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From Stefan Bodewig <>
Subject Re: Whoa Bessie... Was -- Re: [Proposal] AntFarm
Date Mon, 18 Dec 2000 10:49:28 GMT
James Duncan Davidson <> wrote:

> On 12/15/00 5:25 PM, "Peter Donald" <> wrote:
>> you may have noticed I just checked in a proposal AntFarm. It was
>> developed by Matt Foemmel <> and is a
>> different approach to both other proposals.
> Ok, so that makes how many?

I'm concerned about the number of proposed revolutions myself, but for
a different - pragmatic - reason. When should anybody read all the
code and when do we want to come a conclusion.

I'll be leaving for two weeks of vacation on Wednesday, and even if
there should be a computer in reach somewhere, I'm sure my family
would rather kill me than let me touch it.

Maybe the problem is not the mechanism of the proposed revolutions but
that any(!) proposed revolution for Ant came at the wrong time -
sorry. We - the Ant community - have been quite clear that we wanted
an Ant 2, that would be radically different from what we had so far,
by the time we released Ant 1.2. Maybe it would have been better to
get a clear vision of the feature set we require from Ant 2, formalize
that and then maybe let different implementations compete - this is
what I tried to start when you announced AntEater, but then I consider
myself more of an Evolutionary.

> I came up with Ant. [...]

Believe me, nobody is trying to take that away from you. Not the idea
of Ant in the first place, not the code that gave live to Ant and so
on. I think everybody here is aware of the fact that Ant is your baby.

But I'm not sure what you want to say here, see below.

> Over the last year, Ant has been in relative chaos -- every build
> has added features, but those features are not really in sync with
> Ant. Ant has gotten bigger and less focused. And features have
> changed between releases. Sometimes being added, sometimes being
> removed.

Here we disagree. Ant has been in a flow - I agree - but we all knew
we needed a bigger step and that should be Ant2. I didn't perceive
chaos and I didn't miss a dictator, benevolent or not.

Apart from the "search for the buildfile" feature that was on by
default and will be off by default in the next version of Ant 1.x, I
can't remember any feature that has been added and then removed
later on.

> But I still feel a strong sense of ownership of Ant.  And a strong
> desire to make it into what it should have been to begin with.

In a way I feel a sense of ownership of the chaos you have seen. And a
strong desire to make sure that we don't fall behind what we've
already achieved yet. Advanced data structures like <path> and
<fileset> have proven to be very useful for example.

> I respect the other proposals for ways of having a different take on
> what a Java based build system should be.. Especially Mymidon where
> Peter is coming at the problem from a whole different angle. But,
> it's not Ant imho. It's quite a bit different.

I agree that Pete's proposal may be shooting for a different
goal. Personally I tend to prefer AntEater at the moment for two

(1) Avalon is great and can do a lot of things for each and every type
of software but it is doing too much. As much as we build our own
object system instead of using DOM, Ant will be better suited with a
specialized Ant version of a representation of task until they get
executed and so on.

(2) The architectural difference between AntEater and Ant 1.x is not
that big, so it appeals the Evolutionary in me.

But note that "because AntEater is Duncan's idea" is no issue here.

Like I said, I'm not sure what you are trying to say. "If you don't
chose AntEater, don't call it Ant", "If you don't chose AntEater, I'll
fork it of myself", "If you prefer another proposal, go somewhere else
and give it a new name"?

I'm not yet ready to break the Ant community into parts and don't
think we've come to the point where it was necessary to do so just
because there is more than one idea how to reach a common goal.


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