What is artifact?
Artifacts are files such as an executable or a compressed archive that are produced by a build process. It is roughly a dependency modules/library that you declare for your project.
Its a build system, used to automate and manage build process, while allowing you to define flexible custom build configurations.
Google saw one of the most advanced build systems on the market and realized that you could write scripts of your own with little to no learning curve, and without learning Groovy or any other new language. So they wrote the Android plugin for Gradle.
Gradle and android plugin help you configure the following: