Building PLC4X

PLC4X is built with Apache Maven and we have tried to make the build as simple as possible.

However PLC4X aims at providing means to communicate with PLCs of multiple vendors using a shared API but also in a variety of different languages.

We have partitioned the build to allow selecting the parts that are of interest. This is done by selecting so-called Maven profiles. More about these later down in this manual.

For your convenience we also have provided a Maven-Wrapper, that should allow building of PLC4X with only Java 11 or greater as requirement.


The only requirements to building PLC4X should be:

  • Java 11 JDK (or newer)

  • Git (Even if you are building the source distribution, the Kafka plugin seems to require a git executable being available on the systems PATH)

  • Apache Maven (3.6.0 or newer) (Optional) (See next chapter)

Using the Maven-Wrapper

The so-called Maven-Wrapper is used by calling the Maven-Wrapper scripts mvnw (Mac & Linux) or mvnw.cmd (Windows) instead of the default Maven commands mvn and mvn.cmd.

These helpers ensure Maven is available in at least the version defined in .mvn/ If no suitable version can be found, it is automatically downloaded and installed alongside the project (So it doesn’t have to be downloaded every time and every project can have it’s own Maven version)

After the script has ensured a suitable Maven version is available, this is used and all arguments and parameters are transparently forwarded to this. So simply adding the additional w to each of the Maven commands, there should be no difference to using a pre-installed Maven version.

Using Maven

This document can’t provide you with all the details needed to get started with Maven itself. But there is a lot of good documentation out there.

Justin McLean and Christofer Dutz even recorded a not quite 2 hour Maven training Video some time ago for another Apache project.

It should handle all the details needed to get a general understanding of Maven and how it works.

Recording of a Maven Training for Apache Flex from 2016

Building PLC4X with Maven

In general all modules which are not considered production-ready are located in the sandbox section of the project.

They are not built per default and are enabled by enabling the with-sandbox Maven profile.

As especially building the C++, and C# drivers requires building of some third party artifacts and increases build-time dramatically and requires setting up some additional third party tools, we have excluded these parts form the default Maven build.

The following profiles are available (They have to be enabled additionally to the with-sandbox profile):

  • with-c: Builds all C related modules, integrations and examples

  • with-dotnet: Builds all C# and .Net related modules, integrations and examples

  • with-go: Builds all Go related modules, integrations and examples

  • with-python: Builds all Python related modules, integrations and examples (Also requires with-sandbox)

  • with-sandbox: Builds the modules which are not yet considered stable enough to become part of the main distribution

As these profiles typically require some preparation and setup on your development machine, please read the Preparing your Computer guide for a detailed description on this.

Beyond that there is an additional profile with-proxies which will enable additional modules in each of the activated languages. This proxies module, uses Apache Thrift to generate modules for forwarding requests to an interop server which runs somewhere else or on the same machine.

Currently when enabling the with-python module, you are required to also enable the with-proxies profile too as this is currently required there but will probably change in the near future.

There are 3 more profiles that allow you to activate additional modules or functionality:

  • with-docker : Some modules also provide the means to build Docker images. By enabling this profile these images are automatically built too

  • with-boost : Builds a C/C` Library used by both the `Apache Thrift` build as well as the `C drivers. Unfortunately this is an extremely intense build so we have setup the PLC4X build to only require this profile to be activated once. If the resulting artifacts are installed in your Maven-Local-Repo, these will be re-used.

The minimum Apache PLC4X build will build only the Java modules without any experimental modules:

mvn install

If you want to skip the running of tests (even if this is not encouraged) you can skip them all together.

mvn install -DskipTests

All Apache PLC4X modules are built by executing the following command:

mvn -P with-c,with-dotnet,with-go,with-python,with-sandbox install

This not only builds the artifacts and creates the jar files, but also runs all unit- and integration-tests.

If you want to skip the running of tests (even if this is not encouraged) you can skip them all together.

mvn -P with-c,with-dotnet,with-go,with-python,with-sandbox install -DskipTests

This will not skip the compilation of tests, however.

Building the PLC4X Website with Maven

The PLC4X Website is also part of the same GIT repository that contains the code and it is built by Maven as well.

In order to build the website the following command should be sufficient:

mvn site

This is just a quick-start version of the site generation, for a fully detailed documentation please read the Website documentation page.

Some special Maven profiles

Maven supports so-called profiles for customizing the build in special cases. We have tried to keep the number of profiles as low as possible. So far there is only one profile.

apache-release profile

This profile is automatically enabled on a release-build and it automatically creates some additional artifacts:

  • JavaDoc artifact

  • Sources artifact

  • Source distribution assembly

  • SHA512 checksum files for every artifact

  • PGP signature files for every artifact

Generally it is not required to enable ths profile unless you are interested in these Artifacts.

debug-pom profile

Especially for Maven beginners, it might be difficult to understand why a module builds the way it does. Maven contains a lot of concepts to inherit and override settings.

The debug-pom profile will generate the so-called effective pom in the modules target directory.

This file contains 100% of the settings Maven uses to execute. All settings are inherited and overridden. All Properties are expanded to the value Maven uses.

So whenever Maven doesn’t behave the way you expect it to, just enable this profile and it should help you find out, what’s going on.

development profile

This profile enables some extra strict enforcer rules. It is encouraged to activate this profile during development.

In the CI Build this profile is enabled.

skip-prerequisite-check profile

Some times, actually only on the build-server we have encountered random failures of the prerequisite check build step.

In order to still be able to build in this case, activating this profile simply disables these checks.

Use the compiled library with Gradle

Compiling the library as explained here add the new version in the local Maven repository (i.e. usually under ~/.m2/repository on linux like systems), if you would like to use Gradle as Build Tool for your project you have just to use a local repository in your Gradle build.gradle file.

Here there’s an example:

repositories {

dependencies {
    implementation group: 'org.apache.plc4x', name: 'plc4j-api', version: '0.8.0-SNAPSHOT'
    implementation group: 'org.apache.plc4x', name: 'plc4j-driver-s7', version: '0.8.0-SNAPSHOT'
    implementation group: 'org.apache.plc4x', name: 'plc4j-connection-pool', version: '0.8.0-SNAPSHOT'