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From Ian Atkin <>
Subject RE: GUI tool for writing/creating ant makefiles?
Date Tue, 29 Aug 2000 09:34:18 GMT

a GUI for Ant would be a Good Thing.

as far as a DTD for build files goes, i'm surprised that one is not in the

i've been playing around with DTDs/Schemas for a while and i'm gonna give it
a go...

i can forsee one problem i would like comment on:-
- <taskdef> allows arbitrary children of <target> to support optional tasks
	- something in the instance is changing what can be in the instance
- this means that any DTD/Schema will not have enough information to suit
all build files unless,
	1. content model of <target> is ANY
	2. parameter entity (for DTDs) or file inclusion (for XML Schema) to
allow variable definition of <target> content model

option 1 i don't like, ANY content models are a result of convienience not
design and in this situation almost defy the point of a DTD/Schema

option 2 is the only one left, would result in tight validation, but require
modification of the parameter entity if you are using custom optional tasks

both of these options could be implemented now without affecting the
distribution, build files would need DOCTYPE/schemaLocation info of course.

i'm also brainstorming the design of a "build markup" that avoids this
situation but still allows optional tasks, but anything i think of cannot
provide the flexibility required, any ideas/suggestions would be

Ian Atkin
Code Monkey & Text File Editor
Wide Learning

> -----Original Message-----
> From:	Chris Todd []
> Sent:	29 August, 2000 2:51 AM
> To:;
> Subject:	GUI tool for writing/creating ant makefiles?
> Hello all-
> I recently discovered both ant (what a GREAT tool!) and jEdit (a very nice
> editor), and I'm posting these questions to both mailing lists because
> they
> are inter-related.
> While I have found ant to be a great tool for simplifying the development
> process, I have to admit I've never much enjoyed writing XML files by
> hand.
> ;-)
> Xeena is a great way to create XML files in a sort of drag-n-drop GUI, but
> it requires that there be a DTD to work from, and there isn't a DTD for
> ant
> makefiles.
> So I was wondering if anyone on this list had a particular preference for
> a
> GUI-based XML editor to use for ant makefiles.  Or does everyone use vi?
> ;-)
> I was also wondering whether anyone was working on an ant GUI?  Since
> there
> are a fixed number of options that can be used in ant makefiles, I would
> guess you could create a GUI that has radio buttons and checkboxes and
> text
> boxes and file selectors and the like for the various options in an ant
> makefile.  Such a GUI would seem to be a natural candidate as a plugin for
> jEdit, perhaps integrated with Kevin Burton's jCompiler and ProjectViewer
> plugins.  Any thoughts/comments/flames?  ;-)
> Sincerest regards,
> Chris Todd
> Software Engineer
> Alabanza Corporation

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