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A bazel ruleset creating a more idiomatic bazel representation of a maven repo using a pinned list of artifacts.
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Bazel Rules for Maven Repositories

A bazel ruleset creating a more idiomatic bazel representation of a maven repo using a pinned list of artifacts.

Release: 1.0

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Zip File 5950eb0e4a3b8fd39832e58dd30e96258526751dabdc308cc7216f74396d8d41
Tarball a7e383c8074b0d22349fa2be2172f35ec7665b76b41d968e4fea14f7a8ecb9aa

Table of Contents


Bazel Rules for Maven Repositories allow the specification of a list of artifacts which constitute maven repository's universe of deps, and exposes these deps into a bazel repository namespace. The name of the repository specification rule becomes the repository name in Bazel. For instance the following specification:

MAVEN_REPOSITORY_RULES_SHA = "5950eb0e4a3b8fd39832e58dd30e96258526751dabdc308cc7216f74396d8d41"
    name = "maven_repository_rules",
    type = "zip",
    strip_prefix = "bazel_maven_repository-%s" % MAVEN_REPOSITORY_RULES_VERSION,
load("@maven_repository_rules//maven:maven.bzl", "maven_repository_specification")
    name = "maven",
    artifacts = {
        "": { "sha256": "3fd4341776428c7e0e5c18a7c10de129475b69ab9d30aeafbb5c277bb6074fa9" },

... results in deps of the format @maven//com/google/guava:guava (which can be abbreviated to @maven//com/google/guava)

Dependency versions are resolved in the single artifact list. Only one version is permitted within a repository.

Note: bazel_maven_repository has no workspace dependencies, so adding it to your project will not result in any additional bazel repositories to be fetched.

Repository URLs

By default, maven_repository_specification pulls artifacts from However, for artifacts hosted on different (public or private) maven repositories, using the repository_urls allows the downloader to target any number of Maven 2-style repositories. e.g.:

    name = "maven",
    artifacts = {
        "android.arch.lifecycle:common:1.1.1": { "sha256": "abcdef" },
        "android.arch.lifecycle:livedata-core:1.1.1:aar": { "sha256": "fedcba" },
    repository_urls = [

Note: Failing to specify the proper set of repositories is a common cause of seeing 404 errors

Supported Types

Currently .aar and .jar artifacts are supported. OSGI bundles are supported by assuming they are normal .jar artifacts (which they are, just have a packaging property of bundle and some extra metadata in META-INF of the .jar file).

.aar artifacts should be specified as "" (just append :aar onto the artifact spec string).

For any other types, please file a feature request, or supply a pull request. So long as there exists a proper bazel import or library rule to bring the artifact's file into bazel's dependency graph, it should be possible to support it.

Note: Failing to specify whether an artifact is an aar is a common cause of seeing 404 errors

Inter-artifact dependencies

This rule will, in the generated repository, infer inter-artifact dependencies from pom.xml files of those artifacts (pulling in only compile and runtime dependencies, and avoiding any systemPath dependencies). This avoids the bazel user having to over-specify the full set of dependency jars.

All artifacts, even transitively depended-on ones, need to be specified with pinned versions in the artifacts property, and any artifacts discovered in the inferred dependency search, which are not present in the main rule's artifact list will be flagged and the build will fail with an error listing them.

Coordinate Translation

Translation from maven group/artifact coordinates to bazel package/target coordinates is naive but orderly. The logic mirrors the layout of a maven repository, with group_id elements (separated by .) turning into a package hierarchy, and the artifact_id turning into a bazel target.


Bazel tends not to like package and target names using anything other than [A-Za-z9-0_] (though it can support dashes in some cases). These rules do a straight mangling of other characters into _ in artifact_ids (though not in group_ids because: reasons).

While this typically turns into what you'd expect, there are a few times where it doesn't.

For instance:

    name = "maven",
    insecure_artifacts = [

would be referenced in a rule like so:

    name = "foo",
    srcs = glob(["*.java"]),
    deps = [

Note: The package/workspace layout generated by the maven_repository_specification rule can be found at <workspace>/bazel-<workspace_name>/external/<maven_repo_name> (all bazel generated workspaces are available in bazel-yourworkspace/external). The package structure can be inspected if it is confusing.

Artifact Configuration

Sha verification

Artifacts with SHA256 checksums can be added to artifacts, in the form:

    artifacts = {
        "": { "sha256": "3fd4341776428c7e0e5c18a7c10de129475b69ab9d30aeafbb5c277bb6074fa9" },

Artifacts without SHA headers should configured as insecure, like so:

    artifacts = {
        "": { "insecure": True },

The rules will reject artifacts without SHAs are not marked as "insecure".

Note: These rules cannot validate that the checksum is the right one, only that the one supplied in configuration matches the checksum of the file downloaded. It is the responsibility of the maintainer to use proper security practices and obtain the expected checksum from a trusted source.

Substitution of build targets

One can provide a BUILD.bazel target snippet that will be substituted for the auto-generated target implied by a maven artifact. This is very useful for providing an annotation-processor-exporting alternative target. The substitution is naive, so the string needs to be appropriate and any rules need to be correct, contain the right dependencies, etc. To aid that it's also possible to (on a per-package basis) substitute dependencies on a given fully-qualified bazel target for another.

A simple use-case would be to substitute a target name (e.g. "mockito-core" -> "mockito") for cleaner/easier use in bazel:

alias(name = "mockito", actual=":mockito_core")
maven_jvm_artifact(name = "mockito_core", artifact = "org.mockito:mockito-core:{v}")
    name = "maven",
    artifacts = {
        "org.mockito:mockito-core:2.20.1": { "sha256": "blahblahblah", "build_snippet": MOCKITO_SNIPPET.format(v="2.20.1") },
        # ... all the other deps.

This would allow the following use in a BUILD.bazel file.

  name = "MyTest",
  srcs = "",
  deps = [
    # ... other deps
    "@maven//org/mockito" # instead of "@maven//org/mockito:mockito-core"

More complex use-cases are possible, such as adding substitute targets with annotation processing java_plugin targets and exports. An example with Dagger would look like this (with the basic rule imports assumed):

# use this target
java_library(name = "dagger", exports = [":dagger_api"], exported_plugins = [":dagger_plugin"])

# alternatively-named import of the raw dagger library.
maven_jvm_artifact(name = "dagger_api", artifact = "")

    name = "dagger_plugin",
    processor_class = "dagger.internal.codegen.ComponentProcessor",
    generates_api = True,
    deps = [":dagger_compiler"],

The above is given as a substitution in the maven_repository_specification() rule. However, since the inferred dependencies of :dagger-compiler would create a dependency cycle because it includes :dagger as a dep, the specification rule also should include a dependency_target_substitution, to ensures that the inferred rules in the generated com/google/dagger/BUILD file consume :dagger_api instead of the wrapper replacement target.

    name = "maven",
    artifacts = {
        "": {
            "sha256": "blahblahblah",
            "build_snippet": DAGGER_PROCESSOR_SNIPPET,
        "": { "sha256": "blahblahblah" },
        "": { "sha256": "blahblahblah" },
        "": { "sha256": "blahblahblah" },
        "": { "sha256": "blahblahblah" },
        # ... all the other deps.
    dependency_target_substitutes = {
        "": {"@maven//com/google/dagger:dagger": "@maven//com/google/dagger:dagger_api"},

Thereafter, any target with a dependency on (in this example) @maven//com/google/dagger will invoke annotation processing and generate any dagger-generated code. The same pattern could be used for Dagger, AutoFactory and AutoValue, etc.

Such snippet constants can be extracted into .bzl files and imported to keep the WORKSPACE file tidy. In the future some standard templates may be offered by this project, but not until deps validation is available, as it would be too easy to have templates' deps lists go out of date as versions bumped, if no other validation prevented it or notified about it.


Optionally, an artifact may specify a packaging. Valid artifact coordinates are listable this way: "group_id:artifact_id:version[:packaging]"

At present, only jar (default) and aar packaging are supported.


Classifiers have only limited support. An artifact can specify a classifier, but only that or the unclassified artifact can be used, but not both.

Classifiers are tacked on the end, e.g. ""


Bazel can cache artifacts if you provide sha256 hashes. These will make the artifacts candidates for the "content addressable" cache, which is machine-wide, and survives even bazel clean --expunge. The caveat for this is that if you put the wrong hash, and if that hash is to a file you already have downloaded, bazel's internal download mechanism will serve that file instead of the remote file. This can cause you to accidentally supply a wrong version, wrong artifact, or wrong kind of file if you're not careful. So take caution when recording the sha256 hashes, both for security and performance reasons. The hash will be preferred over the artifact as a way to identify the artifact, under the hood.

API Reference


This rule assembles a bazel workspace that represents the artifacts supplied in a bazely form, with groupIds split on . and representing package paths, and artifactIds used as target names (replacing . and - with _ by default).

The rule supports per-artifact configuration as well as some limited group-level configuration.

        # The name of the repository

        # The dictionary of artifact -> properties which allows us to specify artifacts with more details.
        # These properties don't include the group, artifact name, version, classifier, or type, which are
        # all specified by the artifact key itself.
        # The currently supported properties are:
        #    sha256 -> the hash of the artifact file to be downloaded. (Incompatible with "insecure")
        #    insecure -> if True, don't fail on a missing sha256 hash. (Incompatible with "sha256")
        #    build_snippet -> replaces the generated target snippet with the supplied text
        artifacts = {},

        # The dictionary of per-group target substitutions.  These must be in the format:
        # "@myreponame//path/to/package:target": "@myrepotarget//path/to/package:alternate"
        # These are not public aliases, but only apply to intra-package references. These can be 
        # used to address build cycles introduced by one or more build_snippets that wrap targets.
        # See the dagger example in the test/test_workspace sample repository.  
        dependency_target_substitutes = {},

        # Optional list of repositories which the build rule will attempt to fetch maven artifacts and
        # metadata.
        repository_urls = [""]):


This rule is mostly used by the generated code, but can be used in build_snippets. It undrestands the structure of the individual fetch workspaces built for each artifact, and so provides the link between the man maven workspace and the workhorse workspaces responsibility for fetching each .jar, etc.

  artifact, # The maven-style artifact coordinates (groupId:artifactId:version[[:type]:classifier])
  name = None, # The bazel target name (implicitly artifactId with "." and "-" converted to "_")
  deps = [], # Any dependencies needed at compile-time for consumers of this target.
  runtime_deps = [], # Any dependencies needed only at runtime (built into _test and _binary deploy jars
  exports = [], # Any targets listed here are treated by the consuming rule as if it had declared them.
  visibility = ["//visibility:public"],
  **kwargs) # Extra parameters passed through to the underlying import rules

Note: deps, runtime_deps, and exports behave exactly as a java_library would treat them. Technically runtime_deps and exports are part of the **kwargs and are just passed through naively to the underlying import rules.

Note: The rules_kotlin (as of March, 2019) contain a bug which fails to propagate compile deps. For some cases, adding a build_snippet that exports otherwise unused dependencies as exports can mitigate this for a few common cases (e.g. rxjava2->reactive-streams).


  • Doesn't support -SNAPSHOT dependencies (#5)
  • Doesn't support multiple versions of a dependency (by design).
  • Doesn't support multiple calls to maven_repository_specification() due to collisions in the implicit fetching rules it creates. This limitation will be lifted in a version. (#6)
  • Doesn't support -source.jar downloading and attachment. (#44)
  • .pom files are not cached across bazel clean --expunge despite being immutable. Jar files can be if sha256 hashes are supplied.

Other Usage Notes


Because of the nature of bazel repository/workspace operation, updating the list of artifacts may invalidate build caches, and force a re-run of workspace operations (and possibly reduce incrementality of the next build). This is unavoidable.

Clogged WORKSPACE files

It may make sense, if one's maven universe gets big, to extract the list of artifacts into a constant in a separate file (e.g. maven_artifacts.bzl) and import it.


ijar (abi-jar) and inline functions

Bazel java rules tend to process .jar artifacts through a tool called ijar for performance reasons and to reduce the compile-time dependency graph (since purely implementation dependencies are not required and do not contribute to the compilation job's hash). These are useful, but less valuable with pre-built jars.

Further, when ijar strips function bodies, it currently does not honor any kotlin semantics with respect to inline functions. Given that, and other possible jvm language conflicts, and given that the benefit of ijar is more for built-from-source artifacts, bazel_maven_repository simply imports the maven-hosted jars with ijar disabled, so the raw jar is used in compilation. This is a near-term workaround for bazelbuild/bazel#4549, and better approaches may be used once ijar is more aware of other jvm languages' needs.

rules_kotlin and maven integration paths

[rules_kotlin] currently break when running in full sandbox mode (without the kotlin compilation worker). Specifically, it misinterprets paths in the sandbox. Therefore, if using [rules_kotlin] it is crucial to include --strategy=KotlinCompile=worker either on the command-line, or in the project's .bazelrc or your personal .bazelrc. Otherwise, the annotation processor will fail to find the jar contents for annotation processors such as Dagger 2 or AutoValue or AutoFactory.


License Copyright 2018 Square, Inc.

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.

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