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From "Robin Green" <>
Subject Re: How to convince our IT manager to allow ANT?
Date Tue, 11 Apr 2000 19:45:20 GMT wrote:
>I was able to easily do things that would have
>taken me a lot
>longer to write in make syntax and the build.xml files are much simpler to
>read and

Well there you go, that sounds like the killer argument to me!

>Yesterday, myself and one of our system architects tried to convince our IT
>manager to
>officially allow ANT for building java programs, and met with little
>The arguments were:
>1. Him: Ant doesn't do anything that make can't do.
>    Me:  Because make can call any shell command, there's really nothing 
>can't do
>         if you work at it hard enough.  My point is that Ant does things
>more elegantly.
>2. Him: Since Ant would only be used for java builds, we'd need to support 
>tools, Ant
>         for java and make for C++.  Therefore, higher support costs.
>    Me:  Ant is simpler than make, so it will not have as many problems
>requiring a
>         build expert as make will.

Exactly. Likely _lower_ support costs. Turning his argument on its head, why 
use a sledgehammer to crack a nut?

>  Also, it can be optional for java, so
>not every
>         developer needs to be trained to know Ant.
>3. Him: I thought javac already automatically detected dependencies and
>compiled all the
>         necessary files, which means your makefile would generally be
>trivial and not
>         require a sophisticated tool.

javac -depend was buggy, and the new javac doesn't have that feature at all. 
However, I'm told that jikes, which is open source C++, can do dependency 

Note that javac still does some degree of dependency checking (but it stops 
once it finds a file that hasn't changed, and only checks in one direction). 
But this isn't enough.

Even ant isn't perfect, because if B depends on A and you just change A, 
only A will be recompiled, even though B might now be broken. I'm not 
familiar with make - what would happen with make?

>    Me:  First, I've heard of problems with javac with big directories of
>files being
>         compiled.  Second, I don't think javac can autocompile needed
>classes which are
>         in different packages (which we use extensively).

I think it can, actually. You just need to set up the path options 

>4. Him: Make is standard, Ant is not, and may never become a widely used

Geez! How would any new product ever get off the ground if people always 
thought like that? :-) But if you win on the other grounds, this objection 
should crumble.

>         so what if it's not a standard?  As long as it's useful to us, it
>         matter if other companies are all using it.


>So, the question is:  "How do I convince a reluctant manager to see the
>value of Ant?"

I think you've said practically all you can. Some people just refuse to 
listen to reason.

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