Maven defines pattern applications to achieve characteristics like maintainability, re-usability and visibility, whereas, ANT is just a toolbox.
When examining the higher structure of ANT script, it may not be possible to infer. But with Maven, understanding projects that are independent of each other is easy.
Ant vs Maven
|Formal Convention(project directory structure)||Instructions have to be given to the Ant about source location and output path.||Maven knows source code directory and byte code in classes and produces a JAR file in target.|
|Procedural||Ant is imperative and follows a procedure to perform tasks.||Maven is declarative. If pom.xml file is created and source file is saved in a default directory, Maven will take care of the remaining tasks.|
|Life Cycle||Goals and goal dependencies have to be defined.||Install command will execute the default plug-in goals like compile and creating jar.|
|Speed||Faster than Maven.||Slow.|
|Incremental Compilation Support||Compiles the sources that are modified.||Compiles all the sources.|
|Tool Type||Ant is a Build Tool.||Maven is a Project Management Tool.|
|Re-usability||Scripts are not re-usable||Plug-in builds are highly reusable.|
|Transitive Dependencies Support||Not possible.||Maintains dependencies of dependency.|
|Ideal use||Controlling build process is the ideal use.||Managing dependencies and building articrafts is the ideal use.|
|Complexity||Ant is Complex||Maven is less complex than Ant.|