Build Phases and Goals - Maven Tutorial

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In Apache Maven, build phases and goals are fundamental concepts that drive the build process of a Maven project. Understanding the relationship between build phases and goals is essential for effectively managing and customizing your project's build lifecycle. In this tutorial, we will explore build phases and goals in Maven in detail.

Introduction to Build Phases and Goals

In Maven, a build phase represents a specific stage in the build lifecycle, while a build goal is a specific task that can be executed independently within a build phase. Each build phase is responsible for carrying out a set of related tasks, and goals are bound to specific build phases to perform those tasks.

Common Build Phases and Goals

Maven provides a set of predefined build phases and goals that are executed in a specific order. Here are some of the commonly used build phases and their associated goals:

  • validate: Validates the project's structure and configuration.
  • compile: Compiles the project's source code.
  • test: Runs unit tests against the compiled source code.
  • package: Packages the compiled code into a distributable format (e.g., JAR, WAR).
  • install: Installs the packaged artifact into the local Maven repository.
  • deploy: Deploys the packaged artifact to a remote repository or server.

Executing Build Phases and Goals

To execute build phases and goals, you use the mvn command-line tool provided by Maven. The general syntax for executing a build goal is:

mvn [options] [plugin-prefix:]goal

For example, to compile your project, you can run:

mvn compile

This command invokes the compile goal, which is bound to the compile phase by default.

Mistakes to Avoid

  • Not understanding the purpose and order of build phases.
  • Not specifying the necessary goals to achieve the desired build outcome.
  • Incorrectly binding goals to build phases, causing unexpected behavior.
  • Not considering the dependencies and order of execution between build phases.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I execute multiple build goals in a single command?

    Yes, you can execute multiple build goals in a single command by specifying them separated by a space. For example, mvn clean compile test will execute the clean, compile, and test goals sequentially.

  2. Can I skip a specific build phase?

    Yes, you can skip a specific build phase by using the -Dmaven.skip.<phase> system property. For example, to skip the test phase, you can run mvn install -Dmaven.skip.test=true.

  3. Can I customize the order of build phases?

    No, the order of build phases is predefined and cannot be customized. However, you can customize the execution of goals within each phase to achieve the desired build process.

  4. Can I create my own build phase?

    No, you cannot create your own build phases in Maven. However, you can customize the execution order of goals within the existing build phases to achieve the desired build process.

  5. Can I specify multiple goals for a single build phase?

    No, each build phase is associated with a single goal by default. If you need to perform multiple tasks within a single build phase, you can use Maven plugins and configure multiple executions for the same plugin.


Understanding build phases and goals is crucial for effectively managing and customizing the build process of your Maven projects. Build phases define the stages of the build lifecycle, while goals represent specific tasks that can be executed independently. By executing the appropriate build phases and goals, you can compile, test, package, and deploy your projects with ease. Avoiding common mistakes and following best practices will ensure a smooth and efficient build process. Embrace the power of Apache Maven's build phases and goals to streamline your development workflow and deliver high-quality software.