Java: mavenize

Recently I have been looking at writing a plugin for gephi. This is a open source visualisation tool which lets you create connected graphs of large data sets. I couldn’t get the source code to build and it occurred to me that it might be a good idea to “mavenize” it. After a little investigation I did find the existing maven version of the gephi codebase but after a great deal of effort I still can’t get it to build. Oh well.

One of the pleasures of writing software for your own amusement is you can go off at tangents and investigate whatever catches your interest. With that in mind I found myself pondering – what does it take to “mavenize” an existing java project?

This process isn’t particularly onerous when you have one project to do but if you have a number to convert then it quickly becomes a pain. The gephi application had more than 100 modules so you can see why the thought occurred to me “I can write a tool to do this” and here it is:

mavenize” is a command line tool written in java which you can point at any number of existing java projects and it will automatically generate a maven project directory structure with all the source and resources in the correct place along with a “best guess” pom file. The best guess bit comes from looking at the source code packages and extracting the package prefix which occurs most often as the group id. The artifact id is merely the project name (i.e. the directory name which contains the “src” dir).

You can pass in a version number and a package type to assign to the generated poms. Also if your project is a NetBeans module it will read the project description file and extract the dependencies and place them into the pom file as rough guide for you.

I wrote this to fill a need and I am guessing someone, somewhere has to have the same need as well so here is the link to the project and instructions for it’s use.

From a developer point of view this tool has some interesting components.

For reading the NetBeans project.xml file I was a bit stuck.  There must be a class  to do in the NetBeans codebase but it will be under a different license to the Apache 2.0 one I am using so nothing for it but to generate my own.

I also have another tool which I have dubbed  “pommel”  which I will get round to publishing as well at some point. This will scan your maven projects and replace target dependencies with specific ones defined in a config file. This is extremely useful if you have to do this operation on a large number of projects.


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