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exporting complete WAR bundle after build in M2/eclipse wtp project

 
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Hi guys : Im using eclipse 3.5 with the M2 plug in, and I have the Maven build preference set to WAR.

Everything works great, and Im ready to deploy my web app to a production server, and Im realizing that its
probably a good time to learn HOW exactly the M2 plugin is interacting with the WTP portion of Eclipse J2EE project, version 3.5 .

so.... drumroll......... My question is :

How does Eclipse WTP leverage the maven M2 plugin ? That is, I know that SOMEHOW, eclipse is managing to compile my
class files, and that those files are able to access maven jars in my .m2 directory, and that ultimately, a functional web project
is being expoerted to tomcat.....

But is Maven REALLY exporting a WAR file and doing the build for me ? Or does the M2 maven plugin simply "help" eclipse to manage dependencies ?

I know these are complex questions, but any *hints* as to how a M2 plugin and WTP J2EE projects are normally related would be much appreciated !!!

The part that is particularly confusing is that M2 has a package as "war" option that is enabled..... I dont see why this is necessary if all maven is doing is managing dependencies....
Which leads me to assume that, maybe ---gasp---- maven , not eclipse, is building my project by some magic in the M2 plugin !?

 
Don't get me started about those stupid light bulbs.
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