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From Stefano Mazzocchi <stef...@apache.org>
Subject Re: I want to become an Ant developer
Date Fri, 31 Mar 2000 09:10:36 GMT
Timo Koepke wrote:
> 
> Hi there,
> 
> my name is Timo, and I want to become an Ant developer.

<IMHO>not a great start: "want to become" sounds like an order.</IMHO>

> My experience with computers, programming, languages and
> software developement goes very deep (IMO). A tool like
> Ant was *exactly* what I was looking for, and I greatly
> appreciate your work.
> However, some improvements to Ant could be made:
> 
> -(logical) include mechanism. That is, inherit targets from
>  parent projects and execute them, rather than just inheriting
>  project properties.

-1 

already present thru the use of external entities. In the future, the
parser will support XInclude and you'll get it for free from the XML
world.

> -conditional execution of targets (based on values of properties)

already present
 
> -computed property values (the syntax classpath="${classpath}"
>  is a good starting point)

what do you mean?
 
> -changing the current directory on invoking sub-Ants (for example,
>  to prevent clobbering of output files given to the Exec task)

hmmmm, one might want all the output in the same directory. -0 to this
 
> -support for additional languages like scheme inside Ant
>  (could use Kawa, me myself wrote a properly tail recursive,
>  full call/cc capable scheme compiler [in Java/JavaCC])

oh god... do we really need this? I still don't like the ability to
include scripting... are we going to add every possible programming
language inside build files?

Remember this: make started small and beautiful. It became a monster
after people wanted to add this and that and go from 1 to n in every
possible circumstance. I call this "flexibility syndrome" and it's the
most dangerous anti-pattern in software development I know.
 
> -improvements to the DirectoryScanner to fully support regular
> expressions

Hmmmm, I still don't like the idea of regexp support in Ant. My personal
opinion and experience? if you need regexp power to build java programs,
there is something wrong with your file structure.
 
> -template processor (that is, automated generation of build.xml files
> from
>  an even higher level of abstraction, automatic detection of module
>  subdirectories etc.)

-1

well built XML files are _portable_ from project to project with just a
few lines of changes. I was able to compile JServ with my Cocoon
build.xml file changing two lines: where the source files were and what
packages to compile.

> -deduction of tasks based on file types (not just .java => .class,
>  but also .jjt => .jj, .jj => .java, .pizza => .java, and so on)

+0 for this
 
> -perhaps validation of build.xml files

You mean creating a DTD/Xschema for Ant? Well, I don't have anything
against this, but it needs _costant_ update and it's very easy to make
it fall behind.

But I agree that validation is a good thing.

-- 
Stefano Mazzocchi      One must still have chaos in oneself to be
                          able to give birth to a dancing star.
<stefano@apache.org>                             Friedrich Nietzsche
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