Gradle dependency versions plugin

Developers often have a lot on their plates, maintaining current version of their library dependencies often takes a back seat to deliverables. Far too often, the only time a library is updated is when it becomes a problem, either as a vulnerability or as a headache that prevents other updates. Monitoring repositories and email lists can also be problematic.

To simplify some of the manual effort that often goes into this, use of build plugins can help. With them, each build, either on the developer desktop or as part of a CI (Continuous Integration) pipeline, can provide feedback to any developer that looks at the output.

Adding to a Gradle project only takes a few small changes:

In build.gradle:

plugins {
  id 'com.github.ben-manes.versions' version '0.51.0'

Then to invoke you can use:

./gradlew dependencyUpdates

To simplify for use with make, add to an existing step like ‘test’ in a Makefile like:

.PHONY: test
test: clean
  ./gradlew test dependencyUpdates