Gunnar Morling

Gunnar Morling

Random Musings on All Things Software Engineering

Gunnar Morling

Gunnar Morling

Random Musings on All Things Software Engineering

Introducing the OSS Quickstart Archetype

Posted at Dec 2, 2021

I am very happy to announce the availability of the OSS Quickstart Archetype!

Part of the ModiTect family of open-source projects, this is a Maven archetype which makes it very easy to bootstrap new Maven-based open-source projects, satisfying common requirements such as configuring plug-in versions, and adhering to best practices like auto-formatting the source code. Think Maven Quickstart Archetype and friends, but more modern, complete, and opinionated.

The Challenge

When bootstrapping new Maven-based projects, be it long-running ones, a short-lived proof-of-concept projects, or just some quick demo you’d like to publish on GitHub, there’s always some boilerplate involved: creating the POM with the right plug-in versions and configurations, preparing CI e.g. on GitHub Actions, providing a license file, etc.

While you could try and copy (parts of) an existing project you already have, Maven has a better answer to this problem: archetypes, pre-configured project templates which can be parameterized to some degree and which let you create new projects with just a few steps. Unfortunately, the canonical Maven quickstart archetype is rather outdated, creating projects for Java 1.7, using JUnit 4, etc.

The OSS Quickstart Archetype

The OSS (open-source software) quickstart archetype is meant as a fresh alternative, not only providing more current defaults and dependency versions, but also going beyond what’s provided by the traditional quickstart archetype. More specifically, it

  • defines up-to-date versions of all plug-ins in use, as well as of JUnit 5 and AssertJ (the opinionated part ;)

  • enforces all plug-in versions to be defined via the Maven enforcer plug-in

  • provides a license file and uses the license Maven plug-in for formatting/checking license headers in all source files

  • defines a basic set up for CI on GitHub Actions, building the project upon each push to the main branch of your repository and for each PR

  • configures plug-ins for auto-formatting code and imports (I told you, it’s opinionated)

  • defines a -Dquick option for skipping all non-essential plug-ins, allowing you to produce the project’s JAR as quickly as possible

  • (optionally) provides a descriptor

And most importantly, opening braces are not on the next line. We all agree nobody likes that, right?! Using the OSS Quickstart Archetype for bootstrapping a new project is as simple as running the following command:

mvn archetype:generate -B \
  -DarchetypeGroupId=org.moditect.ossquickstart \
  -DarchetypeArtifactId=oss-quickstart-simple-archetype \
  -DarchetypeVersion=1.0.0.Alpha1 \
  -DgroupId=com.example.demos \
  -DartifactId=fancy-project \
  -Dversion=1.0.0-SNAPSHOT \

Just a few seconds later, and you’ll have a new project applying all the configuration above, ready for you to start some open-source awesomeness.


Version 1.0.0.Alpha1 of the OSS Quickstart Archetype is available today on Maven Central, i.e. you can starting using it for bootstrapping new projects right now. It already contains most of the things I wanted it to have, but there’s also a few more improvements I would like to make:

  • Add the Maven wrapper (#1)

  • Make the license of the generated project configurable; currently, it uses Apache License, version 2. I’d like to make this an option of the archetype, which would let you choose between this license and a few other key open-source licenses, like MIT and BSD 3-clause (#2)

  • Provide a variant of the archetype for creating multi-module Maven projects (#7)

  • Add basic CheckStyle configuration (also skippable via -Dquick, #10)

Any contributions for implementing these, as well as other feature requests are highly welcome. Note the idea is to keep these archetypes lean and mean, i.e. they should only contain widely applicable features, leaving more specific things for the user to add after they created a project with the archetype.

Happy open-sourcing!

Many thanks to Andres Almiray for setting up the release pipeline for this project, using the amazing JReleaser tool!