The POM by Sonatype Company

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The POM

Maven projects, dependencies, builds, artifacts: all of these are objects to be modeled and described. These objects are described by an XML file called a Project Object Model. The POM tells Maven what sort of project it is dealing with and how to modify default behavior to generate output from source. In the same way a Java web application has a web.xml that describes, configures, and customizes the application, a Maven project is defined by the presence of a pom.xml. It is a descriptive declaration of a project for Maven; it is the figurative “map” that Maven needs to understand what it is looking at when it builds your project.

You could also think of the pom.xml as analogous to a Makefile or an Ant build.xml. When you are using GNU make to build something like MySQL, you’ll usually have a file named Makefile that contains explicit instructions for building a binary from source. When you are using Apache Ant, you likely have a file named build.xml that contains explicit instructions for cleaning, compiling, packaging, and deploying an application. make, Ant, and Maven are similar in that they rely on the presence of a commonly named file such as Makefile, build.xml, or pom.xml, but that is where the similarities end. If you look at a Maven pom.xml, the majority of the POM is going to deal with descriptions: Where is the source code? Where are the resources? What is the packaging? If you look at an Ant build.xml file, you’ll see something entirely different. You’ll see ...

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