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From "Rosen, Alex" <aro...@silverstream.com>
Subject Ant 2.0 proposed requirements
Date Fri, 09 Mar 2001 20:22:13 GMT
[Suggetions 1 and 2 are related to integrating Ant with other packages, e.g.
IDEs.]

(1) Ant should be cancellable. It should respond gracefully to cancel requests,
when running in a background thread. As explained in
http://gee.cs.oswego.edu/dl/cpj/cancel.html, the only really good way to cancel
something running in a thread is for it to periodically check for cancel
messages. Ant should do this.

(2) Key methods which provide base services should be publicly accessible. For
example, the pattern-matching methods of DirectoryScanner are currently not
easily accessible to outside code. If you wanted to, for example, build a
TreeModel that displays the contents of an Ant fileset, you need to be able to
access these methods.

(3) The default output should be clear, informative, and terse. A new build
that completes successfully should output a small number of lines; a build that
is already up-to-date should output even less. The default output should be
easily parsable by the most common editors, so the user can jump to the problem
line. A build failure should visually be very distinguishable from a successful
build, so it's easy to tell at a glance whether the build failed or not.
(Specific suggestions/pet peeves: Save all-uppercase messages for build
failures. It should not say "Compiling 183 files" when in fact all these files
are up-to-date, so no files will actually be compiled.)

[Trying to be as non-controversial as possible here...]

(4) Ant should provide enough support that a scripting language can be
implemented as a task. These scripts should be able to easily call through to
other tasks to perform the actual work. This should include support for
XML-based scripts. I think this means, among other things, that a task will
need to be able to get at its XML (i.e. the portion of the build file that
describes it).

(5) It would be nice if there were a semi-standard XML-based scripting language
for use with Ant (but not part of Ant core). This is because many people seem
to want to write Ant files with XML-based scripts in them (as evidenced by the
many posts to this list), and if people are going to be doing this, they might
as well be using a common language. This scripting language (task) might be
special in that it is bundled with the core Ant (the code, doc, and samples),
or it might simply be referenced in the doc. Hopefully it can be something
that's not invented here, but if nothing suitable exists it could be
Ant-specific. (Of course, anyone can write a task to use any language they want
at any time.)

Thanks!
Alex Rosen
SilverStream Software

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