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From Steve Loughran <>
Subject Re: MSBuild vs Ant
Date Thu, 06 Nov 2003 08:06:35 GMT
Alex Kipman wrote:
> Hello everyone,
> My name is Alex Kipman (_AKipman@microsoft.com_ 
> <>), and I'm the Program Manager for MSBuild 
> <ducks for cover>.  You may or may not have read my post about this "Us 
> versus Them" attitude portrayed in the "Longhorn" book.  

Yes, I've seen the book. No I wasn't happy about it. It was so 
ill-informed it came over as malicious. And like most software 
developers, we dont like to see our code attacked. I guess your
VSS team should be used to that, but it is new to us. I didnt think much 
of his chapter on mobility either; stuff I was doing on adaptive laptops 
four years ago was ahead of that)

>Just in case 
> you haven't I'll try to post something similar here:
> I saw that book and the chapter on MSBuild for the first time at PDC.  
> The content of that chapter is inaccurate in some parts, and in 
> particular in the final section of MSBuild vs Ant.  I will be having a 
> serious conversation with the publisher at MSPress and Brent to find out 
> where they got their information from since no one in the MSBuild team 
> was aware of the content of that chapter. 
> Again my apologies for the description of MSBuild vs Ant since that is 
> the polar opposite of how I think we should interact.  It is not about 
> us vs Ant and we shouldn't let it become that way.  As I have told the 
> NAnt community we love you guys!!  You guys are a thriving community and 
> are enabling people to build great applications.

I agree that there should not be any need for conflict. We happily 
coexist with NAnt after all. And as someone who does invoke big .sln 
builds of C++ DLLs from ant+Cruise control, I can only appreciate the 
addition of automation to the process. But you arent going to do C++, right?

Ant has had support for .net since the 2000 PDC release; pre-beta-1. Ant 
1.6 supplements <csc> with <vbc>, <jsharp>, <typelibimport> and <ilasm>.

It now has the ability to compile any of the core .net languages, or 
import, decompile, patch up and recompile a COM tlb, if that is what you 
want. With a deep heritage of deployment, you can use ant to deploy 
compiled code to mounted filestores, FTP destinations, SCP destinations, 
or zip it up and email it to people. Thus Ant, simply by virtue of its 
maturity, is going to be a power tool for .net projects as well as Java 

It's development process is also incredibly tactical, rather than 
strategic. There are no full time employees from IBM or Sun working 5x8 
on the codebase; there is no JCP committee defining what is in and out 
of the API. Everyone who works on Ant is an end user. Every end user of 
Ant is busy exploring and extending automated build processes, be they 
test centric, deployment centric or ship-it-and-wait-for-complaints 

Being tactical, I expect Ant to continue to extend it .NET support as 
and when demand (especially demand instantiated in code and tests) 
merits it. But if we do see lots of anti-ant propaganda emanating from 
the MSDN organisation, I can see that I myself would be less motivated 
to work on .NET support. And am pretty much the sole maintainer of the 
.NET tasks, to date.

So please, let us try and coexist. You are a year from shipping and 
arent going to gain anything by criticising us today. I hope, therefore, 
that we are going to see a slightly corrected chapter 2 up on csells's 
longhorn corner rather than the original.


NB, here are some things that would be useful

1. I have some specific requests for ildasm; we cant control its 
behaviour properly. Can you send them on to the relevant person.

2. consistency of command line options between tools (csc, vbc, etc), 
and between .NET and mono.

3. run the entire gump ( build on a 
nightly build of longhorn. It would let you smoke test the core suite of 
open source java products on your platform.

> I have just subscribed to both ant-dev and ant-user so that I can answer 
> questions about MSBuild if/when you guys have them.  My objective is to 
> give you facts rather than leave things up to speculation.  Please let 
> me know if my lurking upsets you and I will respect that and unsubscribe 
> from the mailing lists. 

oh good, maybe you can field support calls related to on 
win9x too :)

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