Open SourceApache Maven Hitting the Enterprise and Eclipse

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The Apache Maven project is used by over 3 million Java developers as a project and build management solution. Java developers also widely use the Eclipse IDE. At the intersection of Eclipse and Maven is the new Maven Studio for Eclipse announced this week by Maven commercial backer Sonatype.

The new Maven Studio for Eclipse builds on top of the open source M2Eclipse project providing an enterprise-grade version to help accelerate adoption and usage.

“The primary focus of the first version of Maven Studio for Eclipse is what we call developer on-boarding,” Jason Van Zyl, CTO of Sonatype and creator of Maven told “What we found is that in a lot of organizations the biggest problem they have is trying to get new developers initialized and working with a new project — what we’ve tried to do is turn it into a one-click operation.”

Van Zyl added that his company’s broader goal is all about trying to make the Maven project work well for companies. Van Zyl released version 1.0 of Apache Maven back in 2004 with version 2.0 debuting in 2005. In 2008, Van Zyl helped to found Sonatype as a commercial entity focused on enterprise use of Apache Maven. Sonatype’s other commercial product is called Nexus Pro which is a user interface system for Maven repositories.

“All of our projects have an open core model so we do quality assurance and testing on the open source side and our commercial versions are pure super-sets,” Van Zyl said. “The community benefits from using the free open source version and then we sell the commercial versions to large organizations.”

The open core approach is one that research firm the 451 Group sees as expanding in popularity in recent years with 30 percent of open source vendors adopting the approach.

Though it’s not entirely open source, Sonatype is offering Maven Studio for Eclipse for free to individual and open source developers. Van Zyl noted that the Maven Studio for Eclipse works in conjunction with the Nexus Pro product which is how he expects most organizations to use the new studio. He added that together with Nexus Pro, Maven Studio for Eclipse users get role-based access control which helps to determine which projects a developer is able to provision and get on-board with.

Coming soon, Maven Enterprise Suite

The larger strategic plan from Sonatype is to roll out a Maven Enterprise Suite later this year which will include the Maven Studio for Eclipse, Nexus Pro as well as an additional run-time provisioning tool. Van Zyl explained that Sonatype is working on building out an open source solution called Provisio.

“Proviso will be the basis for our commercial production run-time provisioning tool,” Van Zyl said. “We have a version of it now that can provision Amazon EC2 instances, Vcloud and normal hardware.”

In addition to the work being done to develop the Maven Enterprise Suite, Van Zyl also noted that work is ongoing on Maven 3 which will be a major evolution of the core Maven codebase though he expects that it will be backwards compatible with Maven 2.x.

From a business perspective things are also busy at Sonatype with a new CEO starting on June 1st. Van Zyl declined to identify who the new CEO is, but he did say that the person was well-known in the open source community and has taken other companies public.

“For us inside the company we have no trouble with engineering, it’s now purely a matter of execution on sales and marketing,” Van Zyl said. This is why the new CEO is coming on-board because we’re at a pivotal point in the company and we need to grow the business.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

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