Gradle, the startup behind the Gradle open source build automation software, is announcing today that it has taken on $4.2 million in funding. This is essentially the coming-out party for the startup, which has 35 employees.
Gradle automates the process of compiling code, testing it, and creating files with all the necessary dependencies. It’s highly customizable, thanks to its domain-specific language. It supports many programming languages, and it integrates with continuous integration systems like Jenkins, as well as devops tools like Puppet and Chef. Other build automation tools include Maven, Ant, and Make.
Hans Dockter, the creator of Gradle, has mentioned the existence of the company over the years, but other than that, it’s been very quiet, just doing training, support, and consulting — the things you usually do when you start to commercialize an open source project. But now Dockter is at work on a new cloud service that should build on Gradle’s existing capabilities, to help not only Gradle users but also engineering department heads who want to get a sense of how builds are doing.
“The data we get from Gradle gives you tremendous insights into how different teams collaborate with each other,” Dockter said. It’s something that could be very useful, and because Gradle is so widely used, it could come in handy at companies big and small.
Gradle’s customers include LinkedIn (2,000 engineers, Dockter said), Netflix, Palantir, and Unity Technologies. A Gradle plugin comes by default in Android Studio, Google’s integrated development environment designed for building Android apps.
Ultimately, the idea at Gradle the startup is to help companies ship code faster, and for ever more platforms. Before Gradle, using something more traditional, like Ant, to automate builds for different versions of an Android application might entail writing thousands of lines of code, Dockter said. But with Gradle, the same work might require just 30 lines, Dockter said.
“You can focus on programming the actual Android application, which is much more enjoyable,” he said.
True Ventures and Data Collective led the new round in Gradle.
The Gradle software project first appeared in 2008. Gradle the company started in 2011. It’s based in San Francisco.