Working with Custom Build Profiles - Tutorial

Welcome to this tutorial on working with custom build profiles in Apache Maven. Build profiles allow you to customize the build process based on different environments, scenarios, or specific requirements of your project. By defining and activating build profiles, you can adapt Maven's behavior and configuration to suit your needs and achieve project-specific build variations.


Apache Maven provides a powerful mechanism called build profiles that allow you to customize the build process. Build profiles enable you to define different configurations for various scenarios such as development, testing, production, or specific environments. By leveraging build profiles, you can easily switch between configurations and apply project-specific settings, dependencies, and plugins.

Working with Custom Build Profiles

Follow these steps to work with custom build profiles in Maven:

Step 1: Define a Build Profile

To define a custom build profile, add the <profiles> element within the <project> element in your project's pom.xml file. Each profile is enclosed within a <profile> element and can contain specific configurations, dependencies, or plugins.


In this example, a custom build profile with the ID "development" is defined. It contains a property called "env" with the value "dev". You can customize the profile by adding additional elements such as dependencies, plugins, or configuration settings.

Step 2: Configure Profile Activation

To activate a build profile, specify the activation criteria within the <profile> element. Activation can be based on various conditions, such as the existence of a specific system property, the presence of a file, or the value of an environment variable.


In this example, the "development" profile is activated when the "env" property has a value of "dev". You can define multiple activation conditions for a profile.

Step 3: Build with the Custom Profile

To build your project using a specific profile, provide the profile's ID as a command-line argument or configure it in your IDE's Maven settings. For example, to build with the "development" profile using the command line, use the following command:

mvn clean install -Pdevelopment

This command triggers the build with the "development" profile active, applying the specific configurations and settings defined within the profile.

Common Mistakes

  • Incorrectly defining the activation criteria for the profiles
  • Missing dependencies or plugin configurations within the profiles
  • Failure to activate the desired profile during the build
  • Not organizing profile-specific configurations properly within the pom.xml file

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I have multiple profiles active simultaneously?

    Yes, you can activate multiple profiles during a build. Specify multiple profile IDs separated by commas when using the -P command-line option, or configure multiple profiles in your IDE's Maven settings.

  2. Can I inherit configurations from parent profiles?

    Yes, Maven allows profile inheritance. You can define a parent profile and have child profiles inherit their configurations from the parent. This allows for easy sharing of common configurations across multiple profiles.

  3. How can I specify default profiles?

    You can specify default profiles by including the <activeProfiles> element in your settings.xml file. Profiles listed within this element will be active by default for all builds unless explicitly deactivated.


In this tutorial, you learned how to work with custom build profiles in Apache Maven. By defining and activating build profiles, you can customize the build process and apply specific configurations, dependencies, and plugins based on different environments or scenarios. Avoid common mistakes and explore the flexibility of build profiles to achieve project-specific customization and configuration in your Maven projects.