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Maven secrets: filtering sources

March 29, 2008

The default Maven root project object model provides very good defaults that declare what needs to be done in most cases. Sometimes you need a bit more or different and Maven lets you do that. In this first episode I’ll show you how to filter your source files.

Why filter source files?

Well there are many use cases you can think of. Any build time property that you want to have available runtime can be stored in a class member variable in your code. It may be the datetime, the svn revision or whatever. A common use case when working with GX WebManager Components is that you want to use the ${pom.groupId} and ${pom.artifactId} to construct your component identifiers. For example;

    public static final String DOMAIN = "${pom.groupId}";
    public static final String WCB_ID = "${pom.artifactId}";

Note: We could discuss if this is a good approach compared to using resource files (that are filtered by default) and can be loaded from the classpath at runtime, but that is beyond the scope of this post ;)

Filtering in Maven

Filtering is a standard feature in Maven and any typical project uses it extensively. The resources plugin will apply filtering to resources as configured and allows interpolation of variables in the form of ${} against system properties, configured project properties and declared additional property files. By default filtering will be applied to all files in src/main/resources and src/test/resources because this is what the root project object model declares, but you may configure any alternative in a specific module.

Note: Always make sure binary resources are NOT being filtered. Maven filtering will not distinguish between file types and as a result may corrupt you images, executables etc.

Configuring the resources plugin

So, in order to filter the source files we need to tell the resources plugin to use them as resources. This is done by overruling the default configuration in the pom file as show below.

    <!-- Configure the source files as resources to be filtered
      into a custom target directory -->

Note: Because we are overruling the root pom default resource configuration so we need to explicitly include the src/main/resources explicitly.

Once you have added this to your project pom you can easily validate that is it is correct by executing the Maven lifecycle upto the process-resources phase and check that in fact the source files are now in the targetPath with the variables interpolated.

c:\myproject>mvn process-resources

Configuring the compiler plugin

Now that the filtered source files are in place you need to make sure the compiler plugin will use them during the compile phase and not the default which is src/main/java.  As the compiler plugin will use the configured ${} you need to overrule this.

      <!-- Overrule the default pom source directory to match
            our generated sources so the compiler will pick them up -->

Once you have added this to your project pom you can easily validate that is it is correct by executing the Maven lifecycle upto the test phase and let a simple junit test validate that your class returns the interpolated result.

c:\myproject>mvn test


By adding a few lines of configuration to the pom declaring what the resource plugin should consider to be resources you have enabled filtering on all your source files.

Happy coding

About the Author

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Bram de Kruijff is Product Architect and one of the co-architects of the GX WebManager framework with a focus on OSGi and services framework. Bram is part of the NAF Web 2.0 forum group to define standards on community technologies.

Read all Brams blog entries

Other blog entries:

June 26, 2009
Presentation at NAF Insight WEB 2.0
April 21, 2009
GX WebManager 9.8 on Java SE 6: The right stuff!
April 17, 2009
dOSGi talk at JSpring 2009
March 5, 2009
Accessing services in GX WebManager
June 3, 2008
A few SDK tips & tricks
May 29, 2008
Maven secrets: Dynamic Maven properties with Beanshell
May 27, 2008
GX WebManager on SpringSource Application Platform
May 9, 2008
JavaOne 2008 wrapup
April 14, 2008
Maven secrets: assembling a WCB zip
April 11, 2008
ApacheCon EU 2008 impressions


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