Maven Resources Plugin Understanding

Maven Resources Plugin is part of the core Maven plugins, which handles resources copying to the output directory. It has 3 goals: "resources", "testResources", and "copy-resources". In this post, ...

Overview

Maven Resources Plugin is part of the core Maven plugins, which handles resources copying to the output directory. It has 3 goals: resources, testResources and copy-resources. The 3 variations only differ in how the resource and output directory elements are specified or defaulted. In this post, I’ll show you these goals and some common use-cases of this plugin.

The source code is available on GitHub: mincong-h/maven-resources-pluin-demo.

Resource Directories

According to Maven Standard Directory Layout, resources and resource filters should be defined in the following locations of the project:

Path Description
src/main/resources Application/Library resources
src/main/filters Resource filter files
src/test/resources Test resources

These are default values. In lack of “project.build.resources” element in your POM file, the default value for application resources will be applied (src/main/resources). Same for test resources. It is not a MUST to follow Maven’s recommendation in your project, I’ll explain the customization later on in this article. The notion of resources filter will be explained later, too.

Goal resources:resources

Goal resources:resources copies the resources for the main source code to the main output directory. This goal is bound by default to the process-resources lifecycle phase. It uses project.build.resources element to specify the resources, and uses project.build.outputDirectory to specify the destination.

• project.build.resources: resources directories
• project.build.outputDirectory: destination

For example, after invoking this goal in my Maven module standard:

$mvn resources:resources The resources files are copied from src/main/resources to target/classes:$ tree src/main/resources/ target/classes/
src/main/resources/
└── foo.properties
target/classes/
└── foo.properties

0 directories, 2 files

Goal resources:testResources

Goal resources:testResources is almost the same as resources:resources. The only difference between them is their output directory. The former one points to target/classes, while the later one points to target/test-classes. It means that test resources will not be packaged as part of artifact. It is only present for testing propose.

• resources:resources: target/classes
• resources:testResources: target/test-classes

Variable Injection (Filtering)

Maven Resources Plugin allows you to inject variables into resources files. These variables are denoted by expression ${...}. They can come from system properties, project properties, filter resources and the command line. The filtering is achieved by activating the filtering option. By doing this, variables will be injected into resource files. For example, if we have a resource src/main/resources/foo.properties containing: myProp=${myProp}

The resource output in target/classes/foo.properties will be:

myProp=Value from POM

The related POM file looks like:

Defining properties from POM is not the only way to provide values. You can also provide them via system properties, command line option, and resource filter. Now, let’s take a look on resource filters. Resource filters can be defined in “project.build.filters” element. Each filter is a properties file containing key-value pairs for variables. According to Maven standard directory layout, it’s recommended to store these files in directory src/main/filters.

Compared to other solutions, using resource filters simplifies the POM file. It makes the POM file purely declarative, and delegates the resource filtering to resource filters. It’s useful when you have many resource variables in your project.

Multiple Resources Directories

By default, Maven use src/main/resources as resources directory. However, you might want to define your own resources directories. This can be done by specifying them into your POM in section project/build/resources.

For example, using resources1 and resources2 as resources directories:

All the files of these resources directories will be included into target folder target/classes:

directories $mvn resources:resources directories$ tree target/classes/
target/classes/
├── file1
├── file2
├── file3
└── foo.properties

0 directories, 4 files

WARNING: do not use file having the same name in different resources directories. Since all files will be copied to the same output directory. There’s no guarantee which version will be used. For example, you’ve 3 resources files:

• src/main/resources1/foo.properties
• src/main/resources2/foo.properties
• src/main/resources3/foo.properties

Which one will be available in target/classes? Maven Resources Plugin cannot handle this properly.

Including and Excluding

Sometimes, you don’t want to include all files as resources. You only want to include some of them, or exclude some of them. These can be done using <include> and <exclude> directives respectively.

Inclusion:

Exclusion:

You can also combine both. For example, only include TXT files as resources, but exclude the internal ones (containing keyword internal):

The include and exclude directives support glob expressions.

Copy Resources

You can use mojo copy-resources to copy resources which are not in the default Maven layout or not declared in the build/resources element and attach it to a phase. Since this is not a common use-case, I won’t detail more in this article. For more information, see Maven official guide about this goal.

I used it once in a GWT project: GWT transpiles Java source code (*.java) into JavaScript. However, not all the source code are written by ourselves—some are generated by Java annotation processor during compilation. Therefore, mojo copy-resources can be used, to copy generated Java files into target directory for GWT transpilation.

Conclusion

In this post, we learnt what is Maven Resources Plugin, how to inject variables using filtering mechanism, define customized resources directories, include or exclude directories/files, and copying resources. As usual, the source code is available on GitHub: mhuang/maven-resources-plugin-demo. Hope your enjoy this one, see you the next time!