What is an archetype?

A Maven 2 project 'en devenir'

I.e. an abstract representation of a kind of project that can be instantiated into a concrete customised Maven 2 project.

An archetype knows which files will be part of the instantiated project and which properties to fill to properly customise the project.

Each archetype defines a set of common properties:

  • groupId which will be the groupId of the project
  • artifactId which will be the artifactId of the project
  • version which will be the version of the project
  • package which will be the base package of all source files of the project

A jar file

The minimal content of the jar file:

|   `-- maven
|       `-- archetype-metadata.xml  [1]
`-- archetype-resources
    |-- ...                         [2]
    `-- pom.xml                     [3]
  1. The metadata file that defines:
    • the default values of the common properties,
    • a set of additional properties with their default values,
    • a set of archetype resources;
  2. The resource files defined by the archetype metadata,
  3. The POM file of a Maven 2 project.


The common properties should be renamed to $target.groupId , ... to avoid name clash.