When a new developer is hired or a staffer is moved onto a new project, one of the more difficult aspects of the orientation process is configuring his or her IDE and desktop to handle all of the appropriate projects. Sonatype, the company created to support the Apache Maven project management effort, will release Maven Studio for Eclipse at EclipseCon next week in an effort to speed up the on-boarding process at companies that already use Maven.

Jason van Zyl, creator of the Maven project and founder of Sonatype, said that Maven Studio for Eclipse can be configured to automatically deploy an entire development environment onto a desktop with the click of a single link.

“The developer gets a link in an e-mail, and everything, including Eclipse, the plug-ins and the project, is downloaded,” he said. “We’re going from a process that can take from four hours to a week, down to 20 minutes.

“It also deals with all the preferences. If a team lead has gone through the process of setting up an onboarding descriptor, setting preferences, and code formatting, it means the next developer who goes to use that descriptor just gets everything set up the way the team lead set it up.”

Because Maven is built on the repository model, Maven Studio for Eclipse also downloads the internal project files on which the development team is working, and it properly links the IDE to repositories where the necessary assets and dependencies are held.

Maven Studio for Eclipse is part of a larger effort by Sonatype to provide a full life-cycle stack (called Maven Enterprise Suite) to developers. Maven Studio is the first piece of that larger puzzle, but van Zyl said Sonatype will soon be releasing a new version of its Nexus Pro repository management software, along with a rebuilt version of the Hudson open-source continuous integration tool specifically designed for Maven use.

The final piece of the Suite will be a deployment tool that can bring Maven-built projects out into application servers. These additional portions of the Suite should be available by May, said van Zyl.

Until then, Sonatype has been preoccupied with cleaning up the Java.net technology website. After Oracle finished its acquisition of Sun, van Zyl and his team decided to mirror the Maven repositories hosted at Java.net to ensure the software contained therein did not vanish.

But the Java.net mirroring project has turned out to be a lot more complicated than van Zyl thought it would be, and the Sonatype team is expected to be working full-time on the project until mid-April. Oracle is sponsoring the work, van Zyl said, because Java.net’s Maven repositories were in almost complete disarray.

“They had a mixture of Maven 1 and Maven 2 repositories in the same directory,” he said. “They had releases and snapshots all mixed up together. There were lots of problems with their Maven metadata. It was all messed up.

“Maven metadata uses coordinates that correspond to directory structures. They had different directories used than were referenced. There were duplicate releases of JAXB. We’re trying to clean it up while still having it remain backwards compatible. Even at Apache, there are some projects that depend on the versions in Java.net that we weren’t even aware of. We’ll create redirects for them so we don’t break them. It’s a lot of work. I’m surprised, though; after eight years of trying to work with Sun on this, something happened inside of Oracle.”

The Java.net Maven repositories will be hosted within the Sonatype Maven repositories, which already host hundreds of Java artifacts.