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 organizations 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. from WikiPedia
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