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What is Pill?

Pill is a software build system that relieves the pain caused by Make, Ant and Maven. In contrast with these systems:

  • Pill uses an imperative execution model. You control what executes, in what order.
  • Scripts are written in Java. This makes it easy to learn and extend.
  • Pill keeps its opinions to itself. Contrast this with Maven, where you are in for a world of pain unless you adhere to "The Maven Way".

What works?

  • Scripts for building Pill itself.
  • Basic unit tests.

Current work

  • Querying/downloading Maven artifacts from any Maven repository.
  • Build script for a sample project.

Future work

  • Ability to download dependencies from arbitrary locations (e.g. Sourceforge, Google Code).
  • Ability to deploy to Maven Central.
  • Transitive dependency resolution.
  • IDE plugins for Netbeans and Eclipse.


  • A declarative project model. It is our belief that declarative formats, such as XML, are meant for computer consumption, not for human beings. You are certainly welcome to layer a declarative format on top of Pill, but we don't go out of our way to provide one.
  • Following the herd. We avoid technologies that suffer from conceptual problems (e.g. ORM Impedence Mismatch) regardless of how popular they might be. In our experience, this leads to a simpler design and cleaner code.

How can I help?