There were several projects each with their own Ant build files that were all slightly different and JARs were checked into CVS. We wanted a standard way to build the projects, a clear definition of what the project consisted of, an easy way to publish project information and a way to share JARs across several projects.
The result is a maven tool that can now be used for building and managing any Java-based project.
Maven is a popular build tool available for java developers. It is is a software project management and comprehension tool. Based on the concept of a project object model (POM), Maven can manage a project's build, reporting and documentation from a central piece of information.
Maven addresses two aspects of building software: First, it describes how software is built, and second, it describes its dependencies. Contrary to preceding tools like Apache Ant it uses conventions for the build procedure, and only exceptions need to be written down. An XML file describes the software project being built, its dependencies on other external modules and components, the build order, directories, and required plug-ins. It comes with pre-defined targets for performing certain well-defined tasks such as compilation of code and its packaging. Maven dynamically downloads Java libraries and Maven plug-ins from one or more repositories such as the Maven 2 Central Repository, and stores them in a local cache.This local cache of downloaded artifacts can also be updated with artifacts created by local projects. Public repositories can also be updated.