My applications tend to be containers for the many pre-fabricated components of other projects I have. For instance I have 19 projects in my Eclipse workspace where 3 of them are the containers - if you like, the applications themselves.
Having lots of projects means that it can be easy to miss updating the version numbers for them when it comes time to perform a release; particularly missing that a project is being depended on as a snapshot.
In summary two big reasons to use the Maven Release Plugin are:
- it ensures that there are no snapshot dependencies; and
- it updates your pom's version number automatically.
In order to use the plugin I found myself having to add an scm element, an element for the plugin itself and a distributionManagement element.
The scm element let's the plugin know where to tag a release. Each time you make a release the plugin will create a tag for it in your source code repository. I was doing this as a manual task prior to the plugin so this feature is great.
I configured the plugin to ignore deploying my source code and javadoc to the repository. I actually had a problem with the maven source plugin given spaces contained in my path. I also didn't need to deploy the source code as I have it within my scm repository and I don't intend releasing the source to other parties.
Lastly you need to let the deploy plugin know how to deploy your project's artifacts in a maven repository i.e. the jar files in my case. The release plugin will invoke the deploy goal by default (actually it does a deploy and then "site deploy"). My projects generally rely upon the default goal with exception to those "application" projects. The application projects simply invoke the assembly plugin as I'm interested in producing a tar.gz file of the entire application. I therefore don't need to specify repository deployment details in my pom for these application projects as there is none.
All in all the maven release plugin saves me time and improves my release build quality.