Maven is a tool for building and managing java-based projects. The word “Maven” means accumulator of knowledge.

The POM file

The Project Object Model(POM) file pom.xml is the core of a projects configuration. It describes things like metadata, dependencies, plugins, relationship to other pom files and build settings.

A minimal pom.xml needs to have a groupId, artifactId and a version. The fields are called Maven Coordinates.

<project xmlns="" xmlns:xsi=""

Build lifecycles

Mavens build on the concept of lifecycles. There are three default lifecycles.

  • clean
  • default
  • site


A lifecycle is defined by a list build phases which can be seen as a stage in a lifecycle.

These are the phases of the default lifecycle

  • validate - validates project configuration
  • compile - compiles the source code
  • test - runs the tests
  • package - packages the compiled code to a distributable format. Ex a JAR file.
  • verify - verifies the ingration tests results
  • install - installs the package to a local repository
  • deploy - installs the package in a remote repository

When you run for example mvn package every phase including package is executed sequentially in the order above.

Plugin and goals

All of the work done by maven is done by plugins. Plugins defines goals. A goal is executed in phases which determines the order goals get executed in. For example the compile goal comes from the compiler plugin and is attached to the compile phase.

Standard directory layout

Maven defines a standard directory layout so that it’s easy to work with any maven project.

For example

  • src/main/java - Source code
  • src/main/resources - Resources
  • src/test/java - Test source code
  • README.txt

Dependency management

Maven helps with defining, creating and maintaining reproducible builds. Dependecies are a core feature of maven and are defined in the projects pom.xml.

Transitive dependencies

Maven resolves all dependencies of your project including and all the dependencies of their pom.xml.

Dependency Scope

A dependency can declare a scope which means when to include the dependency in the classpath. Examples of scopes are

    • compile - The default scope this means that the dependency will be included in all classpaths of a project
  • test - The dependency is needed only for running tests and is needed for normal execution.
  • import - Dependencies with type of pom and scope import can be used to import all dependencies from the specified dependency.

Dependency Management

The <dependencyManagement> can be used in a parent pom file to centralize configuration for shared dependencies. In a child pom you only need to specify groupId and artifactId.

Example maven commands

# Create a project from the quickstart template you can run
$ mvn archetype:generate -DartifactId=my-app -DarchetypeArtifactId=maven-archetype-quickstart -DarchetypeVersion=1.4 -DinteractiveMode=false

# Compile
$ mvn compile

# Create package
$ mvn package

# Clean the build artifacts
$ mvn clean