale to large projects
  • A sandboxing feature that isolates builds from each other
  • A test isolation feature that prevents tests from interfering with each other

Gradle, on the other hand, has a few features that Bazel does not, such as:

  • A built-in dependency manager
  • A plugin system that allows you to extend the build system with new features
  • A more mature plugin ecosystem


Bazel and Gradle both have good performance, but Bazel is generally considered to be faster. This is because Bazel uses a more efficient build algorithm and it can take advantage of distributed builds.

Ease of use

Bazel and Gradle are both relatively easy to use, but Gradle is generally considered to be easier to learn. This is because Gradle has a more intuitive syntax and it has a larger community of users and documentation.

Pros and cons

Here is a summary of the pros and cons of Bazel and Gradle:


  • Pros:
    • Fast
    • Declarative
    • Distributed
    • Sandboxed
    • Isolated tests
  • Cons:
    • Difficult to debug
    • No built-in dependency manager
    • Smaller plugin ecosystem


  • Pros:
    • Easy to learn
    • Intuitive syntax
    • Large community of users
    • Built-in dependency manager
    • Mature plugin ecosystem
  • Cons:
    • Slower than Bazel
    • Imperative
    • Not as scalable as Bazel
    • Not as sandboxed as Bazel
    • Not as isolated tests as Bazel


Bazel and Gradle are both great build systems, but the best choice for you will depend on your specific needs. If you need a fast and scalable build system for large projects, then Bazel is a good choice. If you need an easy-to-learn build system with a large community of users, then Gradle is a good choice.

Ultimately, the best way to decide which build system is right for you is to try both of them and see which one you prefer.

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