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From "Jose Alberto Fernandez" <>
Subject Re: [Ant2] Tasks as siblings of <target>
Date Sat, 20 Oct 2001 02:34:00 GMT
From: "Peter Donald" <>

> On Sat, 20 Oct 2001 00:00, Jose Alberto Fernandez wrote:
> > From: "Stefan Bodewig" <>
> >
> > > On Fri, 19 Oct 2001, Peter Donald <> wrote:
> > > > However before we edecide on this we first need to discuss scoping
> > > > of properties because this will have a direct impact on our
> > > > structure.
> > >
> > > True, we can try that in parallel ...
> >
> > Although I do not a problem with discussing scoping in parallel, I see no
> > need to mix this two issues. <property> is not the only thing that can be
> > declared outside targets today.
> That is only because of limitations of ant engine in current form. In the 
> future I can not see the need for *def to be outside targets. <*def> will be 
> relegated to people who want to build types inside their build file and then 
> imediately use them.

Well, datatype instances are not properties (at least not in ANT1). Yes you can say
that in ANT2 they will be. I could also say that <target> declarations can be processed
by an ANT task (a quite simple thing to do). The worst thing you can do to a language 
is to design it by trying to control all possible user patterns and pick and choose from there.
All successful languages are based on a small set of orthogonal principles that are applied
across the board. Java is a primary example of it.

> > As ANT gets wider use, others will appear.
> Actually I can see it shrinking ... well except for addition of <if/> if that 
> ever gets allowed ;)
> > The success and flexibility of any artificial language (and ANT is a
> > language) depends on the orthogonality of the concepts it has, the least
> > special cases the best. We need to apply well knows language design
> > principles to ANT.
> Success of a language depends on a number of factors; expressability, 
> simplicity and verbosity being key players. And it is also relatively 
> domain/user specific. Compare perl programmers and VB programmers and java 
> programmers. Each language has different strengths and weaknesses and tend to 
> draw different sorts of peeps. We should be catering for the java style 
> mentality (ie focus on simplicity and verbostiy) because thats our main 
> audience.
Orthogonality is one of the mayor design features of succesful languages. 
In the particular case of Java which is our taget audience, most features of the language
expresses in the language itself. They do not use some secret API not available to
user defined code. The String, Class, IO libraries, etc. Are written in Java and use just
same stuff available to user code. To define features that are not expressible or usable 
on user difine code is to 

This same applies to ANT.

Jose Alberto

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