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From "Xavier Hanin" <xavier.ha...@gmail.com>
Subject Re: [DISCUSS] EasyAnt: Ant based pre packaged build system for java projects
Date Tue, 12 Feb 2008 08:21:00 GMT
On Feb 11, 2008 8:35 PM, limbicsystem <limbicsystem@gmail.com> wrote:

>
> What Xavier is describing is exactly what I thought Maven should have
> been- a
> standard way to lay out projects, with Ant underneath to use as needed.
>  And
> once your projects become non-trivial there is always the "as needed"
> part.
>
> We spent a long painful month trying to move from Maven1 to Maven2, and
> ultimately gave up.  We quickly grew tired of trying to write plugins to
> handle things that would have othewise been 5 lines of Ant (or things that
> worked in M1 but no longer work in M2).  Not to bash Maven, but things
> become really hard once you move outside the lines a little bit.  Then on
> the other extreme you have Ant- complete freedom to do things are you see
> fit, but there is not much in the way of standards or guidelines.  There
> ought to be a middle ground here somewhere.
>
> We're currently in the process standardizing on a common set of Ant
> scripts
> that get imported, using Ivy for dependency management.  I can tell you-
> things become a LOT simpler once you get a few common use cases worked
> out,
> and just refer to them from each project's build.xml.
>
> In general we are following the Maven directory model, so things are laid
> out like:
>
>   src/
>       main/
>             java/
>             resources/
>
>       test/
>             java/
>             resources/
>
>       webapp/
>               WEB-INF
>
>
> Things generated by the build (classes, artifacts, etc) get built in
> "target".  A build.xml for a simple jar project is about 5 lines of
> boilerplate:
>
> <project basedir="." default="package" name="my-project">
>     <property  name="org" value="my-org"/>
>     <import file="../../../../common/antbuild/common-build.xml"/>
>     <target depends="jar" name="package"/>
> </project>
>
> Dependencies are external in ivy.xml, but that's all that's need to
> resolve
> dependencies, compile, test, package and deploy this project.  War and Ear
> projects are not much more complicated than this either. I would very much
> like to discuss this idea, and hear what others are doing.

This is the kind of build I sometimes help to build for my customers, or
just recommend. It's based on this experience that I've suggested EasyAnt.
>From what I've been said in the discussion, it seems that to do something
that scales well to a community (an open source build system where many can
contribute is very different from an enterprise made build system) we'd need
to introduce some new concepts in Ant. I've tried to setup a small POC of
how I see this build system, to gather some feedback and continue the
discussion. I've just uploaded a new version of this POC here:
http://people.apache.org/~xavier/easyant-POC-0.2.zip

There's a README at the zip root, explaining how to try it and how it works.
I'd appreciate any feedback.

Xavier


>
>
> George
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> Xavier Hanin wrote:
> >
> > Hi,
> >
> > It's been a long time since I'm thinking about this, and thought it
> might
> > be
> > interesting to share with you and see where the idea can go.
> >
> > I see many developers adopt Maven because they want a build system able
> to
> > provide common features with no effort. Most of them don't want to spend
> > much time writing an Ant script, or have seen or heard that maintaining
> > Ant
> > build scripts is troublesome. So they choose to use Maven only because
> > it's
> > easy to use for common use cases: install, write a simple pom of a few
> > lines
> > or generate it using an archetype, and you're ready to compile, test and
> > package your new project following the Maven standard structure. They
> also
> > get dependency management for free, and with only a few more effort they
> > have multi module builds, and some nice features like code analysis,
> > coverage, and a set of report gathered in a web site. That's really nice
> > and
> > that's what I like about Maven.
> >
> > But Maven suffers from a lack of flexibility and robustness IMHO. And
> > later
> > the same people who first adopted Maven because of its perceived ease of
> > use
> > become frustrated when they need to tweek the system to their own needs
> or
> > don't understand how the release plugin work. Then some of them go back
> to
> > Ant, first having to go through a sometimes painful road to describe
> their
> > whole build system in xml, especially if they aren't Ant experts. Others
> > try
> > to use new build tools like raven, buildr or others.
> >
> > I really like Ant, and think it is a very good basis for robust and
> > flexible
> > build systems. People with enough knowledge of Ant can write very good
> > build
> > systems, testable, maintainable and adaptable. But you need to get your
> > hands dirty, and you need to get a good knowledge of some of the
> > mechanisms
> > which can make an Ant based build system manageable: import, scripts and
> > scriptdef, macrodef, presetdef, and so on.
> >
> > Hence I'm wondering if it wouldn't be a good idea to package a set of
> Ant
> > build files, providing all the basic features of a build system for java
> > projects: dependency management, compilation, testing and packaging,
> plus
> > maybe some more advanced features like code coverage and code auditing.
> > Multi module build support would be nice to have too. Then someone
> needing
> > only those features could simply have a build file per project mostly
> > consisting of a single import of the common build file provided. Some
> > needing more could provide plugins to the build system itself. Some
> > needing
> > to tweak the system could simply override some target definitions or
> > properties. Others with very specific needs could simply use the build
> > scripts as examples or basis.
> >
> > I guess most people on this list know the benefit of having such a build
> > system and how well it scales, and most of us already have developed
> such
> > a
> > set of build files. But providing the basis of such a good build system
> > well
> > packaged and documented could improve the Ant community IMO. With some
> > efforts from our community we could end up with something interesting
> > pretty
> > easily. Most of us don't have much time, but we probably already have a
> > good
> > basis from the build files we work with around, and if this can be done
> in
> > a
> > community effort it could remain affordable in terms of time required.
> >
> > So, what do you think? Do you think this would be useful? Would you be
> > interested in contributing? Do you think a new Ant sub project would be
> a
> > good fit?
> >
> > Xavier
> > --
> > Xavier Hanin - Independent Java Consultant
> > http://xhab.blogspot.com/
> > http://ant.apache.org/ivy/
> > http://www.xoocode.org/
> >
> >
>
>
> --
> View this message in context:
> http://www.nabble.com/-DISCUSS--EasyAnt%3A-Ant-based-pre-packaged-build-system-for-java-projects-tp14735371p15418993.html
> Sent from the Ant - Dev mailing list archive at Nabble.com.
>
>
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>


-- 
Xavier Hanin - Independent Java Consultant
http://xhab.blogspot.com/
http://ant.apache.org/ivy/
http://www.xoocode.org/

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