Build your Java app with Gradle

VSTS | TFS 2018 | TFS 2017.2


Build and release pipelines are called definitions in TFS 2018 and in older versions. Service connections are called service endpoints in TFS 2018 and in older versions.

Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) and Team Foundation Server (TFS) provide a highly customizable continuous integration (CI) process to automatically build your Java application whenever your team pushes or checks in code. In this quickstart you learn how to define your CI process.


  • A VSTS organization. If you don't have one, you can create one for free. If your team already has one, then make sure you are an administrator of the project you want to use.
  • While the simplest way to try this quickstart is to use a VSTS organization, you can also use a TFS server instead of a VSTS organization.

Get sample app code

You can copy this sample app code directly into your version control system so that it can be accessed by your CI build process. To get started, copy this URL to your clipboard:

To import the sample app into a Git repo in VSTS or TFS:

  1. On the Code hub for your project in VSTS/TFS, select the option to Import repository.

  2. In the Import a Git repository dialog box, paste the above URL into the Clone URL text box.

  3. Click Import to copy the sample code into your Git repo.

The sample app in this repository is a Java servlet using JavaServer Pages (JSP). Tests for the application are written using JUnit. A Gradle wrapper file is used to build, test, and package the application into a web archive (.war) file.

Set up continuous integration

A continuous integration (CI) process automatically builds and tests code every time a team member commits changes to version control. Here you'll create a CI pipeline that helps your team keep the master branch clean.

  1. Create a new build pipeline.

    Navigate to the Files tab of the Code hub, and then click Set up build.

    Screenshot showing button to set up build for a repository

    You are taken to the Build and Release hub and asked to Select a template for the new build pipeline.

  2. In the right panel, search for java, select Gradle, and then click Apply.

    You now see all the tasks that were automatically added to the build pipeline by the template. These are the steps that will automatically run every time you push code changes.

  3. For the Agent queue:

    • VSTS: Select Hosted Linux, Hosted macOS, or Hosted VS2017. This will use a Microsoft-hosted agent with the Java Development Kit (JDK) installed.

    • TFS: Select a queue that includes an agent with the Java Development Kit (JDK) installed.

  4. Click Get sources and then:

    Observe that the new build pipeline is automatically linked to your repository.

  5. Click the Triggers tab in the build pipeline. Enable the Continuous integration trigger. This will ensure that the build process is automatically triggered every time changes are pushed to your repository.

  6. Click Save & queue to kick off your first build. On the Save build pipeline and queue dialog box, click Save & queue.

  7. A new build is started. You'll see a link to the new build on the top of the page. Click the link to watch the new build as it happens.

View the build summary

  1. Once the build completes, select the build number to view a summary of the build.

    Navigate to build summary

  2. Notice the various sections in the build summary - the source version of the commit in build details section, list of all associated changes, links to work items associated with commits, and test results. When the build is automatically triggered by a push to your Git repository, these sections are populated with all the relevant information.

Next steps

You've just put your own CI process in place to automatically build and validate whatever code is checked in by your team. You can also automatically deploy your app. To learn more, see one of these topics:

You can also modify this build pipeline to meet the needs of your team. To learn more see one of these topics: