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From James Bucanek <>
Subject Newbie: Bunch 'o questions
Date Fri, 08 Dec 2000 17:51:40 GMT
First of all, let me apologize if this is all FAQ stuff, but the FAQ 
at just returns server errors, and I only get 
connection errors from the list archive at 

(1) Is there a tutorial somewhere on doing the obvious?

The docs are great, but it's not immediately obvious how to do some 
rather typical build/make things.  Specifically, I've several tools 
that are basically compilers.  I'd like them to execute iff some of 
the source files are newer than the target file(s).  And 
specifically, it should be executed only on those files that are 

I can see where Uptodate will set a property if *any* of a set of 
files have changed, but where's the file filter to give me *just* the 
subset of files that have changed?  Do I have to write this logic 
into every Task?

I guess I would have expected some attribute to FileSet that would 
filter based on modification date: <fileset dir="${src}" 

And what about the slightly more complex comparison where you've got 
a set of source files (source/*.src) and you need to compare them 
individually with a matching set of output files (build/obj/*.obj), 
and build those that are out of date?

Again, I would have expected some modifier to FileSet to produce 
these subsets automatically.  Actually, what I would really have 
expected was some attribute to FileSet that would pass each File 
through the object (or some Ant specific analog) 
of your choice.

(2) Is there a public repository for contributed Tasks?  I've already 
thought of several Tasks, and I can't believe that no one else has 
done some of them already.

(3) Has anyone written a simple Swing GUI for Ant that would allow 
someone in our code maintenance department to simply pick a target 
from a list?  Possibly being prompted for a few key properties 
(version number, VCS label, etc.).

(4) I'm assuming that the XML file for an Ant task isn't read until 
that action is executed.  Specifically, I'd like to have one target 
dynamically generate the XML for another target, but these obviously 
have to occur in the correct order.  (Or, maybe I can just create 
Target and Task objects dynamically?)

(5) Harping back to (1), we've got source files that include other 
files.  We have a tool that will compile a list of all of the files 
that a given source file depends on.  We then reformat this list and 
turn it into empty dependency statements in our make file.

How can I do this in Ant?  That is, how I can get Ant to compile 
xyz.src only if it or any of it's included source files have changed? 
Do we have to build this kind of dependency logic in to each and 
every tool?  Or do you just write a thousand <target> statements, 
each with a custom Uptodate action and an 'if' attribute?

(6) How do you create a Task that processes a FileSet?  Do you just 
add the magic addFileset(FileSet) method?

Thanks for any insight,

James Bucanek

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