Friday Jan 10, 2014

Free Graphs to Manage Maven Complexities

Let's admit it, Maven can be a total nightmare. 

The only real way to get a thorough understanding of what's really going on in that Kafkaesque POM file is to draw a picture. Better still, a dependency graph. And NetBeans IDE has done that for you for sometime already, though an excellent enhancement in the upcoming NetBeans IDE 8.0 release is that you can change the layout of the graph. See below, just right-click the graph and then choose a different layout:

Notice also that you can "Export As Image" (and then send to your manager to prove how complex your work really is). And below you see the hierarchical layout, vertical layout, and horizontal layout: 

Don't you feel calmer and more organized (and smarter), just by LOOKING at the graphs above..? 

However, the point isn't only to INTERPRET the world in various ways, but to CHANGE it. Easily done, just right-click one of those blocks and you can choose to exclude it: 

Doing the above doesn't just change the PICTURE, i.e., doesn't simply make it easier to understand what you're SEEING, but it actually CHANGES the POM, as you can see in the History tab below, which is of course also awesome to have integrated right inside your POM file, with the possibility of reverting local changes: 

And then I didn't even mention the Effective POM tab, which has been there for a while, but is awesome too.

Finally, the plugin you need to install to get the above functionality is... nothing! Because the above, as with all Maven features in NetBeans IDE, is simply built into the IDE and is available the second you've started it up. 

NetBeans IDE manages the complexity that Maven inherently brings with it. And all for free. And out of the box.


Geertjan Wielenga (@geertjanw) is a Principal Product Manager in the Oracle Developer Tools group living & working in Amsterdam. He is a Java technology enthusiast, evangelist, trainer, speaker, and writer. He blogs here daily.

The focus of this blog is mostly on NetBeans (a development tool primarily for Java programmers), with an occasional reference to NetBeans, and sometimes diverging to topics relating to NetBeans. And then there are days when NetBeans is mentioned, just for a change.


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