Community 1 Maven 0 Eclipse -1
An open source mailing list I am on recently took up the interesting debate about the Merits of Maven going on in the blogosphere. Occasionally I remember I have a blog; and most of my email is too long anyways ...
Frank Hardisty asked: For projects the size and complexity of GeoTools and GeoServer, is there currently a viable alternative to Maven?
Is there an alternative to Maven
Good question - I think the alternative would be more organization on our part:
- less dependencies
- and to commit the jars into svn
There are two downsides:
- writing a lot more of our own software; and end up in a not invented here situation like many other projects.
- at the end of the day all we would be left with is a simple build
Personally I would rather share the burden of making a build system with other projects; ant is at the same primitive level as make. Scrips are produced and copied from project to project; and after a while it gets so fragile everyone is scared to touch it.
What I like about maven is the chance to look into some coverage tools (for example), notice that they support maven, and quickly try out a few by running maven a couple of times. I have to hand it to people like Justin and Martin who have gone ahead and made a few maven plug-ins for the community; I am so glad our build is not a mess of ant scripts, and hacks that only work on linux, and ... well lets say I have worked on a smaller project that took 40 mins to build.
On a related note I am stuck maintaining a simple build that does the exact same dependency management work (since it uses GeoTools jars) - the uDig application uses an ant script to suck down jar files from the maven repository. Maintaining this is a pain and we really wish we could make use of maven.
The uDig project is stuck between two evils; something called PDE Build which makes maven look like a cake walk; and Maven (who would solve our problems except that the eclipse foundation is a big pay to play mess).
PS. My rant here ends up being pro community; rather than pro maven
PPS. A cake walk is actually an American dance tradition; with the best dancer literally "taking the cake"
PPPS. There is a couple of Java Community Process module proposals going around trying to learn from both Spring, OSGi and the maven repository system