Apache Maven

Maven is a software tool for Java project management and build automation created by Jason van Zyl in 2002. It is similar in functionality to the Apache Ant tool (and to a lesser extent, PHP's PEAR and Perl's CPAN), but has a simpler build configuration model, based on an XML format. Maven is hosted by the Apache Software Foundation, where it was formerly part of the Jakarta Project.

Maven uses a construct known as a Project Object Model (POM) to describe the software project being built, its dependencies on other external modules and components, and the build order. It comes with pre-defined targets for performing certain well defined tasks such as compilation of code and its packaging.

A key feature of Maven is that it is network-ready. The core engine can dynamically download plug-ins from a repository, the same repository that provides access to many versions of different Open Source Java projects, from Apache and other organisations and developers. This repository and its reorganized successor, the Maven 2 repository, strives to be the de facto distribution mechanism for Java applications, but its adoption has been slow. Maven provides built in support not just for retrieving files from this repository, but to upload artifacts at the end of the build. A local cache of downloaded artifacts acts as the primary means of synchronizing the output of projects on a local system.

Maven is based on a plugin-based architecture that allows it to make use of any application controllable through standard input. Theoretically, this would allow anyone to write plugins to interface with build tools (compilers, unit test tools, etc.) for any other language. In reality, support and use for languages other than Java has been minimal. Currently a plugin for the .Net framework exists and is maintained, and a C/C++ native plugin was at one time maintained for Maven 1.

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