Difference between Maven and ANT

Maven & ANT both are build tools, provided by Apache.

Many Java Programmer compares Maven and ANT, which is pretty natural. Even I have taken some time to adopt Maven because I was very used to ANT build process. Eventually, I realized Maven offers more convenience as build tool than ANT and also enforces a common way to build Java applications.


Maven provides dependency management, standard project layout, and project management but ANT does not come with these.


In order to make Project Release, You need to spend the time to understand whole build process e.g. from where do libraries are coming, are they coming as JAR or project is building them during build time etc. Maven solves many of this problem by introducing standard convention and better dependency management.


Difference between Maven and ANT


    1. The major difference between Maven and ANT is that Maven requires less configuration than ANT because it works on a principle of Convention over configuration and assumes the default.


    1. Ant doesn’t have formal conventions, so we need to provide information of the project structure in the build.xml file, on the other hand, Maven has a convention to place source code, compiled code etc. So we don’t need to provide information about the project structure in pom.xml file.


    1. Another significant difference between Maven and ANT is dependency Management. Maven introduced the concept of the repository, which is a central place to store all libraries, JARs etc. Maven allows you to use central maven repository as well as the local repository and automatically download dependency during the build process. While ANT based project generally uses ${lib} as a directory to store dependencies.


    1. Another technical difference between ANT and Maven is that ANT task doesn’t have any lifecycle, you need to define targets and their dependencies. While Maven has the lifecycle, which is invoked when you run commands like mvn install. Maven executes a series of steps as a result of this command to produce artifacts e.g. JAR file, which is the end of life cycle.


  1. Maven also enforces a standard naming convention for artifacts defined using groupId, artifactId, and version. Also, one more difference between ANT and Maven is that Maven is more than just a build tool, it act as project management tool and can generate reports etc, Though I have yet to use this feature.


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