Nicolas Frankel is an IT consultant with 10 years experience in Java / JEE environments. He likes his job so much he writes technical articles on his blog and reviews technical books in his spare time. He also tries to find other geeks like him in universities, as a part-time lecturer. Nicolas is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 231 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Maven: The Complete Reference

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This review is about Sonatype’s Maven: The complete reference by Tim O’Brien, John Casey, Brian Fox, Jason Van Zyl, Eric Redmond and Larry Shatzer.

Disclaimer: I learned Maven from Sonatype’s site 3 years ago. I found it was a great tool to learn Maven. Now that I have a little more experience in the tool, I tried to write this review in an objective manner.


  1. 13 chapters, 267 pages, free (see below)
  2. This book is intended for both readers who wants to learn Maven from scratch and for readers who need to look for a quick help on an obscure feature
  3. A whole chapter is dedicated to the Maven assembly plugin
  4. Another chapter is dedicated to Flexmojos, a Sonatype plugin to manage Flex projects


  1. First of all, this book is 100% free to view and to download. This is rare enough to be state!
  2. Complete reference books are sometimes a mere paraphrase of a product’s documentation. This one is not. I do not claim I’m a Maven expert but I did learn things in here
  3. This book is up-to-date with Maven 2.2. For example, it explains password encryption (available since Maven 2.1.0) or how to configure plugins called from the command line differently using default-cli (since Maven 2.2.0)
  4. A very interesting point is a list of some (all?) JEE API released by the Geronimo project and referenced by groupId and artifactId. If you frown because the point is lost on you, just try using classes from activation.jar (javax.activation:activation): you’ll never be able to let Maven download it for you since it is not available in the first place for licensing reasons. Having an alternative from Geronimo is good, knowing what is available thanks to the book is better


To be frank, I only found a problem with Maven: The complete reference. Although a whole chapter is written on the Maven Assembly plugin, I understood nothing from it… The rest of the book is crystal clear, this chapter only obfuscated the few things I thought I knew about the plugin.


This book is top quality and free: what can I say? If you’re a beginner in Maven, you’ll find a real stable base to learn from. If you need to update your knowledge, you will find a wealth of information. If you’re a Maven guru, please contribute to the Assembly plugin’s chapter. I can only give a warm thank you for Sonatype’s effort for giving this quality book to the community.


Published at DZone with permission of Nicolas Frankel, author and DZone MVB.

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)


Jeff Peff replied on Thu, 2010/02/04 - 11:45am

Could you tell me what the difference is between Maven and Maven2 and if I should ready this book or study Maven2?



Nicolas Frankel replied on Thu, 2010/02/04 - 4:38pm in response to: Jeff Peff

This book is about Maven 2 because nobody talks about Maven 1 anymore.

Manuel Jordan replied on Thu, 2010/02/04 - 8:36pm

I did a fast revision, very interesting and well approach about the images used

 Thanks for the advice Nicolas


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