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From cos...@eng.sun.com
Subject Re: XML Entities (was: What flavour of scripting?)
Date Sat, 04 Mar 2000 19:51:51 GMT

> One potential area of confusion is starting to dawn on me - in most
> programming languages, while constants and variables may be defined
> separately, they tend to be referenced with an identical syntax.  Now that
> you are talking about how this will be implemented, I am starting to get
> the impression that this will not be the case with Ant.

I was thinking of CPP-like #define. Entities are replaced by a
preprocessor ( XML needs to do that ). 

I think we shouldn't use the same syntax - for entities ( or pre-processed
constants) it's better to make clear that they have different evaluation
rules. 

There are too many differences between constants and variables in our case
- ant there are 2 different "languages" and semantics - entities ( and the
current properties) are evaluated/replaced before executing ( at
translation time ), while variables as you need/want are a runtime
problem.


Of course, we still disagree strongly on the runtime role and power - i.e.
the fact that the runtime will do the magic of replacing variables before
a task is executed, etc. That's ok as long as variables are used only for
programming ( or inter-task communication ) - and most build files will be
variable-free ( which is very easy for most 'clasic' buildsfiles -
current properties are pre-processed constants, not variables ). 

I don't know if I explain this clearly... 

> I would gladly volunteer to write this and have it ready for us to discuss
> at ApacheCon - if I felt that I understood the desired semantics better.

At least we can understand each other at apacheCon, and make the
prototype(s) later. 

Costin


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