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From "Jeff McAffer/OTT/OTI" <>
Subject Eclipse Ant integration
Date Thu, 23 Aug 2001 19:38:57 GMT
Hello, Jeff McAffer here.  I've been lurking for a while on and off and
thought I would surface to talk about Eclipse and Ant.  I'm the one
responsible for the Ant integration in Eclipse.  First let me say that Ant
is great.  Thanks to all of you for putting it together.  It is the answer
to a question that has been bothering us (everyone) for a while.  Second, I
want to say up front that the Ant integration in Eclipse is not perfect.
There are lots of little quirks/problems.  The good news is that we are
actively working on making it better.  It is, I believe, key to our

The brings me to my main question:  In doing the Ant integration there were
we hit small but significant stumbling blocks.  The general theme to the
issues we encountered was difficulty plugging in different functionality.
I'll list a few here to give you the idea:

- pattern sets use ' ' (space) in the tokenization.  This just killed our
automated build mechanism.  We wanted to be able to create a comma
separated list of files to operate on and then pass this to some other ant
script.  The second ant script happened to want to create a patternset as
part of a (for example) <copy>.  Of course, our file names have spaces in
the names and this did not work.  While this problem is somewhat
superficial, when we tried to supply an implementation of PatternSet which
did what we wanted we found that it was not very pluggable and it was
nearly impossible.

- Replacing the Project class.  On the surface it looks like one could
supply their own implementation of the Project class.  In fact this largely
works but there are subtle issues.  The code for datatype instantiation
looks something like
     DataTypeClass.getConstructor (new Class[] {project.getClass()});
Unfortunately, the current project is an instance of EclipseProject and its
unlikely that there are any datatypes which implement such a constructor.
Changing the code as follows would fix the problem
     DataTypeClass.getConstructor (new Class[] {Project.class});

- A further issue in replacing the Project class is found in the <ant>
task.  It creates a new instance of Project.class rather than
project.getClass().  Interestingly the reverse problem to the one above...

Anyway, my goal here is not to report bugs/problems but to figure out the
best way to ensure these sorts of problems get addressed and we end up with
first class integration of Ant into Eclipse.  To this end, we'd like to
help as much as we can or encourage others to help.  I'm soliciting
suggestions as to the best way to do this and fit into your community

Thanks again for creating Ant.  Hopefully some of you will find that
Eclipse is solving some of your problems...


p.s., If you like the icons we use in Eclipse, I will look into
contributing them to the Ant project.

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