Running Tests and Building React applications with Gradle Build Tool

In this short post, I will show you how you can integrate React applications created using create-react-app with Gradle build tool. We will cover how to build and run the tests as part of the Gradle build.

We will start by creating a sample application using create-react-app. To do that you need to have Nodejs 8.0+ installed on your machine.

npx create-react-app myapp

npx comes with nam 5.2+ and higher.

It will take few minutes to download and install all the dependencies. Once installed, your React app will be inside the myapp directory. Change directory to it.

cd myapp

Once inside the myapp, directory we will initialise a Gradle project using the init command as shown below.

gradle init --type basic --dsl groovy --project-name myapp

You need to have Gradle installed on your machine to run the above command. You can use SDKMAN to do that.

The above command will add Gradle build scripts and wrapper files.

Now, we have both React applications and Gradle scripts.

Next step that we have to do is to configure our build script to run React npm scripts.

For example, to build the project, you will use npm run build project.

Copy and paste the following contents to the build.gradle file.

plugins {
    id "com.moowork.node" version "1.2.0"

apply plugin: 'base'
apply plugin: "com.moowork.node"

node {
    version = "10.15.0"
    download = true

task bundle(type: NpmTask, dependsOn: npmInstall) {
    args = ['run', 'build']


In the script file above, we have done following:

  1. We used com.moowork.node plugin and applied in line 6
  2. We applied base plugin that gives us the base set of tasks that we can use in the build file. The assemble task used in line 17 comes from base plugin
  3. Next, we configure node plugin to use latest version of node. We asked it to download it if it is not presented.
  4. Next, we created a new task called bundle that executes the npm run build command. We made it extend NpmTask and made it dependent on npmInstall. The dependsOn ensures add dependency of one task on another. So, npm install will run before build the bundle
  5. Finally, we made assemble depend on bundle. This means when Gradle tries to run assemble task it will first run the custom task bundle.

You can run the build using Gradle now by executing following command.

If you are on Mac or Linux machine then you can run following

./gradlew clean build

If on Windows, then you can use

gradlew.bat clean build

The above will build the project and create bundle in the build directory.

You might be wondering how to execute React application tests in the build.

To do that, you have to create a new task in the build.gradle file.

task test(type: NpmTask) {
    environment = ['CI': 'true']
    args = ['run', 'test']


One important thing to note is the use of environment variable CI. The line 3 environment = ['CI': 'true'] creates an environment variable CI and set its value to true. This is required because it makes tests run once and process to exit. If you don’t set this environment variable then tests will run in the watch mode and your build will not finish.

Once, you have added test task and made check task depend on it then you can run the full build with tests.

./gradlew clean build

The output of the above will be as shown below.

> Task :bundle

> myapp@0.1.0 build myapp
> react-scripts build

Creating an optimized production build...
Compiled successfully.

File sizes after gzip:

  34.73 KB  build/static/js/1.0a7a1053.chunk.js
  763 B     build/static/js/runtime~main.229c360f.js
  712 B     build/static/js/main.e60ceb44.chunk.js
  510 B     build/static/css/main.a8b098db.chunk.css

> Task :test

> myapp@0.1.0 test myapp
> react-scripts test

PASS src/App.test.js
  ✓ renders without crashing (23ms)

Test Suites: 1 passed, 1 total
Tests:       1 passed, 1 total
Snapshots:   0 total
Time:        1.858s
Ran all test suites.

5 actionable tasks: 3 executed, 2 up-to-date

The Github repository for the project is here

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