Maven is a Java project management and project comprehension tool, or - in other words - yet another build tool. It can use Ant and a number of other open source utilities and brings them together in an easy-to-use build tool.
The key part of maven is the use of a “project object model” file (ie pom.xml). You will find a pom.xml file in all active modules. The project file tells you the name of the module, who maintains it, who develops it, and what it depends on.
The most important part of the project file is the dependencies section as maven uses this to determine what order to build the modules in and what support jars to download when needed (if we move over to maven exclusively we will no longer need the extbin folder).
All the modules have some things in common, the module pom.xml files extend a pom.xml file which can be found in the GeoTools root directory. This root pom.xml file defines things, such as license and build settings which are common to the geotools library. The root pom.xml has a dependencyManagement section that lists the version numbers in one location (so we can be sure that each module is being built with dependencies that can work together).
The windows implementation of notepad messes up pom.xml byte order - causing trouble for mac developers working on our project. Please consider using a notepad replacement such as notepad2.
Trouble looks like:
Reason: Parse error reading POM. Reason: only whitespace content allowed before start tag and not \ud4 (position: START_DOCUMENT seen \ud4... @1:1)