A rather weak talent of Maven is probably its documentation. This is my personal opinion, but it seem to match what other people think. Yeah, it has been gotten better, but there is still some room...
It's not that there is not enough documentation available, it's just that the existing documentation is poorly organized and you often can't find what you need. Moreover, many documents (especially for plugins) are only scratching the surface, not even diving into the important shallows. Or, even worse, they give you wrong or inconsistent information...
Here is just one example: The surefire plugin page for surefire:test goal gives this description for the
excludes parameter: "List of patterns (separated by commas) used to specify the tests that should be excluded in testing. (...)". However, the example page for "Inclusions and Exclusions of Tests" shows an example that uses nested
elements – wait, what about the commas? So, what do you do? Go ahead and try yourself? I bet this type of annoyance is hitting every Maven newbie sooner or later.
Well, maybe the Maven team should start a coordinated, collaborative effort to improve documentation just like Wikipedia is doing once in a while. Or, better yet, why not move all documentation into some open Wiki and let the community work on what it thinks is missing, broken, inconsistent, badly organized, ...
Well, until then, we have to use what is available. This post tries to list most important pieces of online documentation, indispensable when you are dealing with Maven in a professional way. Let me know if you think something is missing on this list...
Introductory & General
- Main Site for Apache Maven project
- Maven Getting Started Guide – intended as a reference for those working with Maven for the first time
- The Maven 2 tutorial – a practical guide for Maven 2 users from Codehaus
- offical FAQ and unofficial FAQ
- Sonatype's Summary of Maven How-Tos
- List of Web Tutorials (How-To's)
- Maven: The Definitive Guide – a free book by Sonatype (using a Creative Commons license). High quality, up-to-date, written by some of the famous Maven gurus: Tim O'Brien, John Casey, Brian Fox, Bruce Snyder and Jason Van Zyl.
- Better Builds with Maven – another free book, originally maintained by Mergere, now managed by MaestroDev. This, too, is written by core members of the Apache Maven Project: Vincent Massol, Jason van Zyl, Brett Porter, et al.
- Maven plugins
- Maven Plugins – lists the core plugins (supported by the Maven projects) and others
- Mojo Project Plugins – hosted at Codehaus repository
- Cargo Maven Plugin – used to start/stop J2EE containers and deploy to them
- Docbkx Maven Plugin – hard to find, but useful for generating HTML/PDF from DocBook
- The POM
- Other important references
- Maven User List, hosted at MarkMail
- Maven Developer List, hosted at MarkMail
- Maven Project Issue Tracking (Jira)
Other Useful Links
- Maven Central – official Maven 2 repository
- MavenSearch.net – search several Maven repositories
- Jarvana search engine (Beta) – Maven-focused Java class and archive search engine
- Maven POM Report – verify if the dependencies in your POM are up-to-date
- 2009/05/11: added link to Sonatype's "Summary of Maven How-Tos" blog post – definitely worth to be listed here...
- 2009/05/28: added link to Maven Properties Guide wiki page