Java 5 Annotations for Plugins
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status: done in Maven Plugin Tools 3.0


Maven plugins are described in META-INF/maven/plugin.xml descriptor, which is in general generated by maven-plugin-plugin. Information for the generator are written as javadoc annotations in java source: see maven-plugin-tools-java.

Using java 5 annotations instead of javadoc ones have multiple benefits:

  • compile-time checks for plugin metadata, with enums for some annotations
  • inheritance support
  • annotations are supported in most IDEs, providing code-completion and syntactic checks

see plexus-component-annotations for an example of such a work done on Plexus.

Existing implementations

Multiple implementations of such annotations exist:


Continue the work started on MNG-2521 before plugin-tools extraction from Maven Core.


  • 4 annotations: @Mojo and @Execute at class-level, @Parameter and @Component at field level
  • java package: (consistent with maven-plugin-tools-api
  • a new maven-plugin-tools-annotations component in plugin-tools

Extractor: addition into existing maven-plugin-tools-java

New features

  • use annotations from parents classes coming from reactors and external dependencies.


Initial work done in trunk

The maven-plugin-plugin version has been bump to 3.0-SNAPSHOT.

State of the development as of 22/5/2012

Following usage for a plugin developer is working, with annotations near previous javadoc tags:

Improvement Idea #1

rename roleHint to hint to match Plexus @Requirement


Improvement Idea #2

Remove readonly attribute from @Parameter (was used for Maven components like ${project} to mark that it should not be configured by plugin user), and replace by a new attribute of @Component which is mutually exclusive with role+hint

evaluation: ${project.compileClasspathElements} is an expression that would be readonly but doesn't really resolve to a component, so the term isn't appropriate. Need a better term.

Improvement Idea #3

Introduce JSR-330, by requiring plugin developer to mark injected fields with standard @Inject and make @Parameter and @Component standard Qualifier.
Costs more writing for plugin developer (these @Inject) without much win other than mark the intent in a standard way (and shouldn't change much for maven-plugin-tools)

evaluation: since plugin.xml is still generated and content is injected by Maven core using this plugin.xml and not annotations taken from bytecode, this is not really useful and causes more confusion/harm than benefit

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