A DSL for generating Maven pom.xml files
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pomaid is a tool that allows a more concise format for Maven pom.xml files. It's inspired by this article about "Invisible XML"

Usage: awk -f pomaid_to_pom.awk pomaid_file


Text-only XML elements

elem_name: elem_value

Creates an entry of the form <elem_name>elem_value</elem_name>


prop_name = prop_value

Creates a <property> element of the form <prop_name>prop_value</prop_name>. <property> elements will be embedded inside a <properties> element.


Whenever a dependency is created, the corresponding </dependency> element will not be created until a new dependency is spotted. Thus, any line created after a dependency and before a new one will be folded into the top dependency. See below for an example.

One-off dependency

+ group_id:artifact_id:version

Adds a dependency on a library with the relevant group_id, artifact_id, and optional version. version is optional because many projects list all dependencies (with version) in a top-level pom and then reference them in submodules.

Multiple dependencies for a shared group

You can combine multiple dependencies for the same group.

+ group_id


- group_id:artifact_id

Adds an exclusion for the previously-referenced dependency.

Dependency Example

The following example comes from a pomaid version of a Spring pom.xml from the Internet and illustrates the ideas above.

+ org.apache.tiles
    scope: compile
    optional: true
    scope: compile
    optional: true
    - org.slf4j:jcl-over-slf4j

The first line starts a set of dependencies all in the same group. The second line adds one of the specific artifacts within the group. The scope and optional lines will add the appropriate values to the tiles-api dependency. The tiles-core dependency is similar, but it also includes an exclusion of org.slf4j:jcl-over-slf4j. This will be applied to the tiles-core dependency, not the tiles-api dependency.

Arbitrary Hierarchy

pom.xml files often have a variety of nested elements that aren't easily abstracted into a specialized syntax, so pomaid support yaml-style elements that translate into start/end elements in the pom.xml. yaml means that siblings within a hierarchy must have consistent spacing from the edge.


Again, taken from a pomaid version of the Spring MVC pom.xml.

    name: The Apache Software License, Version 2.0

    name: Juergen Hoeller

Literal Text

Rather than support every conceivable Maven directive, pomaid lets you define text inline that is copied directly to the output.


Copies the text as-is into the output. No processing is done on these lines.

Adjusting Indents

Because no processing is done on literal text lines, any indents that occur in that text will be ignored. If you have a mix of literal text and pomaid instructions and you want proper indenting, you need to tell pomaid how to adjust its current indent level.


Forces the printing indent to be increased by 1. Multiple arrows on a line will cause that many indent adjustments.


Forces the printing indent to be decreased by 1. Multiple arrows on a line will cause that many indent adjustments.


This is again copied from the pomaid version of the Spring pom.xml file, and mixes literal text with pomaid "name: value" instructions.

  name: SpringSource
  url: http://springsource.org/spring-framework
-> ->
name: The Apache Software License, Version 2.0
<- <-


Lines prefixed with # are ignored.

Blank Lines

Blank lines in the pomaid file will be copied into the output. Note, however, that the rules about adding to dependencies still apply: You may find that a blank line is inserted before the </dependency> line.