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evant / gradle-retrolambda


A gradle plugin for getting java lambda support in java 6, 7 and android


Gradle Retrolambda Plugin

Maven Central

This plugin will automatically build your java or android project with retrolambda, giving you lambda goodness on java 6 or 7. It relies on the wonderful retrolambda by Esko Luontola.

Note: The minimum android gradle plugin is 1.0.0.


  1. Download jdk8.

  2. Add the following to your build.gradle

    buildscript {
      repositories {
      dependencies {
         classpath 'me.tatarka:gradle-retrolambda:3.2.3'
    // Required because retrolambda is on maven central
    repositories {
    apply plugin: '' //or apply plugin: 'java'
    apply plugin: 'me.tatarka.retrolambda'

    alternatively, you can use the new plugin syntax for gradle 2.1+

    plugins {
      id "me.tatarka.retrolambda" version "3.2.3"
  3. There is no step three!

The plugin will compile the source code with java8 and then replace the class files with the output of retrolambda.


Configuration is entirely optional, the plugin will by default pick up the JAVA5_HOME/JAVA6_HOME/JAVA7_HOME/JAVA8_HOME environment variables. It's also smart enough to figure out what version of java you are running gradle with. For example, if you have java8 set as your default, you only need to define JAVA5_HOME/JAVA6_HOME/JAVA7_HOME. If you need to though, you can add a block like the following to configure the plugin:

retrolambda {
  jdk System.getenv("JAVA8_HOME")
  oldJdk System.getenv("JAVA6_HOME")
  javaVersion JavaVersion.VERSION_1_6
  jvmArgs '-arg1', '-arg2'
  defaultMethods false
  incremental true
  • jdk Set the path to the java 8 jdk. The default is found using the environment variable JAVA8_HOME. If you a running gradle with java 5, 6 or 7, you must have either JAVA8_HOME or this property set.
  • oldJdk Sets the path to the java 5, 6 or 7 jdk. The default is found using the environment variable JAVA5_HOME/JAVA6_HOME/JAVA7_HOME. If you are running gradle with java 8 and wish to run unit tests, you must have either JAVA5_HOME/JAVA6_HOME/JAVA7_HOME or this property set. This is so the tests can be run with the correct java version.
  • javaVersion Set the java version to compile to. The default is 6. Only 5, 6 or 7 are accepted.
  • include 'Debug', 'Release' Sets which sets/variants to run through retrolambda. The default is all of them.
  • exclude 'Test' Sets which sets/variants to not run through retrolambda. Only one of either include or exclude should be defined.
  • jvmArgs Add additional jvm args when running retrolambda.
  • defaultMethods Turn on default and static methods in interfaces support. Note: due to a limitation in retrolamba, this will set incremental to false. The default is false.
  • incremental Setting this to false forces all of your class files to be run through retrolambda instead of only the ones that have changed. The default is true.

Using a Different Version of the retrolambda.jar

The default version of retrolambda used is 'net.orfjackal.retrolambda:retrolambda:2.0.5'. If you want to use a different one, you can configure it in your dependencies.

dependencies {
  // Latest one on maven central
  retrolambdaConfig 'net.orfjackal.retrolambda:retrolambda:+'
  // Or a local version
  // retrolambdaConfig files('libs/retrolambda.jar')

Android Studio Setup

Add these lines to your build.gradle to inform the IDE of the language level.

android {
  compileOptions {
    sourceCompatibility JavaVersion.VERSION_1_8
    targetCompatibility JavaVersion.VERSION_1_8


This plugin is fully compatible with proguard (since v2.4.0). In your proguard file, add

-dontwarn java.lang.invoke.*

Known Issues

Lint fails on java files that have lambdas.

Android's lint doesn't understand java 8 syntax and will fail silently or loudly. There is now an experimental fork that fixes the issue.

Using Google Play Services causes retrolambda to fail

Version 5.0.77 contains bytecode that is incompatible with retrolambda. This should be fixed in newer versions of play services, if you can update, that should be the preferred solution. To work around this issue, you can either use an earlier version like 4.4.52 or add -noverify to the jvm args. See orfjackal/retrolambda#25 for more information.

retrolambda {
  jvmArgs '-noverify'

Compiling for android-L doesn't work when using Android Studio's sdk manager.

For some reason only known to the gods, when using Android Studio's sdk manager, there is no android-L directory sdk directory. Instead, it happily builds using the android-20 directory instead. To work around this, you can symlink the android-L directory to point to android-20. See #36.

Build fails with using android-apt

This is because android-apt modifies the javaCompile task and this plugin replaces it. Since v2.4.1 this is fixed, you just need to ensure you apply this plugin last.


All updates have moved to the CHANGELOG.


Copyright 2013 Evan Tatarka

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License");
you may not use this file except in compliance with the License.
You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software
distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS,
See the License for the specific language governing permissions and
limitations under the License.