Top 10 New Features in Maven 3

Maven 3.0 was just released and the Java build tool has come a long way since version 2 was released almost six years back. Maven 2 had reached a stage where it was difficult to extend and its code was difficult to understand. In version 3.0 many of the Maven internals have been revamped to overcome all the issues associated with Maven 2. In this article, I run down the top 10 features in Maven 3.

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Speed up your build with Maven 3

I have been trying to find ways to make my project’s maven build run fast. It is very frustrating and annoying when your project’s full build takes 12 minutes to complete. It does not happen too often in a day because you work at module level,  but 2-3 times a day you need to build the full project and if your build takes this long,  it really slows you down. These days builds take a lot of time because you embed all sorts of plugins in your build like checkstyle, findbugs, cobertura (It is evil because it run your test twice), etc.  Although,  It does give you time to have coffee but 12 minutes is way too much. So, I was really pissed off.

Few days back I was checking my tweets and found out that Maven is releasing its new version and it will have some performance improvements. Maven 3 is the latest version of maven which is expected to be released today.  So, I decided to play with it. I downloaded the beta version of  Maven 3, changed my windows path system variable to point to Maven 3 and ran a mvn clean install on my project. Without any build failures or other problems, the build just ran fine. I have heard that when Maven 2 was released people had hard time migrating from version 1 to 2 as it was not backward compatible. But Maven 3.0 is completely backward compatible and most of the plugins will also work fine. To my surprise, the build took 9 minutes. This is still a high number but it was way better than 12 minutes. Seeing this decrease in build time motivated me to read more about Maven 3.

After reading some blogs and watching Jason Van Zyl presentation,  I found out that there are lot of new features in Maven 3. One of the new features in Maven3 is Parallel Builds. Parallel build analyzes your project’s dependency graph and schedule modules that can be run in parallel. This is a very cool feature and it really sped up the build. To run a paralled build, you can type

mvn -T 4 clean install
mvn -T 2C clean install

The first command will run your build with 4 threads and second command will build your project with 2 threads per core. How fast your build will become, depends a lot on your project/build structure, how your unit tests are distributed in modules  so it may vary from project to project. For my project with 4 threads, the build time got reduced to under 6 minutes, which I think is  great.  You should try out some combination with number of threads or number of threads per core to find out the best possible combination for your project. I am very happy that build time of my project got reduced to almost half.

In his presentation, Jason Van Zyl talks a shell based tool called Maven Shell which can also further improve the performance. Maven Shell is maven embedded in a long lived shell process. It does not comes bundled with maven 3 so you have to download it from I tried running my project build inside Maven Shell but it gives PermGen space error all the time. I tried changing the perm gen memory setting but it didn’t helped. Maven shell is expected to run much fast because it caches the parsed POMs.

Maven 3 is definitely worth spending time so have a look at it. I have just touched the tip of iceberg , there are lot of new features in Maven 3.  I will try and talk about others in my future blogs.