Creating Custom Maven Assemblies - Maven Tutorial

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Maven is a powerful build tool that provides a variety of features to package and distribute projects. By default, Maven uses a predefined project packaging, such as JAR or WAR, based on the project's nature. However, in some cases, you may need to create custom assemblies that include specific files, dependencies, and configurations. In this tutorial, we will explore how to create custom Maven assemblies to package and distribute projects in different formats.

Introduction to Custom Maven Assemblies

A custom Maven assembly is a customized packaging of a project that goes beyond the standard JAR or WAR formats. It allows you to include additional files, directories, and dependencies to create a tailored distribution for your project. With custom assemblies, you can create standalone executable JARs, ZIP files, or other distribution formats that suit your specific requirements.

Steps to Create Custom Maven Assemblies

Creating custom Maven assemblies involves the following steps:

  1. Defining an assembly descriptor
  2. Configuring the assembly plugin
  3. Building the assembly

Defining an Assembly Descriptor

An assembly descriptor is an XML file that defines the structure and contents of your custom assembly. It specifies which files, directories, and dependencies should be included in the assembly. Create a new XML file, typically named assembly.xml, and place it in the src/main/assembly directory of your project.

Here's an example of an assembly descriptor that creates a ZIP distribution:







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This assembly descriptor creates a ZIP distribution and includes the contents of the src/main/resources directory as well as the compiled classes from the target/classes directory. Adjust the file sets and output directories based on your project's structure and requirements.

Configuring the Assembly Plugin

To configure the assembly plugin, add the following configuration to the <plugins> section of your project's POM file:






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This configuration sets the assembly descriptor file to src/main/assembly/assembly.xml and binds the assembly plugin's execution to the package phase of the build process.

Building the Assembly

To build the assembly, use the following command in the terminal or command prompt within your project's directory:

mvn clean package

Maven will execute the assembly plugin and create the custom assembly based on your assembly descriptor. The resulting distribution file will be generated in the target directory of your project.

Common Mistakes

  • Incorrect configuration of the assembly descriptor, such as specifying incorrect file paths or output directories
  • Missing or outdated assembly plugin configuration in the POM file
  • Not executing the package phase to trigger the assembly plugin

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I include specific dependencies in my custom assembly?

    Yes, you can include specific dependencies in your custom assembly by adding them as dependencies in your project's POM file. The assembly plugin will automatically include those dependencies when building the assembly.

  2. Can I create different types of custom assemblies?

    Yes, you can create different types of custom assemblies based on your project's requirements. For example, you can create a ZIP distribution, a TAR archive, or even an executable JAR with embedded dependencies.

  3. How can I configure the assembly to include additional files or directories?

    You can configure the assembly descriptor to include additional files or directories by adding more <fileSet> elements. Specify the source directory and the output directory for each file set. You can also use wildcards or patterns to include multiple files or directories.

  4. Can I customize the assembly file name and location?

    Yes, you can customize the assembly file name and location by configuring the assembly descriptor and specifying the desired output directory and file name patterns. Adjust the <outputDirectory> and <outputFileNameMapping> elements within the assembly descriptor to meet your needs.

  5. Can I automate the assembly creation process?

    Yes, you can automate the assembly creation process by integrating it into your build pipeline or using continuous integration tools like Jenkins. Configure the assembly plugin in your project's POM file and trigger the build process to generate the custom assembly automatically.


Creating custom Maven assemblies allows you to package and distribute your projects in a tailored format that meets your specific requirements. By defining an assembly descriptor, configuring the assembly plugin, and executing the build, you can generate custom distributions such as ZIP files or executable JARs. Avoid common mistakes like incorrect configuration and missing plugin execution to ensure successful assembly creation. With Apache Maven's flexibility and the assembly plugin's capabilities, you have the power to create custom assemblies for various use cases and scenarios.