POM.xml explained

POM stands for project object model. The pom.xml file is the core of a project's configuration in Maven. It is a single configuration file that contains the majority of information required to build a project in just the way you want. It contains default values for most projects.

When executing a task or goal, Maven looks for the POM in the current directory. It reads the POM, gets the needed configuration information, then executes the goal.

Super POM - The Super POM is Maven's default POM. All POMs extend the Super POM unless explicitly set, meaning the configuration specified in the Super POM is inherited by the POMs you created for your projects

The minimum requirement for a POM are the following:
  • project root
  • modelVersion - should be set to 4.0.0
  • groupId - the id of the project's group.
  • artifactId - the id of the artifact (project)
  • version - the version of the artifact under the specified group
  • packaging - Every Maven project has a packaging type. If it is not specified in the POM, then the default value "jar" would be used.
  • repository / pluginRepositories- If you build your project using the minimal POM, it would inherit the repositories configuration in the Super POM. Therefore when Maven sees the dependencies in the minimal POM, it would know that these dependencies will be downloaded from http://repo.maven.apache.org/maven2 which was specified in the Super POM.

Elements in the POM that are merged are the following:
  • dependencies
  • developers and contributors
  • plugin lists (including reports)
  • plugin executions with matching ids
  • plugin configuration
  • resources
Properties - Properties are the last required piece in understanding POM basics. Maven properties are value placeholder, like properties in Ant. Their values are accessible anywhere within a POM by using the notation ${X}, where X is the property.

Reporting - Reporting contains the elements that correspond specifically for the site generation phase. Certain Maven plugins can generate reports defined and configured under the reporting element, for example: generating Javadoc reports. Much like the build element's ability to configure plugins, reporting commands the same ability.

Profiles -  A new feature of the POM 4.0 is the ability of a project to change settings depending on the environment where it is being built. A profile element contains both an optional activation (a profile trigger) and the set of changes to be made to the POM if that profile has been activated.


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