Using Ant to parse and download Maven pom.xml dependencies

I’ve migrated most of my projects to Maven, but occasionally have some developers that prefer to use Ant in their development environments. One problem that I used to have with Ant was that it required all dependencies to be checked into the SCM repository for each project. I recently found an Ant plugin that allows for it to read the Maven pom.xml and download the required dependencies, thus making projects MUCH easier to maintain! the steps are very simple.

Maven – pom.xml

  • Make sure that you have your dependencies (nexus?) setup and tested here.

Maven – global settings.xml

  • Make sure that your repositories are correctly configured.

Ant – build.xml (very minimal, I usually add as a step in existing scripts vs. using as standalone)

  • (example):

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="no"?>
    <!DOCTYPE project>
    <project name="example" basedir="." default="dependencies" xmlns:artifact="antlib:org.apache.maven.artifact.ant">
    <taskdef uri="antlib:org.apache.maven.artifact.ant" classpath="ant/maven-ant-tasks-2.1.3.jar" />
    <target name="dependencies">
    <echo message="--- getting dependencies from maven pom.xml ---" />
    <artifact:pom id="pom" file="pom.xml" /><!-- settingsFile="settings.xml" -->
    <artifact:dependencies filesetId="test.dependencies" pomRefId="pom" useScope="test" />
    <copy todir="${antlib.dir}">
    <fileset refid="test.dependencies" />
    <mapper type="flatten" />
  • Make sure that you put the JAR (maven-ant-tasks-2.1.3.jar) in the proper place…


  • ant dependencies

If everything is working well, you can now purge most of the JAR’s that reside inside your web projects as the Ant build process can retrieve them based on values in the Maven pom.xml file.


Selenium Firefox modifyheaders

A few of my tests require access to modify the HTTP Request headers. Unfortunately, Selenium hides access to them to allow for portability, and to better emulate what “users” generally can change. To work around this a Firefox extension can be used and configured at runtime for this purpose.

NOTE: for Maven, you need to place a copy of the .xpi file referenced into the /src/test/resources folder for Selenium to locate it.

In the example below, I’m setting the HTTP Header for “DNT” to “1”.

public FirefoxDriver createFirefoxDriver() throws URISyntaxException, IOException {
// Specify the install location (if not default)
// Prevent Console log "noise" from the Selenium Firefox plugin
System.setProperty("org.apache.commons.logging.Log", "org.apache.commons.logging.impl.SimpleLog");
System.setProperty("org.apache.commons.logging.simplelog.log.httpclient.wire", "OFF");
System.setProperty("", "OFF");

final FirefoxProfile profile = new FirefoxProfile();
final URL url = this.getClass().getResource("/modify_headers-");
final File modifyHeaders = modifyHeaders = new File(url.toURI());


profile.setPreference("modifyheaders.headers.count", 1);
profile.setPreference("modifyheaders.headers.action0", "Add");
profile.setPreference("modifyheaders.headers.name0", "DNT");
profile.setPreference("modifyheaders.headers.value0", "1");
profile.setPreference("modifyheaders.headers.enabled0", true);
profile.setPreference("", true);
profile.setPreference("modifyheaders.config.alwaysOn", true);

final DesiredCapabilities capabilities = new DesiredCapabilities();
capabilities.setCapability(FirefoxDriver.PROFILE, profile);
return new FirefoxDriver(capabilities);

Load Testing web application with Selenium and TestNG

I’ve used Selenium for while to do verification tests of web applications, recently I discovered a very simple way to use it with TestNG and Maven to do some performance testing. TestNG allows for the use of annotations to allow multi-threading and iterations.



And as for a simple test to get started with… scripting of steps is available online or could be in a future blog post.

package com.example.selenium;

import org.openqa.selenium.WebDriver;
import org.openqa.selenium.WebDriverException;
import org.openqa.selenium.firefox.FirefoxDriver;
import org.slf4j.Logger;
import org.slf4j.LoggerFactory;
import org.testng.Assert;
import org.testng.annotations.BeforeClass;
import org.testng.annotations.Test;
* Simple test example for Selenium
public class SeleniumTest {

private static final Logger LOGGER = LoggerFactory.getLogger(SeleniumTest.class);
* TODO Un-comment or change if needed to set your local path!
public void oneTimeSetUp() {
System.out.println(“————————————– init —————————————-“);
* NOTE: uses TestNG – behaves differently than JUnit
@Test(invocationCount = 1, threadPoolSize = 5)
public void testLoadApp() {

final String fn = “testLoadApp”;
final String baseUrl = “”;
LOGGER.debug(“[START] Thread Id: {} is started!”, Thread.currentThread().getId());

WebDriver driver = null;
final long start = System.currentTimeMillis();
driver = (WebDriver)new FirefoxDriver();

final String actual = driver.getTitle();
LOGGER.debug(“Page Title is {}”, actual);
final String expected = “GIANTGEEK.COM”;
//perform whatever actions, like login, submit form or navigation

}catch(final WebDriverException ex){
}catch(final Exception ex){
finally {
final long elapsed = System.currentTimeMillis() - start;
LOGGER.debug("[END] Thread Id: {}, elapsed={}", Thread.currentThread().getId(),elapsed);
if(driver != null){

WARNING: Selenium Tests MAY fail if the browser used for testing is updated in the Operating System. Updating the pom.xml to a newer release usually helps!


Maven build script for replacement of text in web.xml (and others)

Automated replacement of BUILD_LABEL token in web.xml <description> with Maven. For JAR’s the replacement is commented out, but can be any file.

NOTE: This proves to be rather difficult to do because of the way that Maven copies resources as it’s building the WAR. The most reliable manner I’ve found (so far) is below, it works by making a .tmp copy of the web.xml in a different path and then later uses it in the WAR.


Most importantly, you will want to have this token in the web.xml file for replacement, the description line is best used for this as such:

<description>ExampleWAR [BUILD_LABEL]</description>

during the build, that value would be replaced to something like:

<description>ExampleWAR [Maven-20141015-1700]</description>


Maven/Ant echoproperties at build time

Once you have started using automation tools for continuous builds, you often find edge cases where your builds have minor variations due to the environments on which the projects have been built. To isolate these, it is often useful to have the build tool output a snapshot of it’s properties at the time the project was built. Thankfully, Ant and Maven make this easy to implement, required additions to your config files are below for each tool.

Maven: (pom.xml)

<echoproperties />

NOTE: ‘target’ is preferred over ‘tasks’ in newer versions of the plugin, it was deprecated in 1.5.

Ant: (build.xml)

<echoproperties />