What’s the difference between the maven-dependency-plugin and dependencyManagement

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I am confused about the difference between the artifactItem defined in maven-dependency-plugin and the dependency defined in dependencyManagement/dependencies in maven.

My real question is why do you put artifactItem in maven-dependency-plugin -> configuration->artifactItems while you can put the dependency under dependencyManagement/dependencies?

Is it because that you can specify copy/pack the dependency to a specified folder using maven-dependency-plugin? If so, does it means that maven-dependency-plugin is a superset of dependencyManagement? If true, why bother to have dependencyManagement?

To make it simple, let’s not consider multiple projects. Let’s assume that there is only one project and one pom, it doesn’t have any child project.


The artifactItem of the maven-dependency-plugin only applies to that specific step (e.g. unpacking that dependency or copying it somewhere). In dependencyManagement you can specify artifact versions etc., so that you can include them in submodules just by group and artifact id in the dependencies section, while the version is only configured in the dependencyManagement block. So technically, those 3 configuration ways (maven-dependencies-plugin, dependencyManagement and dependencies all serve their own purposes, neither is a superset or subset of another one.

Source: stackoverflow