A Comprehensive Guide to Running Programs in Java with Maven


Java developers often need to execute programs as part of their development process, whether they are testing, building, or deploying applications. Maven, a popular build automation tool primarily used for Java projects, provides a convenient way to manage dependencies, build, and run Java programs. In this guide, we will explore various methods and best practices for running programs in Java using Maven.

Setting Up Maven

Before diving into running programs with Maven, it’s essential to ensure that Maven is properly installed on your system. Maven can be downloaded and installed from the official Apache Maven website (https://maven.apache.org/download.cgi). Once installed, make sure to set up the PATH environment variable to include Maven’s bin directory, allowing you to run Maven commands from any location in your terminal or command prompt.

Creating a Maven Project

To create a new Maven project, you can use the mvn command-line tool or an integrated development environment (IDE) such as IntelliJ IDEA or Eclipse. Using the mvn command, navigate to the directory where you want to create the project and execute the following command:

mvn archetype:generate -DgroupId=com.example -DartifactId=my-project -DarchetypeArtifactId=maven-archetype-quickstart -DinteractiveMode=false

This command creates a new Maven project with the specified group ID (com.example), artifact ID (my-project), and uses the maven-archetype-quickstart archetype, which provides a basic project structure.

Running Programs with Maven

Once you have a Maven project set up, you can run Java programs using various plugins and configurations in the pom.xml file, Maven’s project object model.

Exec Plugin: The Exec Maven Plugin allows you to execute Java programs and external commands as part of the build process. To use the Exec Plugin, add the following configuration to your pom.xml file:


Replace com.example.Main with the fully qualified name of your main class. You can then execute your program using the following Maven command:

mvn exec:java

This command will compile your project and execute the main class specified in the configuration.

Maven Compiler Plugin: Another approach to running Java programs with Maven is by using the Maven Compiler Plugin to compile the code and then execute it manually. Add the following configuration to your pom.xml file:


Replace the <source> and <target> versions with your desired Java version. Then, compile your code using the following command:

mvn compile

Once the compilation is successful, you can run your program using the java command:

java -cp target/classes com.example.Main

Best Practices and Considerations:

  • Maintain a clean project structure: Organize your project according to Maven’s conventions to improve readability and maintainability.
  • Utilize Maven profiles: Define profiles in your pom.xml to manage different build configurations, such as development, testing, and production.
  • Automate testing: Integrate testing frameworks like JUnit with Maven to automate the execution of unit tests as part of your build process.
  • Dependency management: Leverage Maven’s dependency management capabilities to efficiently manage project dependencies and ensure consistency across environments.
  • Continuous integration (CI): Integrate your Maven projects with CI/CD pipelines (e.g., Jenkins, Travis CI) for automated builds, testing, and deployment.


Running Java programs with Maven offers a streamlined approach to managing dependencies, building, and executing code. By leveraging Maven plugins and configurations, developers can efficiently run Java programs within their projects, enhancing productivity and maintainability. Incorporating best practices such as maintaining a clean project structure and automating testing further improves the development workflow. As you continue to explore Maven, experiment with different plugins and configurations to optimize your development process further.

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