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Apache Rolls Out a New Maven

The word "Maven" is a Yiddish colloquialism that is defined as a self-appointed expert who shares knowledge with others. It's also a very appropriate name for a software project management tool, developed through the auspices of the venerable open source Apache Software Foundation (ASF).

With the launch of Maven 2.0 this week, the open source application is likely to gain further commercial adoption, as well.

Apache Maven 2.0 is now available, introducing many improvements over its predecessor, which was released just over a year ago.

At the heart of Maven is its project object model (POM), which controls builds, document creation, site publication and distribution publication.

Maven also provides tools that automatically generate other critical project development items, such as change logs based directly on source repository, source cross-references, developer and dependency lists among other project management and project comprehension tools.

Maven's developers claim that version 2.0 is "significantly faster and smaller than Maven 1.0." It also includes a long list of performance and usability enhancements including Enhanced Dependency Management, Defined Build Lifecycle, Unified Project Definition, Extended Plugin Architecture, Better Repository Support, New Site Management Tools and a new reporting API.

According to Jason Van Zyl, the Maven architect release manager, there is a real focus on project management in the latest version. In his view it is easy to get started with Maven 2.0 now.

"We have what we call 'archetypes,' which are prototype projects that people can get going in minutes," Van Zyl told internetnews.com.

"Anyone can make archetypes. A concrete example of that might be a company making an archetype for their Web services. The archetype is just a template of a Maven 2.0 project that encapsulates that organizations best practices and puts it in a reusable form so a dev can get setup in minutes making Web services within that company."

Van Zyl also noted that it is now very easy to work with multiple projects in Maven.

"Maven 2.0 now inherently deals with multiple projects; it's not an afterthought as in Maven 1.0," Van Zyl said. "Typically, large organizations are dealing with many projects."

Another difference between Maven 2.0 and its predecessor is that it has a commercial backer. Last November, Van Zyl co-founded startup Mergere, which sells supports services for Maven and other related Apache build tools.

"I started Mergere and we now employ many of the Maven committers so we've got big plans," Van Zyl said.

Mergere isn't the only corporate entity that will benefit from Maven 2.0.

According to Van Zyl, BEA and IBM, as well as companies such as SourceLabs are using the Maven repository tools to help provide services, and many others will be able to leverage the Maven integration.

"Maven 2.0 artifact handling code is also going to find its way into Geronimo, so that will undoubtedly be incorporated into commercial tools," Van Zyl said.