Simplifying Dependency Management in Multimodular Projects with Gradle Version Catalogs

Simplifying Dependency Management in Multimodular Projects with Gradle Version Catalogs

The challenge of successfully managing dependencies in larger, more complex multimodular projects can be daunting. From defining and tracking different versions of the same dependencies to dealing with transitive ones, software development teams must stay organized throughout the entire process.

This is where Gradle comes into play. As an advanced build automation toolkit, it simplifies and streamlines much of this complexity by introducing Version Catalogs — a specific dependency management feature that further enhances its capabilities for higher-scale projects.

In this blog, we explore what exactly Gradle Version Catalogs are and how you can use them to improve your project’s dependency management.

Gradle Version Catalogs

Gradle version catalog


Gradle Version Catalogs are tools for managing and controlling version numbers of dependencies in multimodular projects.

They act as a central registry that define specific versions for all modules in the project, offering a simple yet powerful way to quickly refer to external libraries across disparate modules and provide fallback targets if necessary.

In addition, they can be used to automate dependency updates by allowing teams to specify criteria such as release type or version compatibility when defining version numbers.

How Version Catalogs help centralize dependency version management

Version Catalogs help to simplify and centralize the management of multiple dependencies in multimodular projects. A Version Catalog is a Declarative Script file used by Gradle that collects information related to all dependencies used in a project, such as: version numbers, scopes, repository coordinates, classifiers etc.

This helps to create fewer points of failure where human errors can occur during dependency updates for individual modules.

The centralized data specified in the Version Catalog lets developers easily manage shared libraries and release updated versions without changing every consistency declaration in individual modules manually – thus streamlining this aspect of development process significantly.

Key features and capabilities of Gradle Version Catalogs

Gradle Version Catalogs allow you to define, manage and share version information for all of your project dependencies in a central location.

You can easily keep track of which versions of the Java SDK, JUnit library, or other dependencies are needed for the various modules. The catalog works with both explicit and dynamic-version relationships making it easy to specify how different components should behave together across different build scenarios.

With support for managing different variants such as architectures or operating systems, it becomes much easier to ensure consistent dependency versioning across varied use cases.

Implementing Gradle Version Catalogs in Multimodular Projects

Setting up a Gradle project structure for multimodular development involves creating a main project folder with the overviewing build.gradle script as well as individual module folders which contain their own Gradle Built Script.

For complex projects, it may be helpful to create separate subprojects container further folders, and scripts. Such a modular approach will enable developers to work separately on view, preferences, or feature-related components of the application while keeping the overall build configuration easy to follow.

Creating and configuring a Gradle Version Catalog for the project

Creating a Gradle Version Catalog for a multimodular project involves first setting up a proper project structure and configuring the catalog’s definitions and settings. The target group name is an identifier used to associate modules using the same version catalog as well as access global properties like license details.

Dependency versions can then be defined in the Version Catalog which modules within it can inherit, allowing modules to manage organizational dependences centrally without redefining dependency coordinates every time they’re needed across different projects. Finally, convenience methods are enabled so that when configured best practice becomes effortless.

Dependencies and their versions in the Version Catalog

Integrating version catalog


Defining dependencies and their versions in the Version Catalog is a critical step in implementing Gradle Version Catalogs in multimodular projects.

Each module declaration includes the external identifiers of its implementation dependencies, as well as an exact version declared within each module, which helps standardize versions across all modules.

It also allows for smarter mapping of existing version definitions between components, allowing developers to easily see what versions are being referenced at any given time.

How to apply and utilize the Version Catalog in individual modules

Applying and utilizing a Gradle Version Catalog across multiple modules can be accomplished by setting up a multimodule build structure within the app’s main Gradle project. When configuring each sub-module, apply the common version catalog via its URL so it dynamically grabs included dependency versions from its repository.

Utilizing this method allows developers to have easy access between modules when referencing their dependencies. This unified approach lets developers specify particular feature sets that should go across all modules in their application while adding flexibility for individual module independence.

All changes made inside of the version catalog will automatically reflect any changes centered downwards in individual modules and development teams do not have to worry about manually refactoring potential issues.

Benefits of Using Gradle Version Catalogs

Improved consistency and stability in dependency versions across modules

Using Gradle Version Catalogs to handle the dependencies in a multimodular project enables developers to ensure consistency and stability across modules.

Dependencies are defined within the Version Catalog so that each module can access the same, up-to-date versions during development and when releases are created.

This provides more consistent functionality during software testing, minimizing the chances of unexpected errors due to old or wrongly referenced dependency versions. Stability is also improved, reducing time spent debugging inconsistent behavior versus deploying standardized versions among all modules of a project.

Simplified dependency declaration and management

Using Gradle Version Catalogs can simplify the process of declaring and managing dependencies in multimodular projects. By centralizing dependency versioning and definitions into an active gradle project, coordinating across individual modules become significantly easier.

This enables automated synchronization of dependent versions without manual annotation for each module. What’s more, access controls help regulate suite-wide dependency updates only to individuals with permission to do so, making project maintenance thoroughly simple both among team members and external stakeholders.

Streamlined collaboration and easier onboarding of new team members

Using Gradle Version Catalogs in multimodular projects provides plenty of benefits for collaboration in software teams, as well as streamlined onboarding for new members. With centralized dependency version management, team members always know which tool versions should be used for particular modules.

This makes the working of code easier to understand and reduces time wastage related to incompatible software versions or setups.

Through a centralized system, older versions can also be kept to ensure reliable results against changesets, when necessary. This helps with web project security altogether also betters overall productivity and teamwork.

Enabling faster updates and maintenance of dependencies

Using Gradle Version Catalogs provides developers with a streamlined and efficient way to update and maintain the dependencies of their multimodular projects.

Projects can ensure up-to-date versions and secure external libraries, all within one central repository. When a dependency is updated, projects will automatically pull in the relevant changes immediately across any modules using that dependency.

This makes it much easier for teams to manage updates as they come, allowing them to focus on developing rather than dealing with unrelated tedious work such as hunting down conflicting library versions.

Best Practices and Tips for Using Gradle Version Catalogs

Gradle versions


Guidelines for organizing and naming dependencies in the Version Catalog

To maximize the utility of Gradle Version Catalogs within multimodular projects, it is imperative to have a clear system of organization and naming conventions for dependencies.

To prevent confusion and improve collaboration, each new dependency should be given an intuitively understandable name that will remain consistent across all modules in a project. This allows team members to more quickly and effectively search through a catalog for any given dependency with greater accuracy.

Additionally, all contents related to specific dependence can also be grouped together logically in order to streamline management even further.

Managing different versions and variations of dependencies

When using Gradle Version Catalogs, it is important to manage the different versions and variations of dependencies. This involves distinguishing between major, minor, beta and release versions for each dependency and defining conventions for handling them.

For instance, major version updates usually occur annually whereas minor version changes might be more frequent. Beta versions may also need to be considered in addition to the final release versions when declaring a specific dependency configuration in your catalog.

It is also helpful to assign codenames or other tags that distinguish special builds from regular ones, so it’s easier to track multiple flavor configurations of any given software module.

Handling dynamic and transitive dependencies with Gradle Version Catalogs

When using Gradle Version Catalogs to manage dynamic and transitive dependencies for a multimodular project, it is important to understand the route which these need to travel through in order for them to reach each of your modules.

The easiest approach is using global configurations in your version catalog, defining all relevant artifacts as a property and applying this field in each module’s build.gradle file as needed for every individual dependency.

By preventing scatter-gun declarations throughout different gradle files centrally within the Catalog, managing versions of specific transients may become simpler long-term.


Gradle Version Catalogs are a powerful and effective way to manage dependencies in complex multimodular software projects.

Using Version Catalogs enables tighter control of versions used within modules, helps ensure consistency between modules, simplifies the process for declaring new dependencies across teams of developers, and allows faster updates to keep up with changing requirements without having to change internal code frequently.

With their many features and benefits, Gradle Version Catalogs are an essential tool today for improving dependency management in any multi-module software application.

Ryan is the VP of Operations for He brings over a decade of experience in managing custom website and software development projects for clients small and large, managing internal and external teams on meeting and exceeding client expectations--delivering projects on-time and within budget requirements. Ryan is based in El Paso, Texas.
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Ryan Nead