How to use Groovy sources from Java in Gradle projects

When you want to use Java sources from Groovy, there is no need to change the default configuration after applying the Gradle Groovy plugin:

apply plugin: 'groovy'

repositories {

dependencies {
  compile 'org.codehaus.groovy:groovy-all:2.4.15'

When you want to do things the other way around, the defaults cause the compiler to complain that it cannot find Groovy stuff within your project.

So to use Java sources from Groovy as well as Groovy sources from Java, both your Java and Groovy source files must be compiled using the Groovy compiler. By default, the Java sources are compiled by the Java compiler and passed along to the Groovy compiler.


You can change this behaviour using one of the following solutions.

1. Change the default Gradle SourceSets

By applying the following configuration to the build.gradle of your Gradle project, you change the default Gradle SourceSets directories that are being used during compilation:

sourceSets {
  main {
    java { srcDirs = [] }
    groovy { srcDirs += ['src/main/java'] }

Afterwards, the default Java SourceSet src/main/java is not managed by the Java plugin anymore. All source files are handled by the Groovy compiler.

2. Put all your Java files into the default Groovy source directory

Another solution to use Groovy sources from Java is to place all your Java sources next to the Groovy files in the src/main/groovy directory and get rid of src/main/java.

Why is that?

The Groovy Gradle plugin extends the Java plugin to add Groovy compilation capabilities. If you apply the Groovy Gradle plugin to your project, the Java plugin will also be applied, if it has not already been applied.

By default, the sources inside src/main/java are handled by the Java plugin. It uses the Java javac compiler when executing the Gradle task compileJava. The compileTestJava task further looks for Java test source files in the default src/test/java directory.

Groovy's Gradle plugin extends the Java plugin's compilation and looks for source files in the directory src/main/groovy when executing compileGroovy. The compileTestGroovy task looks for test source files in the src/test/groovydirectory.

If you move your Java files over to src/main/groovy as described in the second solution they will be handled by the Groovy plugin. The Groovy plugin uses groovyc, the Groovy compiler. It makes use of the joint compilation feature which allows you to mix and match Groovy and Java code in the Groovy SourceSet directories. For example, a Groovy class can extend a Java class that in turn extends a Groovy class. You can have dependencies in both directions and choose the best language for the job. Furthermore, you can incrementally rewrite and migrate any class to the other language if needed.

If you change the Groovy SourceSet as described in the first solution, the joint-compilation takes effect in both the default src/main/groovy and the added src/main/java directory. It doesn't matter which directory you put the Java and Groovy files in.

If you want to try it on your own, I have prepared a sample project on Github that you can use as a reference.