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From Diane Holt <>
Subject The two views of Ant's future direction (RE: Parameterized "task-function")
Date Mon, 15 Jan 2001 19:12:01 GMT
In reading through all the mail regarding "Ant is/should-be a scripting
language" vs. "No it's not and never was and never will be", I've been
wondering if there's any room for compromise. I'm wondering if we could
have the true-to-the-nonscripting-purists' vision of Ant as Basic Ant,
then have the scripting-capabilities as extensions to that. Would it need
another name? I don't know (but 'extant' comes to mind). Would it need to
be a separate project? I don't know (clearly, 'extant' would be dependent
on 'ant'). Should Ant2 allow for the possibility of being extended to
include the types of tasks such as <if>, <for>, <case>? I think so.

I've finally had a chance to look at the examples Roger Vaughn posted that
use XSLT (and I really do appreciate your having done that, Roger -- thank
you) -- and I can now say, I have to agree with those people who have said
yuck to using it. I know I said I prefer having a separate
"task-definitions" (or "templates", "rules", whatever) file, so that the
build-files themselves could potentially be simplified, but, now that I've
had a chance to see how the XSLT/XML stuff would be put together, I have
to say that's not what I had in mind. What I'd actually prefer is to have
the task-definitions file(s) be in XML, and the build-files be plain text
-- but I don't expect to actually have that happen, since it would mean
writing a parser for the plain-text files. As a compromise, I'd be willing
to see the majority of the complicated XML stuff in definition file(s),
and only the minimum amount of XML in the build-files. And it seems to me
that the only really workable way to even have that happen is to allow
(for those of us who even want/need to use Ant that way, since not
everyone would) for the types of "scripting" capabilities that Jason,
James, and yes, myself (and others) have asked for. For simple projects,
basic Ant would be all that would be needed -- but for large, complex
build systems, Extended Ant could be used.

Would this approach work? I don't know -- but it sure seems like the
current Is-so/Is-not approach isn't really getting us anywhere useful.



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