Eclipse Reference Project Management with Maven

I was using Eclipse for one for the previous projects as a development environment. It has some powerful features. But I have to say not as powerful as Visual Studio. Anyway since it is possibly the best IDE for Java development it was my choice on the day of implementation.

The project that I was working was done using Borland’s Jbuilder. Unfortunately that IDE doesn’t exist anymore as it is discontinued by a new company. Thanks to Eclipse import project wizard, the project migration wasn’t difficult at all.

I just opened the project XML and the project was ready to be working. However, when using with different big open source libraries, Eclipse has a problem in managing them. Actually I have a problem in managing them, because I need to find the required version of each dependency and so on. It is the difficulty of package and build management of eclipse.

It is often difficult to reference a library and get all the dependencies on Eclipse. Somehow it doesn’t warn at compile time as well and you get exception at runtime which is not nice enough.

Than I found a project called Maven for doing proper build systems. What it does is has an online repository that have all the dependencies filed and it downloads the required assemblies for your project. So you don’t have download each package separately and link to project. All the best it is very well integrated with eclipse with its marvelous plug-in.

You load the plug-in and tell maven to add a reference to your project. I know Java programmers call this as something else but since I’m mainly a .NET programmer I hope somebody will find it useful.

Anyway, it stores the configuration in XML file that you can tweak it later if needed. All the updates to the references can happen automatically as well which is quite nice.