Using Built-in and Third-Party Plugins - Maven Tutorial

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Apache Maven provides a comprehensive ecosystem of plugins that offer a wide range of functionality to streamline the build process and project management. These plugins can be categorized into two types: built-in plugins, which are included with Maven by default, and third-party plugins, which are developed by the community and available for use. Understanding how to leverage these plugins is crucial for maximizing the power of Apache Maven. In this tutorial, we will explore the usage of both built-in and third-party plugins in Maven.

Introduction to Built-in and Third-Party Plugins

Built-in plugins are plugins that come bundled with Apache Maven. These plugins cover common build tasks and are readily available for use without any additional configuration. Examples of built-in plugins include maven-compiler-plugin for compiling source code, maven-surefire-plugin for running tests, and maven-jar-plugin for packaging artifacts. These plugins provide essential functionality and can be easily customized as per project requirements.

On the other hand, third-party plugins are developed by the Maven community and extend the capabilities of Maven. These plugins cater to specific needs and provide additional features beyond the built-in plugins. They can be easily integrated into your Maven projects by specifying the plugin details in the POM file. Third-party plugins enable you to automate various tasks, such as code quality checks, static analysis, code coverage, and deployment to different environments.

Using Built-in Plugins

Using built-in plugins is straightforward as they are included in the Maven distribution by default. To utilize a built-in plugin, you need to add the relevant plugin configuration in your POM file. The configuration typically includes the plugin's group ID, artifact ID, and version, along with any specific configuration parameters required. Once configured, the plugin will be automatically executed during the build process based on the specified goals and lifecycle bindings.


Let's consider an example where you want to compile your Java source code using the maven-compiler-plugin. To configure this plugin, you can add the following configuration in your POM file:



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The maven-compiler-plugin is now configured to compile your Java source code during the build process. You can customize the configuration according to your project's requirements.

Using Third-Party Plugins

Using third-party plugins involves adding the plugin details to your project's POM file. These plugins are typically hosted in Maven repositories and can be easily discovered using tools like the Maven Repository website or by searching for plugins using search engines. To use a third-party plugin, you need to specify the plugin's group ID, artifact ID, and version in the POM file, similar to built-in plugins.


Let's say you want to use the popular jacoco-maven-plugin for generating code coverage reports. To configure this third-party plugin, you can add the following configuration in your POM file:



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Now, the jacoco-maven-plugin is ready to generate code coverage reports for your project.

Mistakes to Avoid

  • Using unnecessary plugins that do not add value to your project.
  • Not updating the plugin versions regularly, which may result in missing out on bug fixes or new features.
  • Not thoroughly reviewing the documentation and configuration options of third-party plugins, leading to incorrect or undesired behavior.
  • Using outdated or deprecated plugins, which can cause compatibility issues or hinder performance.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How can I find third-party plugins?

    You can search for third-party plugins on the official Maven Repository website or by using search engines. The Apache Maven website also provides a list of popular third-party plugins.

  2. Can I create my own Maven plugin?

    Yes, you can create your own Maven plugins to extend the functionality of Maven and meet specific project requirements. Maven provides tools and APIs for plugin development.

  3. Are third-party plugins reliable and secure?

    While most third-party plugins are developed and maintained by the Maven community, it's essential to review their popularity, documentation, and community support to assess their reliability. Additionally, you should verify the plugin's integrity before use.

  4. Can I use multiple versions of the same plugin in a project?

    No, Maven only allows one version of a plugin to be active within a project. If multiple versions are specified, Maven will use the latest version and ignore the others.


Built-in and third-party plugins are valuable assets in the Maven ecosystem. Built-in plugins provide essential functionality out of the box, while third-party plugins expand Maven's capabilities and enable you to tailor the build process to your project's specific needs. By utilizing a combination of built-in and third-party plugins, you can automate tasks, enhance project management, and improve the overall efficiency of your Maven builds. Keep in mind the best practices and avoid common mistakes when working with plugins to ensure reliable and successful builds.