Creating a Custom/Alternative Maven Lifecycle

how to create a custom/alternative maven lifecycle

Creating a custom lifecycle in Maven is pretty straightforward, although there doesn’t seem to be many examples available online. This post details how to create a custom lifecycle – i.e. not one of the default three Maven lifecycles – and optionally set default goals for the phases.

The complete source code for the examples below can pulled from the repository.

Create a Plugin

To create your own custom lifecycle you need to create a Maven plugin which only requires two files: pom.xml and components.xml

Setting up the Directory Structure

The diagram below shows where these files should be located. Note that this directory structure also contains the mojo; this is not actually required for the custom lifecycle, and is simply used to validate when a particular phase is called later on.

Plugin Directory Structure

Configuring the pom.xml File

The pom.xml file is very straightforward, we are simply creating a maven-plugin.

    <project xmlns="" 

      <name>Custom Lifecycle Plugin</name>


Configuring the components.xml File

Configuring the components.xml file is also straightforward, the interesting fields are explained in more detail below:


For this particular example, the actual value of role-hint doesn’t appear to be used, although it looks to be a mandatory field and therefore cannot be removed. More useful is the id field, this is the name of the custom lifecycle being created, to complement the existing Maven lifecycles of clean, default and site.

The various phase elements detail the phases for the lifecycle in the order they will run. Finally, any phase that should default to a particular plugin goal should be defined in the default-phases section. In the example above, the first phase of the custom lifecycle – phase1 – will by default call the phase1Goal on the CustomLifecyclePlugin in the com.nextmetaphor.plugin group.

And that’s all there is to it! Simply mvn install this plugin and we can use the new custom lifecycle from another project.

Create A Project To Use The Custom Lifecycle

This demonstration project consists solely of a simple pom.xml file.

Configuring the pom.xml File

Here the custom lifecycle is introduced by the plugin reference. Note that the extensions property must be set to true for the custom lifecycle to become available to us.

    <project xmlns=""

      <name>Custom Lifecycle Project</name>


Confirming the Custom Lifecycle is Available

Invoke the clean phase on the project with verbose debug on using mvn clean -X. This should complete successfully. Scroll back through the logs until the available lifecycles are listed:

    [INFO] ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    [INFO] Building Custom Lifecycle Project 1.0-SNAPSHOT
    [INFO] ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    [DEBUG] Lifecycle default -> [validate, initialize, generate-sources,
            process-sources, generate-resources, process-resources, compile,
            process-classes, generate-test-sources, process-test-sources, 
            generate-test-resources, process-test-resources, test-compile, 
            process-test-classes, test, prepare-package, package, 
            pre-integration-test, integration-test, post-integration-test, 
            verify, install, deploy]
    [DEBUG] Lifecycle clean -> [pre-clean, clean, post-clean]
    [DEBUG] Lifecycle site -> [pre-site, site, post-site, site-deploy]
    [DEBUG] Lifecycle customLifecyclePlugin_LifecycleID -> [phase1, 
            phase2, phase3]

Invoking the Custom Lifecycle

As a final test we’ll invoke the phase3 phase which should invoke the preceding phases: phase1 and phase2. Only phase1 has been set up with a default goal, in this case to call a mojo which will simply output some text.

    [CustomLifecycleProject]$ mvn phase3
    [INFO] Scanning for projects...
    [INFO] ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    [INFO] Building Custom Lifecycle Project 1.0-SNAPSHOT
    [INFO] ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    [INFO] --- 
           @ CustomLifecycleProject ---
    [INFO] Doing Phase 1 stuff. Oh yeah baby.
    [INFO] ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    [INFO] ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    [INFO] Total time: 0.755s
    [INFO] Finished at: Tue Jan 28 01:00:58 GMT 2014
    [INFO] Final Memory: 5M/141M
    [INFO] ------------------------------------------------------------------------

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