mvn archetype:generate command is used to create a project from an existing template. There are several archetype’s defined by many developers and project groups. When you run the command, maven does following things:
- Downloads maven-archetype-plugin’s latest version.
- Lists all archetype’s that can be used to create a project from. If you defined an archetype while calling the command, maven jumps to step 4.
- By default, maven chooses maven-archetype-quickstart archetype which basically creates a maven Hello World project with source and test classes. If you want to create a simple project, you can just press enter to continue. If you want to create a specific type of application, you should find the archetype matching your needs and enter the number of that archetype, then press enter. E.g. If you want to create a webapp project, you can enter 153 (this is the current number for this archetype, it can change in time.)
- Since archetypes are templates and they intend to reflect current best practices, they can evolve in time, thus they have their own versions. Maven will ask you which version of the archetype you want to use. By default, maven chooses latest version for you. so if you agree to use the latest version of an archetype, just press Enter at this step;
- Every maven project (and module) has its groupId, artifactId and version. Maven will then ask these to you in three steps. groupId: This is generally unique amongst an organization or a project. artifactId: The artifactId is generally the name that the project is known by. version: This is the last piece of the naming puzzle.(read more)
- Finally, maven will ask you the package structure for your code. A best practice is to create your folder structure that reflects the groupId, thus Maven sets this as default but you are free to change this.
After entering these information, Maven will show you all the information you entered and ask you to verify project creation. If you press Y and then enter, voila your project is created with the artifact and settings you chose.
You can also read maven-archetype-plugin‘s usage site.