What on earth is a Build Scan, and why do I care?

Have you ever run a Gradle build that failed and seen this message?

Shows the console output of a failed Gradle build

I remember the first time I saw this message. I was having a particularly difficult time with solving my build issues, so I did what was suggested. After I published the build scan, I saw something like this:

Shows a published Build Scan

Actually it probably didn't look like that, because my experience was years ago and the build scan has evolved. But whatever.

I was a little disappointed with the Build Scan®, because to me, it just looked like the output of my build, which I could quite easily see in my console after I ran the failing build.

Fast-forward to 2024, and I have spent a lot more time with build scans. I have a much better feel for what's there, and how the information is useful for troubleshooting builds.

So when I was asked by Gradle to present a 15-minute product talk at DevoxxUK, I jumped at the chance to talk about build scans, specifically using Build Scan to troubleshoot Maven and Gradle builds (Bazel & sbt are also supported). The talk went surprisingly well! It's hard to present on a vendor-specific topic, because you don't want to give a sales pitch to developers, and you want to be genuine in what's cool and/or interesting about the product. Fortunately, during my time at Gradle so far, I've got to know and understand what a Build Scan is and what it shows you, and it's become pretty easy to be enthusiastic about it. Also, it's a totally free service!

Here's a 15-minute summary of how to use a Build Scan to troubleshoot your Maven and Gradle builds.

If this has left you wanting to know more, you're in luck! At the start of that presentation I mention that I've been working on more detailed training videos on the topic. I'm super pleased to announce that my Build Scan training course is now online, and totally free to take!

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