Benefits of Maven over Ant

The benefits of Maven over Ant are many:

  • Better dependency management - Maven is superior to Ant when it comes to dependency management. For example:

    • With Maven, you don't have to worry about transitive dependencies. If your project depends on library A, you just add a direct dependency on A and let A worry about its own dependencies.
    • Maven projects do not need to store third-party binary libraries in source control, which reduces undue stress on developer checkouts and builds.
    • With Maven, you can add a new dependency quickly. Modern IDEs such as Eclipse allow you to do so without manually editing a project's pom.xml.
    • Maven can identify unused and transitive dependencies.
    • Maven can create reports showing all the dependencies used on a project.
    • Maven can display a hierarchical dependency tree that includes all transitive dependencies.
  • More powerful builds - Maven's default plugins and life cycle allow a project to perform common build actions without touching a build configuration file. For example, without adding anything to a project's pom.xml, you can:

    • Clean generated files such as .class files from a project.
    • Run JUnit tests for the project.
    • Integrate non-compiled resource files (such as images or .properties files) into a JAR artifact.
    • Generate Javadoc for the project.
    • Analyze the dependencies of the project.
  • Better debugging - Maven repositories allow an artifact's source code to be published alongside the artifact's JAR. Integrated Development Environments such as Eclipse allow developers to automatically download the source code, which lets debuggers drill into the source code and investigate why the artifact did not behave correctly.

  • Better collaboration - Maven repositories allow an artifact's Javadoc to be published alongside the artifact's JAR. Integrated Development Environments such as Eclipse allow developers to automatically download the Javadoc and understand how to use the artifact.

  • More componentized builds - Maven makes it easy to identify when a project has a dependency on code outside its source control folders. Developers and managers alike prefer small, componentized builds because they allow code changes to be very quickly tested and integrated.

  • Reduced duplication - Maven projects can use a project object model (POM) hierarchy to reduce the duplication that typically exists in Ant projects. For example, rather than have each project create an Ant build.xml that takes care of all the details of configuring Sonar properties, such configuration can occur in a Maven parent POM that child projects inherit from.

  • More consistent project structure - All Maven projects have a common structure, which makes it easier to understand each project.