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Programming language: Groovy
Tags: Plugin     Gradle    
Latest version: v2.5.0

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README

Gradle Play Publisher

Gradle Play Publisher is Android's unofficial release automation Gradle Plugin. It can do anything from building, uploading, and then promoting your App Bundle or APK to publishing app listings and other metadata.

Table of contents

  1. Quickstart guide
  2. Prerequisites
    1. Initial Play Store upload
    2. Signing configuration
    3. Service Account
  3. Basic setup
    1. Installation
    2. Authenticating Gradle Play Publisher
  4. Task organization
  5. Managing artifacts
    1. Common configuration
    2. Publishing an App Bundle
    3. Publishing APKs
    4. Uploading an Internal Sharing artifact
    5. Promoting artifacts
    6. Handling version conflicts
  6. Managing Play Store metadata
    1. Quickstart
    2. Directory structure
    3. Publishing listings
    4. Publishing in-app products
  7. Working with product flavors
    1. Disabling publishing
    2. Combining artifacts into a single release
    3. Using multiple Service Accounts
  8. Advanced topics
    1. Using CLI options
    2. Encrypting Service Account keys
    3. Using HTTPS proxies

Quickstart guide

  1. Upload the first version of your APK or App Bundle using the Google Play Console
  2. Create a Google Play Service Account
  3. Sign your release builds with a valid signingConfig
  4. Add and apply the plugin
  5. Authenticate GPP

Prerequisites

Initial Play Store upload

The first APK or App Bundle needs to be uploaded via the Google Play Console because registering the app with the Play Store cannot be done using the Play Developer API. For all subsequent uploads and changes, GPP may be used.

Signing configuration

To successfully upload apps to the Play Store, they must be signed with your developer key. Make sure you have a valid signing configuration.

Service Account

To use GPP, you must create a service account with access to the Play Developer API:

  1. If you don't already have one, create a GCP project for your app(s)
  2. Create a service account key
    1. Select New service account
    2. Give it a name, but don't select any roles
    3. Leave JSON checked
    4. If it asks for roles, continue without selecting any
  3. Move the downloaded JSON credentials into your project and tell GPP about it
  4. Link your developer account to the GCP project in which you created the service account
  5. Give your service account permissions to publish apps on your behalf
    1. Click Invite new user
    2. Copypasta the service account email (you can find it in the JSON credentials)
    3. Don't touch the roles
    4. Specify which apps the service account should have access to:

Basic setup

Installation

Apply the plugin to each individual com.android.application module where you want to use GPP through the plugins {} DSL:

Kotlin

plugins {
    id("com.android.application")
    id("com.github.triplet.play") version "2.5.0"
}

Groovy

plugins {
    id 'com.android.application'
    id 'com.github.triplet.play' version '2.5.0'
}

Snapshot builds

If you're prepared to cut yourself on the bleeding edge of GPP development, snapshot builds are available from Sonatype's snapshots repository:

Kotlin

buildscript {
    repositories {
        // ...
        maven("https://oss.sonatype.org/content/repositories/snapshots")
    }

    dependencies {
        // ...
        classpath("com.github.triplet.gradle:play-publisher:2.6.0-SNAPSHOT")
    }
}

Groovy

buildscript {
    repositories {
        // ...
        maven { url 'https://oss.sonatype.org/content/repositories/snapshots' }
    }

    dependencies {
        // ...
        classpath 'com.github.triplet.gradle:play-publisher:2.6.0-SNAPSHOT'
    }
}

Authenticating Gradle Play Publisher

After you've gone through the Service Account setup, you should have a JSON file with your private key. Add a play block alongside your android one with the file's location:

android { ... }

play {
    serviceAccountCredentials = file("your-key.json")
}

Task organization

GPP follows the Android Gradle Plugin's naming convention: [action][Variant][Thing]. For example, publishPaidReleaseBundle will be generated if have a paid product flavor.

Lifecycle tasks to publish multiple product flavors at once are also available. For example, publishBundle publishes all variants.

To find available tasks, run ./gradlew tasks --group publishing and use ./gradlew help --task [task] where task is something like publishBundle to get more detailed documentation for a specific task.

Note: if a task conflict occurs, say with the maven-publish plugin for example, be sure to apply the GPP plugin last. Conflicting tasks will then be prefixed with gpp (ex: publish -> gppPublish).

Managing artifacts

GPP supports uploading both the App Bundle and APK. Once uploaded, GPP also supports promoting those artifacts to different tracks.

Common configuration

Several options are available to customize how your artifacts are published:

  • track is the target stage for an artifact, i.e. internal/alpha/beta/production or any custom track
    • Defaults to internal
  • releaseStatus is the type of release, i.e. completed/draft/inProgress/halted
    • Defaults to completed
  • userFraction is the percentage of users who will receive a staged release
    • Defaults to 0.1 aka 10%
    • Note: the userFraction is only applicable where releaseStatus=[inProgress/halted]

Example configuration:

play {
    // Overrides defaults
    track = "production"
    userFraction = 0.5
    releaseStatus = "inProgress"

    // ...
}

Uploading release notes

While GPP can automatically build and find your artifact, you'll need to tell the plugin where to find your release notes.

Add a file under src/[sourceSet]/play/release-notes/[language]/[track].txt where sourceSet is a full variant name, language is one of the Play Store supported codes, and track is the channel you want these release notes to apply to (or default if unspecified).

As an example, let's assume you have these two different release notes:

src/main/play/release-notes/en-US/default.txt
.../beta.txt

When you publish to the beta channel, the beta.txt release notes will be uploaded. For any other channel, default.txt will be uploaded.

Note: the Play Store limits your release notes to a maximum of 500 characters.

Uploading developer facing release names

The Play Console supports customizing release names. These aren't visible to users, but may be useful for internal processes. Similar to release notes, release names may be specified by placing a [track].txt file in the release-names directory under your play folder. For example, here's a custom release name for the alpha track in the play/release-names/alpha.txt file:

My custom release name

There is also a --release-name CLI option for quick access. For example, ./gradlew publishBundle --release-name "Hello World!".

Note: the Play Store limits your release names to a maximum of 50 characters.

Uploading a pre-existing artifact

By default, GPP will build your artifact from source. In advanced use cases, this might not be the desired behavior. For example, if you need to inject translations into your APK or App Bundle after building it but before publishing it. Or perhaps you simply already have an artifact you wish to publish. GPP supports this class of use cases by letting you specify a directory in which publishable artifacts may be found:

play {
    // ...
    artifactDir = file("path/to/apk-or-app-bundle/dir")
}

For quick access, you can also use the --artifact-dir CLI option:

./gradlew publishBundle --artifact-dir path/to/app-bundle/dir

Note: all artifacts in the specified directory will be published.

Retaining artifacts

GPP supports keeping around old artifacts such as OBB files or WearOS APKs:

play {
    // ...
    retain {
        artifacts = listOf(123) // Old APK version code
        mainObb = 123 // Old main OBB version code
        patchObb = 123 // Old patch OBB version code
    }
}

Publishing an App Bundle

Run ./gradlew publishBundle.

Defaulting to the App Bundle

You'll notice that if you run ./gradlew publish, it uploads an APK by default. To change this, default to the App Bundle:

play {
    // ...
    defaultToAppBundles = true
}

Publishing APKs

Run ./gradlew publishApk. Splits will be uploaded if available.

Uploading an Internal Sharing artifact

Run ./gradlew uploadReleasePrivateBundle for App Bundles and ./gradlew uploadReleasePrivateApk for APKs. To upload an existing artifact, read about how to do so.

Installing Internal Sharing artifacts

To accelerate development, GPP supports uploading and then immediately installing Internal Sharing artifacts. This is similar to the AGP's install[Variant] task.

Run ./gradlew installReleasePrivateArtifact to install an artifact built on-the-fly and ./gradlew uploadReleasePrivateBundle --artifact-dir path/to/artifact installReleasePrivateArtifact to install an existing artifact.

Promoting artifacts

Existing releases can be promoted and/or updated to the configured track with ./gradlew promoteArtifact.

By default, the track from which to promote a release is determined by the most unstable channel that contains a release. Example: if the alpha channel has no releases, but the beta and prod channels do, the beta channel will be picked. To configure this manually, use the fromTrack property:

play {
    // ...
    fromTrack = "alpha"
}

Similarly, the track to which to promote a release defaults to the promoteTrack property. If unspecified, the track property will be used instead. Example configuration:

play {
    // ...
    promoteTrack = "beta"
}

If you need to execute a one-time promotion, you can use the CLI args. For example, this is how you would promote an artifact from the alpha ➡️ beta track with only 25% of users getting the release:

./gradlew promoteArtifact \
  --from-track alpha --promote-track beta \
  --release-status inProgress --user-fraction .25

Handling version conflicts

If an artifact already exists with a version code greater than or equal to the one you're trying to upload, an error will be thrown when attempting to publish the new artifact. You have two options:

  • Ignore the error and continue (ignore)
  • Automatically pick the correct version code so you don't have to manually update it (auto)

Example configuration:

play {
    // ...
    resolutionStrategy = "ignore"
}

Post-processing outputs sanitized by auto resolution

For example, you could update you app's version name based on the new version code:

play {
    // ...
    resolutionStrategy = "auto"
    outputProcessor { // this: ApkVariantOutput
        versionNameOverride = "$versionNameOverride.$versionCode"
    }
}

Managing Play Store metadata

GPP supports uploading any metadata you might want to change with each release, from screenshots and descriptions to in-app purchases and subscriptions.

Quickstart

GPP includes a bootstrap task that pulls down your existing listing and initializes everything for you. To use it, run ./gradlew bootstrap.

Note: if you have a pre-existing play folder, it will be reset.

Directory structure

GPP follows the Android Gradle Plugin's source set guidelines and priorities. src/[sourceSet]/play is the base directory for Play Store metadata. Since main is the most common source set, it will be assumed in all following examples.

In addition to merging metadata across variants, GPP merges translations. That is, if a resources is provided in a default language such as en-US but not in fr-FR, the resource will be copied over when uploading French metadata.

Publishing listings

Run ./gradlew publishListing.

Uploading global app metadata

Base directory: play

File Description
contact-email.txt Developer email
contact-phone.txt Developer phone
contact-website.txt Developer website
default-language.txt The default language for both your Play Store listing and translation merging as described above

Uploading text based listings

Base directory: play/listings/[language] where language is one of the Play Store supported codes

File Description Character limit
title.txt App title 50
short-description.txt Tagline 80
full-description.txt Full description 4000
video-url.txt Youtube product video N/A

Uploading graphic bases listings

Directory: play/listings/[language]/graphics where language is defined as in the previous section

Image files are organized a bit differently than in previous sections. Instead of the file name, the parent directory's name is used as the media type. This is because multiple images may be provided for the same media type. While file names are arbitrary, they will be uploaded in alphabetical order and presented on the Play Store as such. Therefore, we recommend using a number as the file name (1.png for example). Both PNG and JPEG images are supported.

Directory Max # of images Image dimension constraints (px)
icon 1 512x512
feature-graphic 1 1024x500
promo-graphic 1 180x120
phone-screenshots 8 [320..3840]x[320..3840]
tablet-screenshots 8 [320..3840]x[320..3840]
large-tablet-screenshots 8 [320..3840]x[320..3840]
tv-banner 1 1280x720
tv-screenshots 8 [320..3840]x[320..3840]
wear-screenshots 8 [320..3840]x[320..3840]

Publishing in-app products

Run ./gradlew publishProducts.

Manually setting up in-app purchase files is not recommended. Bootstrap them instead with ./gradlew bootstrap --products.

Working with product flavors

When working with product flavors, granular configuration is key. GPP provides varying levels of granularity to best support your needs, all through the playConfigs block:

Kotlin

play {
    // In a simple app, this play block is all you'll need. However, in an app with product flavors,
    // the play block becomes a place to store default configurations. Anything configured in here
    // will apply to all product flavors, that is, unless an override is supplied in the playConfigs
    // block.
}

android {
    // Suppose we have the following flavors
    flavorDimensions("customer", "type")
    productFlavors {
        register("firstCustomer") { setDimension("customer") }
        register("secondCustomer") { setDimension("customer") }

        register("demo") { setDimension("type") }
        register("full") { setDimension("type") }
    }

    playConfigs {
        // Now, we can configure GPP however precisely is required.

        // Configuration overrides occur in a cascading manner from most to least specific. That is,
        // a property configured in a build type + flavor combo overrides that same property
        // configured in a flavor combo, which overrides a build type combo, which in turn overrides
        // the play block. Properties not configured are inherited.
        register("firstCustomerFullRelease") { ... } // Build type + flavor
        register("firstCustomer") { ... } // Flavor
        register("release") { ... } // Build type
    }
}

Groovy

play {
    // In a simple app, this play block is all you'll need. However, in an app with product flavors,
    // the play block becomes a place to store default configurations. Anything configured in here
    // will apply to all product flavors, that is, unless an override is supplied in the playConfigs
    // block.
}

android {
    // Suppose we have the following flavors
    flavorDimensions 'customer', 'type'
    productFlavors {
        firstCustomer { dimension 'customer' }
        secondCustomer { dimension 'customer' }

        demo { dimension 'type' }
        full { dimension 'type' }
    }

    playConfigs {
        // Now, we can configure GPP however precisely is required.

        // Configuration overrides occur in a cascading manner from most to least specific. That is,
        // a property configured in a build type + flavor combo overrides that same property
        // configured in a flavor combo, which overrides a build type combo, which in turn overrides
        // the play block. Properties not configured are inherited.
        firstCustomerFullRelease { ... } // Build type + flavor
        firstCustomer { ... } // Flavor
        release { ... } // Build type
    }
}

Disabling publishing

Sometimes, you may not want to publish all variants of your app. Or maybe you don't want publishing enabled on CI or local dev machines. Whatever the case may be, GPP can be disabled with the enabled property:

Kotlin

android {
    // ...

    playConfigs {
        register("myCustomVariantOrProductFlavor") {
            isEnabled = true
        }

        // ...
    }
}

play {
    isEnabled = false // This disables GPP by default. It could be the other way around.
    // ...
}

Groovy

android {
    // ...

    playConfigs {
        myCustomVariantOrProductFlavor {
            enabled = true
        }

        // ...
    }
}

play {
    enabled = false // This disables GPP by default. It could be the other way around.
    // ...
}

Combining artifacts into a single release

By default, GPP assumes every product flavor consists of a separate, independent app. To tell GPP this isn't the case, you must use the commit property:

Kotlin

android {
    // ...

    playConfigs {
        register("someFlavor1") {
            commit = false
        }

        register("someFlavor[2..N)") {
            commit = false
        }

        register("someFlavorN") {
            // This isn't actually needed since the default is true. Here's what you *do* need:
            // 1. A starter no-commit variant (someFlavor1 in this case)
            // 2. (Optional) Intermediate no-commit variants (someFlavor2, someFlavor3, ...)
            // 3. One finisher variant to commit (aka do NOT mark someFlavorN as no-commit)
            commit = true
        }

        // ...
    }
}

afterEvaluate {
    // Now make sure the tasks execute in the right order
    val intermediateTasks = listOf(
            "publishSomeFlavor2Release[Apk/Bundle]",
            "publishSomeFlavor3Release[Apk/Bundle]",
            ...
    )
    tasks.matching { it.name in intermediateTasks }.configureEach {
        mustRunAfter("publishSomeFlavor1Release[Apk/Bundle]")
    }
    tasks.named("publishSomeFlavorNRelease[Apk/Bundle]").configure {
        mustRunAfter(intermediateTasks)
    }
}

Groovy

android {
    // ...

    playConfigs {
        someFlavor1 {
            commit = false
        }

        someFlavor[2..N) {
            commit = false
        }

        someFlavorN {
            // This isn't actually needed since the default is true. Here's what you *do* need:
            // 1. A starter no-commit variant (someFlavor1 in this case)
            // 2. (Optional) Intermediate no-commit variants (someFlavor2, someFlavor3, ...)
            // 3. One finisher variant to commit (aka do NOT mark someFlavorN as no-commit)
            commit = true
        }

        // ...
    }
}

afterEvaluate {
    // Now make sure the tasks execute in the right order
    def intermediateTasks = [
            "publishSomeFlavor2Release[Apk/Bundle]",
            "publishSomeFlavor3Release[Apk/Bundle]",
            ...
    ]
    tasks.matching { intermediateTasks.contains(it.name) }.configureEach {
        mustRunAfter("publishSomeFlavor1Release[Apk/Bundle]")
    }
    tasks.named("publishSomeFlavorNRelease[Apk/Bundle]").configure {
        mustRunAfter(intermediateTasks)
    }
}

Using multiple Service Accounts

If you need to publish each build flavor to a separate Play Store account, simply provide separate credentials per product flavor.

Kotlin

android {
    // ...

    playConfigs {
        register("firstCustomer") {
            serviceAccountCredentials = file("customer-one-key.json")
        }

        register("secondCustomer") {
            serviceAccountCredentials = file("customer-two-key.json")
        }
    }
}

Groovy

android {
    // ...

    playConfigs {
        firstCustomer {
            serviceAccountCredentials = file('customer-one-key.json')
        }

        secondCustomer {
            serviceAccountCredentials = file('customer-two-key.json')
        }
    }
}

Advanced topics

Using CLI options

All configuration options available in the play block are also available as CLI options so you don't have to update your build file when making one-time changes. For example, to configure play.track on demand, use the --track option. camelCase options are converted to kebab-case ones.

To get a list of options and their quick documentation, use ./gradlew help --task [task] where task is something like publishBundle.

Encrypting Service Account keys

If you commit unencrypted Service Account keys to source, you run the risk of letting anyone access your Google Play account. To circumvent this issue, many CI servers support encrypting files while keeping fake versions in public source control. Here is a set of common fake files you might need and ways to encrypt your real keys for a few common CI servers:

Using HTTPS proxies

If you need to use GPP behind an HTTPS-proxy, but it fails with an SSLHandshakeException, you can provide your own truststore via the javax.net.ssl.trustStore property in your project's gradle.properties:

systemProp.javax.net.ssl.trustStore=/path/to/your/truststore.ks
systemProp.javax.net.ssl.trustStorePassword=YourTruststorePassword

GPP will automatically pick it up and use your proxy.