mcs (Maven Central Search)

Maven Central Search, or mcs for short, is a small CLI to query Maven Central from your command line. No more switching to the web browser! Now you can easily query Maven Central and find the library you’re looking for.


mcs supports the following modes of searching:

  1. Wildcard search
    mcs search picocli
    This will give you all artifacts in Maven Central that have “picocli” in their name. The output is in a tabular form, showing the exact coordinate of each artifact and the moment when its latest version was deployed.
  2. Coordinate search
    mcs search info:picocli
    mcs search info:picocli:4.6.2
    If there are multiple hits, you will get the same table output as above. But if there’s only one hit, this will give you by default a pom.xml snippet for the artifact you searched for. Ready for copy & paste in your favourite IDE!
    If you require snippet in different format, use -f <type> or --format=<type>. Supported types are: maven, gradle, gradle-short, gradle-kotlin, sbt, ivy, grape, leiningen, buildr.
  3. Class-name search
    mcs class-search CommandLine
    mcs class-search -f picocli.CommandLine
    This will give you all artifacts in Maven Central that contain a particular class. If you set the -f flag, the search term is considered a “fully classified” class name, so including the package name.


Getting mcs

You can install mcs using the package manager of your choice:

Package managerPlatformInstallationRemarks
Homebrew🍎 🐧brew install mthmulders/tap/mcs⚠️ 1
Snap🐧snap install maven-central-search
SDKMAN!🍎 🐧sdk install mcs
Chocolatey🪟choco install mcs
  1. The Linux binaries only work on x86_64 CPU’s. There Apple binaries for both x86_64 and Apple Silicon, so you don’t need Rosetta.

Alternatively, you can browse the code on GitHub.


mcs started out as a small pet project to experiment with picocli. I choose Java 17 so I could gain some experience with the latest additions to the Java programming language. Later, I’ve added GraalVM for building native images rather than JAR distributions.

Usage with custom trust store

In certain situations, such as when you work behind a TLS-intercepting (corporate) firewall, MCS may fail with

PKIX path building failed: unable to find valid certification path to requested target

In layman’s speak: the default, built-in trust store (the set of trusted X.509 certificates) does not contain anything that allows to trust the certificate(s) presented by the server. Maven Central uses a certificate that would’ve been trusted, but the culprit here is the TLS-intercepting (corporate) firewall that presents an internal certificate.

The solution is to create a trust store that has the “highest” certificate in the certificate chain, e.g. that of the (internal) certificate authority. You can use a tool like Portecle to create such a trust store. Next, point MCS to that trust store like so

mcs search something

Configuring MCS

Some configuration for MCS is passed through system properties. You can do this every time you invoke MCS by adding -Dxxx=yyy. To make it more conveniently, you can create a configuration file that will automatically be read by MCS and interpreted as configuration settings.

To do so, create a directory .mcs in your user directory (typically C:\Users<your-user-name> on 🪟, /home/ on 🐧 or /Users/ on 🍎). Inside that folder, create a file mcs.config and write the following line in it:

This way, you don’t have to remember passing the -D.


Probably the easiest way to get a working development environment is to use Gitpod:

Open in Gitpod

It will configure a workspace in your browser and show that everything works as expected by running mvn verify. This setup does not touch your computer - as soon as you close your browser tab, it’s gone.

Checkout the issues if you’re looking for something to work on. If you have a new idea, feel free to bring it up using the discussions.