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When Maven Dependency Plugin Lies

Updated: Jun 17, 2018

We had an integration test which creates a spring ClassPathXmlApplicationContext and while doing so the test blew up with a NoSuchMethodError. It turned out that we had conflicting versions of dependencies on Spring artifacts. This in itself is not an unusual problem – such problems are addressed with the maven dependency plugin using the verbose option. However, what do you do when the maven plugin is wrong?

Investigation: We started to dig in and we found that the AbstractAutowireCapableBeanFactory in its getTypeForFactoryMethod method tries to access the GenericTypeResolver resolveReturnTypeForGeneric method and fails on a java.lang.NoSuchMethodError: org.springframework.core.GenericTypeResolver.resolveReturnTypeForGenericMethod(Ljava/lang/reflect/Method;.

Initial investigation and googling we found that the method was added in 3.2.0 while we’re supposed to be running with 3.1.1.

Further investigation determined that spring-data-mongodb depends on spring framework in range 1 and because maven takes the latest available version given that range 2 it tried to take 3.2.2.

Note that the above changes a bit given a conflict between an explicit version dependency and a range dependency but, IINM, when determining the dependencies of spring mongo there is no conflict.

The problem was further masked by two symptoms:

  1. We have other projects that use this pattern and have no problem- This was explained by the fact that the conflict-resolving mechanism of maven chooses the nearest version it finds by default 3 and since all other projects which need spring-data-mongodb depend on this project they were lucky enough to grab the 3.1.1 version and not 3.2.2

  2. dependency:tree shows it brings 3.1.1 while bringing 3.2.2- Since the stack trace showed other results I wrote a test which checks from which jar each of the above classes comes from and verified that indeed the AbstractAutowireCapableBeanFactory class arrives from spring-beans 3.2.2 and not 3.1.1 as “mvn dependency:tree” showed (a big thanks to for the code snippet of finding the jar of a class in runtime).

Maven dependency:tree output showing spring-beans:3.1.1 is used in the artifact

Depend on spring-data-mongodb while excluding spring-beans like so:

Update: Thanks to @Samuel_Langlois we confirmed that the “open question mark” is indeed a Maven Dependency Plugin bug which was resolved in 2.5 and so using 2.7 and forward will show you the correct info.

1. 0.7-4) [1. ↩

2. ↩

3. ↩

This post was written by Ittai Zeidman

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