Enterprise Java

Continuous Delivery friendly Maven versions

A Continuous Delivery pipeline requires predictable software and dependency versions. Snapshot versions, which are common in Maven software projects, contradict the motivation behind Continuous Delivery.

In order to update snapshot versions to release versions developers usually edit the pom.xml file by hand or via a plugin such as the maven-release-plugin. However, Maven also offers the possibility to define version numbers as properties, which fits the Continuous Delivery world better.

It is possible to use placeholders such as ${revision} as artifact versions, as described here. We can therefore define a version that consists of a semantic version including the build number of the CI server as metadata:

<project xmlns="http://maven.apache.org/POM/4.0.0"



        <!-- will be overridden in CD pipeline -->

In order to issue a local build which won’t be published on any environment, we invoke mvn clean package as usual. This results in the artifact version 1.0.0+local.

The Continuous Integration server will invoke the Maven build similar to: mvn clean package -DbuildNumber=b${buildNumber} — with the build number taken from the current pipeline build. This results in artifact versions 1.0.0+b123, 1.0.0+b124, and so on. The same property is set in order to mvn deploy the artifact to a repository.

This approach comes in handy to both specify predictable versions and fallback versions for local builds. It’s important to note that the semantic version 1.0.0 should only changed by developers, since it reflects the nature and compatibility of API-changes.

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Published on Java Code Geeks with permission by Sebastian Daschner, partner at our JCG program. See the original article here: Continuous Delivery friendly Maven versions

Opinions expressed by Java Code Geeks contributors are their own.

Sebastian Daschner

Sebastian Daschner is a self-employed Java consultant and trainer. He is the author of the book 'Architecting Modern Java EE Applications'. Sebastian is a Java Champion, Oracle Developer Champion and JavaOne Rockstar.
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Jarrod Roberson
Jarrod Roberson
6 years ago

Build numbers as part of the versions is a complete anti-pattern and causes more trouble than it solves. Every project I have worked on that has done this has ended up regretting it and undoing for many various reasons and abuses of something that should not matter. If you have someone stuck in a decade ago and just have to have a build number put it in the META-INF as an attribute. But not in a public version number like this. This is conflating responsibilities of a version control system with the build system. The managers that insisted on build… Read more »

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