Nexus is the next generation of the popular Proximity repository manager software for use with Apache Maven. This is the first public release of Nexus, and I believe it marks an important milestone in the practice of building software.
I’m not what you might call an early adopter when it comes to software. In the vast majority of applications I use, I know how to use less than 25% of the features. A long time ago, I realized I was spending too much time trying to keep the technology (software, hardware, configurations, whatever) going to get anything done in a reasonable amount of time. Today, my point of view is very pragmatic. For any new application, I generally ask myself what the software does that will make my life easier in concrete terms, and can I really depend on it to do these things reliably and with little or no babysitting. For instance, I generally don’t use the milestone releases of my IDE of choice, Eclipse; they’re simply not stable enough for me to be able to focus on the software I’m trying to write.
As a result of this viewpoint, you’re not going to hear me get very excited about beta releases of other people’s projects very often. You won’t hear me trying to sell you on the latest and greatest technology that probably overstates its capabilities. I’m not a big believer in the value contained in the promise of a piece of software, unless I have intimate knowledge of how it’s put together. In short, I’m not going to be your first choice for the job of technology evangelist.
Having said all of that, I do stand by my initial statement about Nexus. I do believe Nexus represents something new in the discipline of producing quality software. I can talk about the slick UI features that I love to look at; I can talk about how cool it is that you can reuse repository definitions in different groupings that themselves look like remote repositories to Maven; I could even talk about the fact that you can literally unzip and start Nexus with no configuration, and start using it immediately…which makes it incredibly easy to try out. But for me, these are all window dressing. What I really love about Nexus is how it puts its money where its mouth is. This is an application that just works. Period. For anyone in the software industry, you’ll know how rare this is.
I work with the guys who wrote, tested, and released Nexus, and having a chance to witness firsthand the use cases and quality control that went into this application, I can honestly say I’m really excited about this project. Maybe it means something that I’ve been developing the core of Maven for four years, and thinking almost exclusively of how to improve the way we build software for over three of those years; maybe it doesn’t. The good news is, you don’t have to take my word for it. Try it yourself. It’s dead simple to get started.
To download Nexus, visit the Nexus website, and click on the Download link. To learn how to start using Nexus, try the Getting Started link. For now, the best way to get started is to read the chapter on Nexus in Maven: The Definitive Guide; but it’s a good idea to bookmark the website as well, so you can find out how to tell us what you like, what you want to see but don’t, and what you might find that seems broken in this first beta release.
Please be sure to take it for a spin; I bet you’ll be glad you did.