When starting a new project, it can be tedious and time-consuming to set up everything from scratch. Fortunately, Maven has built-in functionality which allows you to generate a project from a template. This template is called archetype.
There is a number of archetypes available which allow you to create various types of projects.
You can even create your own archetypes and share them with others.
You can generate your project from an archetype in your command line using the following command via Maven Archetype Plugin:
In the example above, you specify just identifiers of your archetype and the command starts in the interactive mode and asks you for all the required information such as groupId, artifactId and version of your new project. You enter these in your terminal, and the project is generated for you.
However, you can specify all these upfront, so no interaction is needed from your side. This can be useful, for example, when generating a project as a part of some automated script which should not have any user interaction.
-DartifactId=my-app -DgroupId=com.example -Dversion=1.0-SNAPSHOT -DinteractiveMode=false
Generating projects in IDEA from archetypes is easy. Just go to:
File → New → Project... → Maven
Here all you need to do is check
Create from archetype and select your desired one.
However, the amount of archetypes listed is fairly limited. Fortunately, you can add any available archetype by clicking
Now you can continue with creating your Maven project as usual.
Not only you can use existing archetypes, but you can also quite easily create your own.
The easiest way is to have an existing project and use the Maven Archetype Plugin to generate an archetype from it. It is actually quite easy.
The resulting archetype is generated in
Before you can use it, though, you need to install the archetype in your local repository. Just go to the directory
target/generated-sources/archetype and run
You can actually generate your own custom archetype using a Maven archetype. This way all the scaffolding is created for you.
Now all you need to do is to copy over the files which should be part of your generated project. The target location of your files is described below.
In the artifact's root directory, there is a
pom.xml file of the archetype. You can see the packaging
maven-archetype. You can customize build of your archetype here as with any other pom.
However, there is another
pom.xml file located under
src\main\resources\archetype-resources which is the pom file of the generated project. Here you can make any changes, which should be presented in the resulting project's pom.
You can put any source files, which need to be part of the output project under
Each archetype contains a special XML file with the archetype configuration, which can be found under:
Here you can configure the archetype itself - for example, files which should be included, properties needed, and so on. A simple version can look something like this:
<fileSet filtered="true" packaged="true">
You can check configuration details in the official documentation.
Maven archetypes are a great built-in way of generating project scaffolding. However, there are more alternatives worth exploring, which may be better suited in some cases.
If you prefer Gradle over Maven, working with archetypes gets a little trickier because Gradle currently does not support generating projects from archetypes directly.
There is an unofficial Gradle Archetype Plugin, which you can use to work with Maven archetypes.
As an alternative, you can generate your project first using Maven from an archetype and then convert it to a Gradle project by using the following command in the directory with your
When working with Spring Boot, you can still use Maven archetypes, but there is a better, way more powerful tool offered directly by Spring.
It is called Spring Initializr. It is a simple wizard, where you can define many options for your application, and then it generates your project based on your choices.
You can configure various options such as:
- Language: Java, Kotlin or Groovy
- Spring version
- Java version
- Maven / Gradle
- Jar/War packaging
- Dependencies such as DB, Security, Web, Actuator and many more
You can see there is a lot of configuration options to choose from. Also, you can see that unlike with Maven archetypes, you can generate your project even when using Gradle.
Instead of using the default web interface, there is even a more convenient way of generating your project directly in IntelliJ IDEA.
File → New Project → Spring Initializr
What's interesting is that unlike Maven, it is not focused solely on the JVM ecosystem. You can generate a project for pretty much any language or framework and their combinations.
That means you can have a generator for an application with Java backend, React frontend and Docker integration. Or anything else you can think of as there are many generators available.
JHipster is actually a Yeoman generator under a hood. It allows you to generate Spring Boot projects with Frontend in Either React, Angular or Vue.
There is much more, though. It optionally supports microservices and cloud deployment. It integrates sass, webpack, bootstrap, various databases, ELK, caching, Docker, WebSockets, and much more.
It is definitely worth checking if you want to easily generate your whole application front to back with a standardized opinionated stack.
Maven archetypes offer you an easy way to generate basic project scaffolding for various project types without the hassle of a manual approach. Still, there are some alternatives mentioned above which may be better in some cases such as Spring Boot Initializr or JHipster.