Understanding the Standard Directory Structure of a Gradle Project

When working with Gradle, a popular build automation tool, understanding the standard directory structure of a Gradle project is essential. This structure helps organize your source code, resources, and other assets in a way that makes it easy to maintain and build your project.

The src Directory

At the heart of a Gradle project is the src directory, which stands for "source." This directory serves as the root for all your project's source code and resources. Inside the src directory, you will find several subdirectories, each serving a specific purpose.


The src/main directory contains the main source code and resources of your project. This is where you will spend most of your time writing code. Inside src/main, you will find:

  • src/main/java: This directory contains the Java source code of your project. If you are developing in other languages like Kotlin or Groovy, you might find corresponding directories for those languages here as well.
  • src/main/resources: This directory holds resources such as configuration files, XML files, or property files that your project needs at runtime.


The src/test directory is where you put your test code and resources. Similar to src/main, it consists of:

  • src/test/java: This directory contains the unit tests for your project. Just like with the main source code, you can have multiple test directories for different languages.
  • src/test/resources: Here you can include any resources needed for testing, such as test data files or mocked configurations.

Additional Directories

Alongside src, a Gradle project may also contain additional directories that serve specific purposes:

  • build.gradle and settings.gradle: These files, located at the project root, define the configuration of your Gradle build. The build.gradle file contains build scripts and dependencies, while settings.gradle defines the structure of your multi-project build, if applicable.
  • build: The build directory holds the output of your Gradle build. This includes compiled classes, packaged artifacts, reports, and other build-related files. It is automatically generated by Gradle and should not be manually modified.
  • .gradle: This directory contains files generated by Gradle during the build process, such as caches, plugin scripts, and temporary files. You typically don't need to interact with it directly.

Customizing the Structure

While the standard directory structure provides a solid foundation for organizing your Gradle project, it is not set in stone. Depending on your project's specific requirements and conventions, you can customize it to suit your needs. For example, if you have additional code that is not part of the main or test sources, you can create separate directories within the src directory to accommodate it.

To customize the directory structure, you can modify the relevant sections in the build.gradle file. However, it's essential to keep the changes consistent across the entire project and communicate them clearly to your team members.


Understanding the standard directory structure of a Gradle project is crucial for effective project management and collaboration. The src directory, along with its main and test subdirectories, plays a central role in organizing your project's source code and resources. Additionally, there are other directories like build and .gradle that are automatically generated and should not be modified.

By following the standard practices and customizing the structure when necessary, you can ensure a well-organized and maintainable Gradle project.

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