Avro's build is coordinated by a top level build script, build.sh and delegated to each language's build.

Each language is expected to support three phases of the top level build:

  • clean this target cleans out all file and directory artifacts created by the build.
  • test this target executes all unit tests for all languages, after compilation or packaging, as needed. It then generates interop test data for all languages, and following that runs interop tests with all languages. Finally, it runs RPC interop tests. Calling test immediately after a clean is expected.
  • dist this target builds and packages all artifacts for a release. This includes:
    • Creating a tarball of all source code in the avro tree, after validating that files have acceptabe license headers.
    • Building and packaging artifacts for all languages, including any documentation such as Javadoc.
    • Building the avro website.
    • Creates a tarball of all documentation and a directory per language with language specific artifacts.

Language Specific Details


Prior to Avro 1.5, Avro Java was built using Ant and created two jars. avro.jar contained all of avro's classes, and avro-tools.jar contained that plus dependent jars and a main class for 'java -jar' usage.

Avro 1.5 and beyond use Apache Maven and is composed of multiple modules. Users can choose which subset of avro they need, and individual avro modules can dependon big, complicated things like hadoop without causing users who don't care about those features to pull in dependencies they don't need. Likewise, adding more modules with other dependencies is now easy.
Maven 3.0.2 is recommended, but the build should work with 2.2.1 as well. It has been tested with 3.0.1.

Project Structure

path from lang/java



artifact type


depends on



Apache Avro Java


parent, inherits from Apache master pom, sets common build properties and versions




Apache Avro


avro "core" functionality.

jackson, paranamer



Apache Avro Compiler


Avro IDL and Specific compiler, including ant tasks

avro, commons-lang, velocity, ant



Apache Avro Maven Plugin


Maven mojos for avpr > java; avsc > java; avdl > java;

avro-compiler, maven



Apache Avro IPC


Avro IPC components, protocols, trancievers, etc

avro, netty, jetty, velocity



Apache Avro Mapred API


An org.apache.hadoop.mapred API using Avro serialization

avro-ipc, jopt-simple, hadoop-core (provided scope)



Apache Avro Tools

jar (with dependencies)

A single jar containing all of Avro and dependencies, with command line tools

avro-ipc, avro-mapred, avro-compiler, avro

Building Instructions: command-line

To clean build all components without testing and install them in your local repository:

$ mvn clean install -DskipTests

To compile only:

$ mvn compile

To run tests:

$ mvn test

To install to local repo, including running tests:

$ mvn install

Other useful mvn commands:

$ mvn clean
$ mvn validate
$ mvn help:effective-pom
$ mvn site
$ mvn generate-resources

To download all available javadoc and source of dependent projects into your local repo:

$ mvn dependency:resolve -Dclassifier=javadoc
$ mvn dependency:resolve -Dclassifier=sources

In general, any maven plugin has documentation online, and available on the command line like so:

$ mvn dependency:help
$ mvn javadoc:help
$ mvn versions:help

There are a lot of plugins that do almost anything you need. For example, to find out if there are newer versions of any dependencies we use:

$ mvn versions:display-dependency-updates

to see a dependency hierarchy:

$ mvn dependency:tree

to create a code coverage report:

$ mvn cobertura:cobertura

Building Instructions: Eclipse

Use Eclipse 3.6 Helios
Use the m2Eclipse plugin.

  • Load the projects into the workspace using the "Import ..." dialog, and select "Existing Maven Projects"
  • Select the lang/java directory, and it should show all projects including the parent. Import all of these.
  • After the load and first build, it will not completely compile. To fix it up to compile, select all of the projects and right-click. Select Maven > Update Project Configuration.
    There is a bug that occasionally appears if you are changing the way the compiler works. The projects that depend on the compiler will break. Restarting eclipse and doing the Maven > Update Project Configuration step fixes this.

The Maven Eclipse Plugin is also an option. Any instructions for that are welcome, the tricky part will be that some Avro projects depend on the output of other projects to compile.

More maven information:

These are a good start:

For those new and experienced, "Maven By Example" is a very good intro – especially chapters 3+

Apache's maven policies, tips, etc:

Plugins used include:

Other useful plugins:

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