Improved releasing with Maven and Git

Sander Brienen

Sander Brienen

Published: 7 April, 2015

Back in 2012 I posted the blogpost Maven release plugin setup guide for Git on setting up the Maven release plugin. Now Maven 3 has been out for a while, so it is time to review my findings.

The current version of the release plugin is 2.5.1. So, using my previous blogpost as a guideline, I started a new Maven project with a new pom.xml containing this:


As you can see, it has an scm tag, a SNAPSHOT version and a distributionManagement tag pointing to a Nexus repository. Ready to roll!

When I run release:prepare now, everything seems to work fine. And after release:perform, the process finishes perfectly and a new version of my test project is deployed to the repository. Version 2.5.1 also fixed the issue when the pom.xml is in a sub-directory of the repository. So multi-module projects will now work with the maven-release plugin as well.

But a lot has happened since 2012. Git Flow was introduced, providing the world with a whole new branching model for git. The basic idea of Git Flow is to develop on a separate branch called develop and create a new release branch whenever you want to release. The release:branch goal of the Maven release plugin seems a perfect fit to enhance our release process with. So I tried it out.

According to the documentation, the release:branch goal should do exactly the same as the release:prepare goal, except that it makes a branch instead of a tag. So I tried the following two commands:

 mvn release:branch -DbranchName="releases/1.0.1"
mvn release:perform

Surprisingly, this did not work. Apparently, the release:branch goal doesn't make any file or other files that the release:perform goal expects.
So I tried this instead:

mvn release:perform -DconnectionUrl=scm:git:file:///opt/maven-demo/test-repo

Still no luck. The perform step seems to require certain settings that are not prepared correctly. So I abandoned this attempt and tried jgit-flow instead. Here is the code to perform a release following the previously mentioned git-flow branching model:

 mvn jgitflow:release-start
git push --all
mvn jgitflow:release-finish

With release-start, a new branch is created for this release. I pushed this branch to the remote so others can review and check the release.
With the release-finish goal, the release is merged into the master branch and a new version of the project is deployed to the Maven repository. The release branch is deleted, but a tag is created instead. In order to start a new release, the old release branch must be removed first. To remove a remote branch, use git push origin --delete <branchname>.

The jgit-flow Maven plugin also supports hotfix branches and feature branches.

Now, with this new Maven plugin, I think it is time to finally abandon the use of the maven-release-plugin...

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