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From "Steve Loughran" <>
Subject Re: question and idea.
Date Sun, 17 Feb 2002 03:07:47 GMT

----- Original Message -----
From: "Erik Hatcher" <>
To: "Ant Developers List" <>;
Sent: Saturday, February 16, 2002 3:36 PM
Subject: Re: question and idea.

> I actually think you're on to something here.  I don't know if there are
> technical constraints that would prevent you from firing SAX events into
> or not, but if you can do so then you've decoupled Ant from filesystem
> build.xml.  I'd suspect that it'd be quite difficult to read a makefile
> fire it into Ant in some reasonable way though.

sax events are a reasonable way to represent pre-chewed XML, so could be
used as a processing chain to give something a chance to look at the XML
before ant starting making tasks out of it.

I dont think anyone should roll their own alternative to XML, just to make
things 'easier'. XML is an ugly language, Xml schemas just 'kin bizarre in
places where the document faction gained control over the OO faction. And
namespaces, wonderful as they are, are wierd too and some people (hint: MS)
impose their own interpretation on default namespaces which may make sense
but are incompatible with anyone else. And what niggles me the most, you
cant include binary content, even CDATA has its limits. If it'd had the
ability to declare a run length of 'dont parse' binary data then many things
would be much easier.

But its a standard. It has interop with other systems, and other tools. You
can edit build files in any XML editor, you can save the files in SCM, and
once you know how to read and write XML, you can read and write anyone elses
(exception, complex machine generated tat like Word in XML, Soap1.1
messages, etc). The parsers are all written, which makes life a lot simpler.

Also, it is quite clearly a tree structure ideal for config files; there is
even a jakarta commons project to make reading such config files a reusable
component in your code. With a unified format for these files it is easier
to autogenerate the files from other build processes, which is the kind of
thing we like.

If people want to roll something different, look at RDF and consider how you
could do a build system in that declarative-clause-syntax-atop-xml kind of


(disclaimer, friends have been on the XSD /RDF working groups, acquaintance
on the W3C technical committee, clearly I am biased :)

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