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From James Duncan Davidson <>
Subject Re: Ant scripting from Jython.
Date Fri, 13 Jun 2003 03:08:07 GMT

On Thursday, Jun 12, 2003, at 13:20 US/Pacific, Jonathan Simon wrote:

> The last example is about ANT. I spoke to Erik (hatcher) and James 
> (duncan
> davidson) about the whole abuse of XML in ANT proper not to mention 
> all of the
> stuff on the ant-contrib project.

Yep. I've been thinking for a while it's worthwhile to look at using a 
first class scripting language to actually build real "build-scripts". 
Of course, I haven't moved anywhere with it because I've been having 
way too much fun over with Mac OS X and Cocoa lately. :) Lack of itch 
to scratch leads to lack of action.

> The point is that calling ANT from Jython is much easier than I 
> initially
> thought (you dont have to write ant translation stuff) but harder than 
> I
> secondly thought (you have to write some wrappers or something 
> somewhere to
> make the code legible).

I agree with that assessment. I think that you'll end up with quite a 
bit of a "wrapper" library in Jython to make it more "script native" to 
build a build-script--but one that still uses the underlying task 
objects. Whether that library is written in Jython or in additional 
mediator objects will be a subject to be debated.

> Additionally, if we do this right, well be able to plug in any Java 
> scrpting language of choice
> (like JRuby). Then, the whole argument of the use of XML goes away and 
> the purists and iconoclasts can all have their way-- without forking 
> ANT.

And that would be a Really Good Thing(tm). I think such an effort would 
be a great thing to see and I hope that others join you in your quest. 
I do think using something like a BSF would be good so that you could 
use any scripting language--though I would be a bit concerned about 
allowing any scripting language because the n-dimensionality of the 
support burden goes up. And of course if you do use something like BSF, 
you'd want to put the "wrapper" functionality into mediator objects so 
that all languages could take advantage of it.

Anyway--it certainly sounds like a great thing to work out and there 
are other people that have had the same thought. I spent a while 
talking with Ken Arnold about these thoughts and there have been other 
hallway conversations at JavaOne with other folks that touched on this. 
There's a train there building up momentum. Have fun with it!

(cc me on any replies you'd like me to see since I'm not subbed up to 
the ant-dev mailing list right now)

James Duncan Davidson
Coder, Speaker, Author
[life live];

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