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Legacy libraries for your maven build

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14 May 2012

Legacy libraries

Dealing with legacy code is always tricky, and adapting your tooling to leverage them is sometimes plain hard. Especially when you’re building your projects with Maven and your code happens to depend on some ancient library which appear to be unknown to the Internet™, you probably have to figure out how to tell Maven where to find that damn library. This is also the problem when dealing with e.g. proprietary third party libraries which don’t ship with a POM, therefore they don’t mavenly exist.

Local repositories FTW

UPDATE: following the argument from Tim O’Brien, I wrote a follow up to also exploit Github as a remote repository using the same storage strategy

There are a number of possible solutions to the above mentioned problem, which ideally involve a shared, remote artifact repository where to deploy the JAR file that causes you headaches. Recently, I found myself in the need of creating (yet another) Maven build around some Alfresco, to enable Lambdalf to build its Clojure sources. The rocky road to Maven for Alfresco is still long, and as a result you find yourself dealing with some iffy libraries when coding against Alfresco. Some examples, just opening up the WAR files:

One solution I found that doesn’t require setting up your publicly available Nexus repository, nor using someone else’s Artifactory, is to provide the problematic JARs in a maven repository as part of your sources. Suppose you have a mysterious fluff.jar library you need to include in your classpath, here’s how it works:

Voilá. You just created a local, portable repository in your sources and instructed Maven to look there for artifacts.


A couple of golden rules for all the cowboy programmers out there:

That said, I’ll leave you to your local Maven repositories. Happy building!

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