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From "Rosen, Alex" <>
Subject RE: Parameterized "task-function"
Date Mon, 15 Jan 2001 18:28:20 GMT
[Switching over to ant-dev again...]

Peter Donald wrote:
> Nope ants build.xml format is a declarative form for
> describing a build process.

One might even say a build "procedure" :)

Jason Rosenberg wrote:
> What I want is Ant without:
> <script>
> <antcall>
> and Ant with:
> <execute-task>
> <if/else>
> <while>
> <include>
> and the new features promised for Ant2.0 (resettable properties!)

This would be replacing several things that I find very confusing with several
things that I understand well. Sounds good to me. <script> sucks, <antcall>
sucks in its present form, <!ENTITY> sucks, and XSLT sucks, at least as applied
to build files. We're trying to avoid re-inventing the wheel, but I would
suggest that several of these features are actually more square than round, as
applied to Ant.

As I said before, I'm not wild about the idea of inventing our own
mini-scripting language. But I think Jason's system would be *by far* the
easiest to understand and use. Maybe I'm naive, and haven't thought things
through, but to me this would be a joy to use, whereas using XSLT would be a
confusing mess. I guess that's somewhat of an exageration - I'm sure once I got
my head around it, it wouldn't be too hard to use. But I think it would require
me to go "huh?" a lot.

When I first tried using Ant, I found it intuitive, and a joy to use. Then I
ran in to some of the limitations of the current Ant model, mostly related to
code/data/whatever reuse, and I came to see that Ant was intuitive because it
was overly simplified. It was great for the easy case, but not the hard case.
If we can solve the hard case and still keep it intuitive, I think that would
be fabulous. Maybe adding more scripting to the Ant file is another seductive
but ultimately unsuccessful idea. But I'd like to try that road first. I don't
think that anyone will think that an Ant that requires XSLT to do anything of
even medium complexity will ever be a joy to use.

Pete, I haven't quite figured out your take on XSLT for build files. Do you
think it's intuitive, or does it just suck less than the alternatives?

Does anyone have any experience with IBM's Bean Markup Language and/or Bean
Scripting Framework? Could they be useful here?


P.S. Pete, sorry for making you fight "battles" :) on two simultaneous fronts.

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