Improve your Maven builds with Groovy

Since Maven is essentially metadata driven, it sometimes lacks the flexibility provided by script oriented build tools such as Ant. Of course, the maven-antrun-plugin can be used to execute Ant tasks during the Maven build lifecycle. However, Ant has its own limitations. In those cases where neither Maven nor Ant provide a solution for a given problem, one may resort to Groovy as scripting language. Indeed, Groovy is very powerful and easy to learn for people familiar with Java. Here are two concrete examples where I used Groovy as part of a Maven build:

  • Axiom: Here a Groovy script is used to generate a file list, something which (surprisingly) cannot be achieved with standard Ant tasks.

  • Axis2: Here a test script uses Groovy to check a set of WSDL files produced by one of the Ant tasks that are part of the Axis2 tools. This script leverages Groovy’s GPath expression language to navigate the nodes in an XML document and to build assertions on the content of the document.