Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Migrating to Maven 2

In the last few weeks I had to dabble in Maven, either migrating existing projects or creating new ones. The experience has been conclusive. As long as I adhere to Maven's philosophy, I am able to get things accomplished.

For instance, after the experience gained in mavenizing logback, migrating SLF4J to Maven2 from Ant has taken only few hours. The resulting project structure is imho a little easier to understand and to maintain.

As many users have observed in the past, Maven has a number of rough edges. For instance, the archetype plug-in is not well documented and can behave strangely at times.

One peeve I have is with the site plugin which has a nasty habit of stripping attributes from XML elements in xdoc files. I don't know why it decides that style classes that you painstakingly added to your document is unworthy of its consideration.

I find dependency scopes, a core feature of Maven, quite confusing. For instance, the article "Introduction to the Dependency Mechanism" mentions that the provided scope is only available on the compilation class path, while I know for fact that it is also available on the test class path. Moreover, the same article gingerly refers to several class paths without defining their meaning. Interestingly enough, the table defining the transitivity of indirectly referred projects is not properly labelled because, as mentioned previously, the xdoc plug-in has a dubious habit of stripping element attributes or even whole elements it does not like.

All the criticism aside, I am beginning to get the hang of Maven, albeit screaming and shouting. If someone tells you that Maven is a breeze, don't believe them. Build management is not an easy problem and does not suddenly become easy with Maven.

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