Maven: The Complete Reference

4.3. Common Lifecycle Goals

Many of the packaging lifecycles have similar goals. If you look at the goals bound to the WAR and JAR lifecycles, you’ll see that they differ only in the package phase. The package phase of the WAR lifecycle calls war:war and the package phase of the JAR lifecycle calls jar:jar. Most of the lifecycles you will come into contact with share some common lifecycle goals for managing resources, running tests, and compiling source code. In this section, we’ll explore some of these common lifecycle goals in detail.

4.3.1. Process Resources

The process-resources phase "processes" resources and copies them to the output directory. If you haven’t customized the default directory locations defined in the Super POM, this means that Maven will copy the files from ${basedir}/src/main/resources to ${basedir}/target/classes or the directory defined in ${project.build.outputDirectory}. In addition to copying the resources to the output directory, Maven can also apply a filter to the resources that allows you to replace tokens within resource file. Just like variables are referenced in a POM using ${...} notation, you can reference variables in your project’s resources using the same syntax. Coupled with build profiles, such a facility can be used to produce build artifacts which target different deployment platforms. This is something that is common in environments which need to produce output for development, testing, staging, and production platforms from the same project. For more information about build profiles, see Chapter 5, Build Profiles.

To illustrate resource filtering, assume that you have a project with an XML file in src/main/resources/META-INF/service.xml. You want to externalize some configuration variables to a properties file. In other words, you might want to reference a JDBC URL, username, and password for your database, and you don’t want to put these values directly into the service.xml file. Instead, you would like to use a properties file to capture all of the configuration points for your program. Doing this will allow you to consolidate all configuration into a single properties file and make it easier to change configuration values when you need to target a new deployment environment. First, take a look at the contents of service.xml in src/main/resources/META-INF.

Using Properties in Project Resources. 

<service>
    <!-- This URL was set by project version ${project.version} -->
    <url>${jdbc.url}</url>
    <user>${jdbc.username}</user>
    <password>${jdbc.password}</password>
</service>

This XML file uses the same property reference syntax you can use in the POM. In fact, the first variable referenced is the project variable which is also an implicit variable made available in the POM. The project variable provides access to POM information. The next three variable references are jdbc.url, jdbc.username, and jdbc.password. These custom variables are defined in a properties file src/main/filters/default.properties.

default.properties in src/main/filters. 

jdbc.url=jdbc:hsqldb:mem:mydb
jdbc.username=sa
jdbc.password=

To configure resource filtering with this default.properties file, we need to specify two things in a project’s POM: a list of properties files in the filters element of the build configuration, and a flag to Maven that the resources directory is to be filtered. The default Maven behavior is to skip filtering and just copy the resources to the output directory; you’ll need to explicitly configure resource filter, or Maven will skip the step altogether. This default ensures that Maven’s resource filtering feature doesn’t surprise you out of nowhere and clobbering any ${...} references you didn’t want it to replace.

Filter Resources (Replacing Properties). 

<build>
    <filters>
        <filter>src/main/filters/default.properties</filter>
    </filters>
    <resources>
        <resource>
            <directory>src/main/resources</directory>
            <filtering>true</filtering>
        </resource>
    </resources>
</build>

As with all directories in Maven, the resources directory does not need to be in src/main/resources. This is just the default value defined in the Super POM. You should also note that you don’t need to consolidate all of your resources into a single directory. You can always separate resources into separate directories under src/main. Assume that you have a project which contains hundreds of XML documents and hundreds of images. Instead of mixing the resources in the src/main/resources directory, you might want to create two directories src/main/xml and src/main/images to hold this content. To add directories to the list of resource directories, you would add the following resource elements to your build configuration.

Configuring Additional Resource Directories. 

<build>
    ...
    <resources>
        <resource>
            <directory>src/main/resources</directory>
        </resource>
        <resource>
            <directory>src/main/xml</directory>
        </resource>
        <resource>
            <directory>src/main/images</directory>
        </resource>
    </resources>
    ...
</build>

When you are building a project that produces a console application or a command-line tool, you’ll often find yourself writing simple shell scripts that need to reference the JAR produced by a build. When you are using the assembly plugin to produce a distribution for an application as a ZIP or TAR, you might place all of your scripts in a directory like src/main/command. In the following POM resource configuration, you’ll see how we can use resource filtering and a reference to the project variable to capture the final output name of the JAR. For more information about the Maven Assembly plugin, see Chapter 8, Maven Assemblies.

Filtering Script Resources. 

<build>
    <groupId>org.sonatype.mavenbook</groupId>
    <artifactId>simple-cmd</artifactId>
    <version>2.3.1</version>
    ...
    <resources>
        <resource>
            <filtering>true</filtering>
            <directory>${basedir}/src/main/command</directory>
            <includes>
                <include>run.bat</include>
                <include>run.sh</include>
            </includes>
            <targetPath>${basedir}</targetPath>
        </resource>
        <resource>
            <directory>${basedir}/src/main/resources</directory>
        </resource>
    </resources>
    ...
</build>

If you run mvn process-resources in this project, you will end up with two files, run.sh and run.bat, in ${basedir}. We’ve singled out these two files in a resource element, configuring filtering, and set the targetPath to be ${basedir}. In a second resource element, we’ve configured the default resources path to be copied to the default output directory without any filtering. Filtering Script Resources shows you how to declare two resource directories and supply them with different filtering and target directory preferences. The project from Filtering Script Resources would contain a run.bat file in src/main/command with the following content:

@echo off
java -jar ${project.build.finalName}.jar %*

After running mvn process-resources, a file named run.bat would appear in ${basedir} with the following content:

@echo off
java -jar simple-cmd-2.3.1.jar %*

The ability to customize filtering for specific subsets of resources is another reason why complex projects with many different kinds of resources often find it advantageous to separate resources into multiple directories. The alternative to storing different kinds of resources with different filtering requirements in different directories is to use a more complex set of include and exclude patterns to match all resource files which match a certain pattern.

4.3.2. Compile

Most lifecycles bind the Compiler plugin’s compile goal to the compile phase. This phase calls out to compile:compile which is configured to compile all of the source code and copy the bytecode to the build output directory. If you haven’t customized the values defined in the Super POM, compile:compile is going to compile everything from src/main/java to target/classes. The Compiler plugin calls out to javac and uses default source and target settings of 1.3 and 1.1. In other words, the compiler plugin assumes that your Java source conforms to Java 1.3 and that you are targeting a Java 1.1 JVM. If you would like to change these settings, you’ll need to supply the target and source configuration to the Compiler plugin in your project’s POM as shown in Setting the Source and Target Versions for the Compiler Plugin.

Setting the Source and Target Versions for the Compiler Plugin. 

<project>
    ...
    <build>
        ...
        <plugins>
            <plugin>
                <artifactId>maven-compiler-plugin</artifactId>
                <configuration>
                    <source>1.5</source>
                    <target>1.5</target>
                </configuration>
            </plugin>
        </plugins>
        ...
    </build>
    ...
</project>

Notice we are configuring the Compiler plugin, and not the specific compile:compile goal. If we were going to configure the source and target for just the compile:compile goal, we would place the configuration element below an execution element for the compile:compile goal. We’ve configured the target and source for the plugin because compile:compile isn’t the only goal we’re interested in configuring. The Compiler plugin is reused when Maven compiles tests using the compile:testCompile goal, and configuring target and source at the plugin level allows us to define it once for all goals in a plugin.

If you need to customize the location of the source code, you can do so by changing the build configuration. If you wanted to store your project’s source code in src/java instead of src/main/java and if you wanted build output to go to classes instead of target/classes, you could always override the default sourceDirectory defined by the Super POM.

Overriding the Default Source Directory. 

<build>
    ...
    <sourceDirectory>src/java</sourceDirectory>
    <outputDirectory>classes</outputDirectory>
    ...
</build>

Warning

While it might seem necessary to bend Maven to your own idea of project directory structure, we can’t emphasize enough that you should sacrifice your own ideas of directory structure in favor of the Maven defaults. This isn’t because we’re trying to brainwash you into accepting the Maven Way, but it will be easier for people to understand your project if it adheres to the most basic conventions. Just forget about this. Don’t do it.

4.3.3. Process Test Resources

The process-test-resources phase is almost indistinguishable from the process-resources phase. There are some trivial differences in the POM, but most everything the same. You can filter test resources just as you filter regular resources. The default location for test resources is defined in the Super POM as src/test/resources, and the default output directory for test resources is target/test-classes as defined in ${project.build.testOutputDirectory}.

4.3.4. Test Compile

The test-compile phase is almost identical to the compile phase. The only difference is that test-compile is going to invoke compile:testCompile to compile source from the test source directory to the test build output directory. If you haven’t customized the default directories from the Super POM, compile:testCompile is going to compile the source in src/test/java to the target/test-classes directory.

As with the source code directory, if you want to customize the location of the test source code and the output of test compilation, you can do so by overriding the testSourceDirectory and the testOutputDirectory. If you wanted to store test source in src-test/ instead of src/test/java and you wanted to save test bytecode to classes-test/ instead of target/test-classes, you would use the following configuration.

Overriding the Location of Test Source and Output. 

<build>
    ...
    <testSourceDirectory>src-test</testSourceDirectory>
    <testOutputDirectory>classes-test</testOutputDirectory>
    ...
</build>

4.3.5. Test

Most lifecycles bind the test goal of the Surefire plugin to the test phase. The Surefire plugin is Maven’s unit testing plugin, the default behavior of Surefire is to look for all classes ending in *Test in the test source directory and to run them as JUnit tests. The Surefire plugin can also be configured to run TestNG unit tests.

After running mvn test, you should also notice that the Surefire produces a number of reports in target/surefire-reports. This reports directory will have two files for each test executed by the Surefire plugin: an XML document containing execution information for the test, and a text file containing the output of the unit test. If there is a problem during the test phase and a unit test has failed, you can use the output of Maven and the contents of this directory to track down the cause of a test failure. This surefire-reports/ directory is also used during site generation to create an easy to read summary of all the unit tests in a project.

If you are working on a project that has some failing unit tests, but you want the project to produce output, you’ll need to configure the Surefire plugin to continue a build even if it encounters a failure. The default behavior is to stop a build whenever a unit test failure is encountered. To override this behavior, you’ll need to set the testFailureIgnore configuration property on the Surefire plugin to true.

Configuring Surefire to Ignore Test Failures. 

<build>
    <plugins>
        <plugin>
            <groupId>org.apache.maven.plugins</groupId>
            <artifactId>maven-surefire-plugin</artifactId>
            <configuration>
                <testFailureIgnore>true</testFailureIgnore>
            </configuration>
        </plugin>
        ...
    </plugins>
</build>

If you would like to skip tests altogether, you can do so by executing the following command:

$ mvn install -Dmaven.test.skip=true

The maven.test.skip variable controls both the Compiler and the Surefire plugin, if you pass in maven.test.skip you’ve told Maven to ignore tests altogether.

4.3.6. Install

The install goal of the Install plugin is almost always bound to the install lifecycle phase. This install:install goal simply installs a project’s main artifact to the local repository. If you have a project with a groupId of org.sonatype.mavenbook, an artifactId of simple-test, and a version of 1.0.2, the install:install goal is going to copy the JAR file from target/simple-test-1.0.2.jar to ~/.m2/repository/org/sonatype/mavenbook/simple-test/1.0.2/simple-test-1.0.2.jar. If the project has POM packaging, this goal will copy the POM to the local repository.

4.3.7. Deploy

The deploy goal of the Deploy plugin is usually bound to the deploy lifecycle phase. This phase is used to deploy an artifact to a remote Maven repository, this is usually required to update a remote repository when you are performing a release. The deployment procedure can be as simple as copying a file to another directory or as complex as transferring a file over SCP using a public key. Deployment settings usually involve credentials to a remote repository, and, as such, deployment settings are usually not stored in a pom.xml. Instead, deployment settings are more frequently found in an individual user’s ~/.m2/settings.xml. For now, all you need to know is that the deploy:deploy goal is bound to the deploy phase and it takes care of transporting an artifact to a published repository and updating any repository information which might be affected by such a deployment.