The nice thing about Gradle is that we can use Java libraries in our build script. This way we can add extra functionality to our build script in an easy way. We must use the classpath dependency configuration for our build script to include the library. For example we can include the library Grgit, which provides an easy way to interact with Git from Java or Groovy code. This library is also the basis for the Gradle Git plugin.

In the next example build file we add the Grgit library to our build script classpath. Then we use the open method of the Grgit class. From the returned object we invoke the head to get the commit id identified as id. With the abbreviatedId property we get the shorter version of the Git commit id. The build file also includes the application plugin. We customize the applicationDistribution CopySpec from the plugin and expand the properties in a VERSION file. This way our distribution always includes a plain text file VERSION with the Git commit id of the code.

buildscript {

    repositories {

    dependencies {
        // Add dependency for build script,
        // so we can access Git from our
        // build script.
        classpath 'org.ajoberstar:grgit:1.1.0'


apply plugin: 'java'
apply plugin: 'application'

ext {
    // Open the Git repository in the current directory.
    git ='.'))

    // Get commit id of HEAD.
    revision = git.head().id
    // Alternative is using abbreviatedId of head() method.
    // revision = git.head().abbreviatedId

// Use abbreviatedId commit id in the version.
version = "2.0.1.${git.head().abbreviatedId}"

// application plugin extension properties.
mainClassName = 'sample.Hello'
applicationName = 'sample'

// Customize applicationDistribution
// CopySpec from application plugin extension.
applicationDistribution.with {
    from('src/dist') {
        include 'VERSION'
            buildDate: new Date(),
            // Use revision with Git commit id:
            revision : revision,
            version  : project.version,
            appName  : applicationName)

// Contents for src/dist/VERSION:
Version: ${version}
Revision: ${revision}
Build-date: ${buildDate.format('dd-MM-yyyy HH:mm:ss')}
Application-name: ${appName}

assemble.dependsOn installDist

When we run the build task for our project we get the following contents in our VERSION file:

Version: 2.0.1.e2ab261
Revision: e2ab2614011ff4be18c03e4dc1f86ab9ec565e6c
Build-date: 22-04-2015 13:53:31
Application-name: sample

Written with Gradle 2.3.

Original article