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From Stefan Bodewig <>
Subject Re: [PATCH] adds 'if'/'unless' to <antcall> (
Date Tue, 26 Nov 2002 08:28:04 GMT
On Mon, 25 Nov 2002, Thierry Lach <>

> Is there any problem with adding the 'if' and 'unless' handling to
> thereby giving the capability to every
> single task rather than continuing to add it to each task
> individually?

A little bit of Ant history:

People have been proposing to add if/unless to some tasks every now
and then.  My take has been "either all tasks or no tasks" - so most
of the time I have been against adding these attributes (and am
against adding them to <antcall> for just that reason).  Some Ant
committers have been against "all tasks" and so we kept the "no tasks"

I changed my mind for <fail> as this task looked so much more useful
with these attributes - people convinced me, this is possible 8-)

In the case of <antcall> I pretty much doubt it would be too useful as
you could always add the if/unless attributes to the target you intend
to call.  Granted, you'd save the memory hit of reparsing the build
file when you could know that it won't do anything, but that's pretty
much all, no?

The main reason against "all tasks" is that people would immediately
start to overuse it and create incredibly complex build files that
most of the time could have been written cleaner without those

Most newby Ant users need to grasp some of Ant's concepts before they
can write good build files.  They start using Ant with a mind full of
make concepts or scripting languages, which inevitably will lead to
scripty solutions in Ant.  They will never ever start to learn the
"better" approach Ant offers in many situations because they'll stick
to the if/unless way they've discovered first.

Can you imagine a build file like this:

<target name="compile-it">
  <uptodate property="compile-not-necessary"
  <javac srcdir="${srcdir}"

<target name="ALL">
  <antcall target="compile-it">
    <param name="srcdir" value="src"/>
    <param name="destdir" value="classes"/>
    <param name="filebase" value="foo/bar/A"/>
  <antcall target="compile-it">
    <param name="srcdir" value="src"/>
    <param name="destdir" value="classes"/>
    <param name="filebase" value="foo/bar/B"/>
  <antcall target="compile-it">
    <param name="srcdir" value="src"/>
    <param name="destdir" value="classes"/>
    <param name="filebase" value="foo/bar/C"/>

Judging from some posts to ant-user, I'm sure this would happen if we
added if/unless to <javac>.


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