REVIEW - Maven - A Developer's Notebook



A Developer's Notebook


Vincent Massol, Timothy O'Brien



O'Reilly (2005)




Michel Greve


August 2007



This book is a soft cover edition and contains no cd. This book is a hand on guide for Maven 1.0.

The book has a nice layout and reads well. Every paragraph has a number of sections.

  • Task to perform
  • How do I do that?
  • What just happened?
  • What about?

A paragraph describes a task and how to perform that task. Every step, including the output, is shown, so you know exactly what to do and what to expect. Besides the actual steps, they give a brief explanation what you just did and sometimes they give some alternatives to the chosen tools. E.g. SVN is explained, but they also give a brief explanation how to do this with CVS.

The book is organized in six sections:

  • Maven Jump-Start
  • Customizing Maven
  • Multiproject Maven
  • Project Reporting and Publishing
  • Team collaboration with Maven
  • Writing Maven Plug-ins

It starts with setting up a Maven environment. This part is quite extensive. It takes you by the hand installing Maven and how to start with a project. How to use Maven behind a proxy and it helps you use Maven on a project. Eclipse, source control and project documentation (and more) are all clearly explained. In the next chapter they dive deeper in the configuration of your Maven project. By developing self defined goals and by tweaking property files for the plug-ins you get the desired result. In the third chapter you learn how to create multiple artifacts with a Maven installation. This is of course without duplicating anything. The fourth chapter is about reporting. They talk you through multiple reports where one report task already showed you how to do it. So there are some wasted pages here. The chapter about team collaboration shows you how to use Maven with multiple users, so that every user has the same environment. Personally I don't think this isreally important, because some pages ahead they are talking about CruiseControl. Unfortunately, I couldn't get CruiseControl working properly. I don't think that the book is wrong. I did execute the task on a machine with a newer configuration (the book was printed in June 2005). The last chapter is about writing your own plug-ins with jelly, a scripting language. Jelly is replaced with Java in Maven 2.0. The appendix shows the plug-ins used in the book and how to install them. Although I appreciate that they list all the plug-ins, the rest of the appendix isn't worth the paper.

Unfortunately the book is dated. The version for Maven used in the book doesn't work anymore, so I worked with version 1.1 beta 3. Also the site generation and CruiseControl didn't work properly although I downloaded the source code from the website.

The book itself is very good. I like the clear explanation of the tasks performed and the task driven approach. The book gets you up and running in no time. It's a pity that they don't have a version of all the tools (and a repository for maven) on their website. The book would have stood the test of time. If they updated the book I would buy the book, but this version is NOT RECOMMENDED.

Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.

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