Last updated 23/07/2021
Maven is a popular open-source build tool developed by the Apache Group to build, publish, and deploy several projects at once for better project management. The tool provides allows developers to build and document the lifecycle framework.
Maven is written in Java and is used to build projects written in C#, Scala, Ruby, etc. Based on the Project Object Model (POM), this tool has made the lives of Java developers easier while developing reports, checks build, and testing automation setups.
Maven focuses on the simplification and standardization of the building process, taking care of the following:
Build tools are the tools or programs that help create an executable application from the source code. As the name suggests, it’s essential for building or scripting a wide variety of tasks.
The build tool is needed for the following processes:
Maven is so useful thanks to the Project Object Model (POM), which is an XML file that has all the information regarding the project and configuration details. The POM has the description of the project, details regarding the versioning, and configuration management of the project.
The XML file is located in the project home directory. When you execute a task, Maven searches for the POM in the current directory.
Using Maven is extremely easy, once you learn POM (Project Object Model), which is just an XML file containing details of the project. Some of these details might include the project name, version, package type, dependencies, Maven plugins, etc.
A (very) simple pom.xml file might look something like this:
Maven is chiefly used for Java-based projects, helping to download dependencies, which refers to the libraries or JAR files. The tool helps get the right JAR files for each project as there may be different versions of separate packages.
After Maven, downloading dependencies doesn’t require visiting the official websites of different software. You can visit mvnrepository to find libraries in different languages. The tool also helps to create the right project structure in struts, servlets, etc., which is essential for execution.
Maven’s primary goal is to allow a developer to comprehend the complete state of a development effort in the shortest period of time. In order to attain this goal, Maven deals with several areas of concern:
While using Maven doesn’t eliminate the need to know about the underlying mechanisms, Maven does shield developers from many details.
Maven builds a project using its project object model (POM) and a set of plugins. Once you familiarize yourself with one Maven project, you know how all Maven projects build. This saves time when navigating many projects.
Maven provides useful project information that is in part taken from your POM and in part generated from your project’s sources. For example, Maven can provide:
Third-party code analysis products also provide Maven plugins that add their reports to the standard information given by Maven.
Maven aims to gather current principles for best practices development and make it easy to guide a project in that direction.
For example, specification, execution, and reporting of unit tests are part of the normal build cycle using Maven. Current unit testing best practices were used as guidelines:
Maven also assists in project workflows such as release and issue management.
Maven also suggests some guidelines on how to lay out your project’s directory structure. Once you learn the layout, you can easily navigate other projects that use Maven.
While takes an opinionated approach to project layout, some projects may not fit with this structure for historical reasons. While Maven is designed to be flexible to the needs of different projects, it cannot cater to every situation without compromising its objectives.
If your project has an unusual build structure that cannot be reorganized, you may have to forgo some features or the use of Maven altogether.
There are over 2,000 companies using Maven today, most of which are located in the United States and in the Computer Science industry. Maven is also used in industries other than computer science, like information technology, financial services, banking, hospital and care, and much more.
Some of the largest corporations that use Maven include:
The syntax for running Maven is as follows:
1. mvn [options] [<goal(s)>] [<phase(s)>]
All available options are documented in the built-in help that you can access with
1. mvn -h
The typical invocation for building a Maven project uses a Maven life cycle phase. E.g.
1. mvn package
The built-in lifecycles and their phases are in order are:
A fresh build of a project generating all packaged outputs and the documentation site and deploying it to a repository manager could be done with
1.mvn clean deploy site-deploy
Just creating the package and installing it in the local repository for re-use from other projects can be done with
1. mvn verify
This is the most common build invocation for a Maven project.
When not working with a project, and in some other use cases, you might want to invoke a specific task implemented by a part of Maven - this is called a goal of a plugin. E.g.:
There are many different plugins available and they all implement different goals.
Without build tools like Maven or Gradle, developing and maintaining projects would be a painful process. Maven is a great tool that helps not only with building the application but also manages all the dependencies. Gradle is taking a large part of the Java build tool market and largely focuses on the same functional goal – to manage the build process. The difference is in the way how both tools work. The successful predecessor, Apache Ant, is still there with us but its market share is now really low.
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