Maven Quickstart

A quickstart guide for the java build tool maven

Maven is a build tool that is well supported for Free and Open Source projects. It has a centralised software hosting repository called Maven Central.

FOSS Galaxy is able to publish to Maven Central under the com.fossgalaxy namespace.


Maven and Java should be packaged in most major distributions.


For Fedora, OpenJDK is published as java-$version-openjdk where $version is the version being used. At time of writing that is either 1.8.0, 11, or latest.

sudo dnf install -y java-11-openjdk java-11-openjdk-{devel,src,javadoc}
sudo dnf install maven

The packages pulled down in this example are:

The Java runtime (Java itself)
Development files (compiler, linker, documentation tool, etc…)
Source code for Java 11 (can be used for IDE integration), optional
Documentation for Java 11 (can be used for IDE integration), optional

Depending on how the project works, you might also need the -jmods package. This was introduced in Java 9 and doesn’t have much usage inside our projects at present.


Maven has good support in the most popular Java IDEs available (intellij and eclipse). To use this functionality open the Maven project in your IDE of choice and you should be presented with the option to import the project settings.


When opening a Maven project in Intellij, you must select the pom.xml file, not the folder. If you select the folder intellij will create it’s own project files and won’t use Maven.

If prompted to do so, enable auto import as this will keep your pom.xml and intellij project in sync.


Eclipse has maven integration by default. You can open a maven project by using the import... option in the file menu and selecting maven project from the list of project types.

From the command line

You can also use Maven from the command line to build software. An IDE is recommended for actually doing development.

$ cd ~/path/to/project
$ mvn package

The maven package command will generate a jar file in the target/ directory.

You can also run unit tests using the mvn test command.

Dependency Management

Maven maintains it’s own repository of dependencies. Some of these might be packaged in your distribution, but in my experiance most will not be. Maven will cache downloads in ~/.m2/ meaning that the dependencies will only be downloaded once.

Dependencies tend to be numerious, but relatively small (a few hundred kb) and so are usually fast to download. Maven plugins (tools which are used as part of the build process) are downloaded in the same way.

Almost all of our Java software is published on Maven Central, as it the dependencies. Because of this, the group and artifact IDs must be approved before being published (we can publish anything under com.fossgalaxy.*).

Maven will also download source and javadocs for dependencies if asked to do so. This can be helpful for debugging.

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