Maven: The Complete Reference
When used judiciously, profiles can make it very easy to customize a build for different platforms. If something in your build needs to define a platform-specific path for something like an application server, you can put these configuration points in a profile which is activated by an operating system parameter. If you have a project which needs to produce different artifacts for different environments, you can customize the build behavior for different environments and platforms via profile-specific plugin behavior. Using profiles, builds can become portable, there is no need to rewrite your build logic to support a new environment, just override the configuration that needs to change and share the configuration points which can be shared.