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From Mark Struberg <>
Subject [incremental build] force plugin execution flag or other CLI options
Date Fri, 31 Aug 2012 17:34:55 GMT
Hi folks!

I need a bit feedback about forcing mojo execution in incremental builds [1].

As already explained, the main problem in this area is that some plugins (e.g. maven-compiler-plugin)
already have some kind of incremental build logic, but do this way too lazily (see 'Rational'
in the linked wiki page). This can get fixed easily for the maven-compiler-plugin, but for
other plugin e.g. the maven-surefire-plugin things become a bit more complicated.

Why would we like to have an incremental build for the surefire-maven-plugin at all?

Think about a multi-module EAR project with 7 web applications and a few utility/backend modules.
If you change only one file in a single webapp, then the tests of the other webapps do not
need to run again. The 2 general rules of incremental builds apply straight forward. The tests
only need to run in a module if either a previous build step produced/changed a result that
is an input parameter for this build, or if the dependencies of the module changed. 

But there is still the case where a user might force the plugin execution like

$> mvn surefire:run


$> mvn test

If the maven-surefire-plugin would implement the incremental build rules, it would just do
nothing on the second invocation (as no input parameter did change).
Now one could argue that you can simply use the clean phase, but then all the upfront processing
would get performed as well. Do we like that? This might be annoying if you only like to run
a single test via the -Dtest= parameter. Or just like to trigger a debugging session with

In that case some parameter to suppress the incremental build behaviour would be handy.

Now this can be done in 2 ways: enable incremental builds by default or disabled by default.
Or is the surefire-plugin an exceptional case and we can just add a 'forceExecution' flag
directly to the maven-surefire-plugin?

We could also define that the incremental build is enabled if phases get specified, but if
you specify a distinct plugin target, then it's execution should get forced. In any case we
need to extend maven-core a bit. And in the best case in a way which allows the plugins to
run fine on old maven versions as well.

Any ideas how we could implement this? 

Of course, first we need a clear idea how a user should interact with that. After that we
can look at how to hack it.

txs and LieGrue,


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