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From cos...@eng.sun.com
Subject Re: What flavour of scripting?
Date Thu, 02 Mar 2000 04:53:30 GMT
> Now that Ant supports conditional compilation, expect to see BSF an
> optional part of several Apache projects.  And several Apache projects as
> option plugins to BSF (example: make no mistake about it, Ant is a
> scripting language.  If you have any doubt, take one look at
> tomcat-test.xml).

Sam - almost everything can be turned into a scripting language. You can
write scripts in the boot prompt of some computers ( Forth ). You can
write scripts in Postscript ( and it's not a very bad language, it has
some nice features).  XML looks like a different aproach from this
"everything is a program" world, but of course it's easy to turn XML into
a PL.

Since you mentioned tomcat-test.xml: you can look at it as a script that
will call a number of sub-routines, each doing a request and comparing
the response. 

I see it as a decription of test requests and expected responses. You can
write a Perl program that reads the XML and uses LWP to test tomcat. Or it
may be a C program. 

Same is true ( IMHO ) for ant. The _intention_ is to describe the build
process. It doesn't even require java - you can write a Perl driver or
convert it into a real makefile.

One of the first things I wanted to do with ant was to write a XSL that
will generate a nice makefile out of it.   In fact I spent few hours in
emacs replacing regexp until I got a good Makefile to build tomcat ( and
it was faster on my linux - it had only jdk1.1.7, and make+jikes were much
better ).

My point is that it is still posible to use the antfile as a description -
what has to be done to  build this project. It doesn't say how ( of
course, you will say that it does - it's a sequnce of calls to execute()
in tasks). 

I think the main value of ant is in describing the individual tasks that
are needed to build a project. 

I have worked a bit with Make and I even like it - but IMHO what went
wrong was the fact that it turned into a scripting language, with tons of
ifdefs and macros. The original idea was great - and the same as in ant.

Don't think that by using XML you'll create a perfect scripting
language. XSL is one of the best examples - it is XML but still ...  

Costin





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