related discussion: http://incubator.markmail.org/thread/alcyqagktiogewmf
maven-webapp-plugin introduces the packaging "nar" (same file extension), which creates a plain zip file containing all files from src/main/webapp (with plexus default excludes) + all referenced dlls. Doesn't seem to have any support for GAC references.
1) We have no integration tests.
2) There are no unit tests.
So I'd suggest to deprecate both the type and the plugin in NPanday 1.5.0-incubating. If not, we should unify the way dependencies are 'injected'.
I'd probably deprecate aspx and remove NAR (I doubt it is in use for the reasons you gave). Whether the precompile goal moves over depends on the answer to the above. From below, I see you have things that will supersede the copy-dependencies and package goals from that plugin.