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From Louis Tribble <>
Subject Role of scripts [was Re: increment task]
Date Wed, 25 Oct 2000 21:07:03 GMT
Patrick Beard wrote:
> >Below is a simple task that increments a numeric property in a java property
> >file.
> This does seem like a perfect task that could be defined using a
> script, such as a JavaScript that uses a Properties object, reads a
> properties file, increments a value, and then writes it back out in a
> file.
> Let's make script tasks a priority.

My 2 cents: script tasks are great; but I would hate to see support for 
common build needs pushed out of Ant just because a script task can do 
it. If common build setups require using scripts, then two of Ant's 
major strengths, simplicity of _use_ and portability, have been 

Simplicity of use*, because if the build instructions for typical 
projects begin with "install Ant _and_ scripting app XYZ", even 
installing isn't so simple. Needing to learn yet another language just 
to understand the build file makes it even less simple. I'd really 
rather go read a real Ant task: I already know Java.

Portability, because a build file that requires scripting is only as
portable as the scripting application. 

I'd argue that projects that really want the simplicity and 
portability benefits of Ant should not use scripting. If they
need something that Ant doesn't support, they should provide
an appropriate Ant task. For common requirements, it would be
a shame not to provide a standard task, or at least a standard
"optional" task. 

On a slightly different tangent, it has occurred to me while 
watching the "case" task debate that if enough people need an 
"optional" task, it will become a de facto standard.

Louis Tribble

* "Simplicity of use" is not necessarily the same as "simplicity of 
Ant"! With respect to the above points, Ant could win the simplicity 
battle but lose the war.

P.S. Kudos to those who have stepped forward to pick up the slack in
the last few months. Regardless of the particulars of these issues,
Ant is a great tool.

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