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From Matthew Inger <>
Subject Re: very basic question
Date Wed, 19 Sep 2001 18:46:29 GMT
i'm sure people will offer a lot more than this,
but here's a start

1:  Ant is cross platform.  The same codebase will run
    on any system that has a java vm.

    Make must be ported to each platform as it is a
    binary executable

2:  Ant build scripts are defined in xml, and, in most
    cases can be used on any platform with no modifications.
    If however, you are calling system commands, you may
    need to adjust it account for the possible platform
    types.  For example:

       <target name="MaybeDoWindows" if="IsWindows">

       <target name="MaybeDoUnix" if="IsUnix">

       <target name="doStuff">
        <condition property="IsWindows" value="true">
          <os family="windows" />
        <condition property="IsUnix" value="true">
          <os family="unix" />

        <antcall target="MaybeDoWindows" />
        <antcall target="MaybeDoUnix" />

    With make, you must have different make files for every platform
    type you execute on, or use something like "imake" to build them
    for you.

3:  Ant is extensible through the creation of Custom tasks which
    is java based, therefore platform-independent (provider your
    task doesn't do anything os specific).

    Make is extensible through shell commands, or other executables
    (batch files, .exe, .com, etc...)

4:  Ant is not great at dependency checking from .java -> .class files.
    I believe that make is better at this, but the ANT guru's can fill
    you in more.

5:  Ant has a lot of built in and optional tools that come in very
    handy, such as XML Transformation via XSL stylesheets, SQL
    connectivity via JDBC, version control tasks, etc....

    Make can support the above tools, but you have to have executables
    or scripts to perform the operations (not so easy for database

I guess the bottom line is that ANT gives you the same advantages
over Make that Java gives you over C (in a platform independent
sense), plus a little bit more...

On Wed, 2001-09-19 at 14:22, Josiah Slack wrote:
> Hi everyone. I'm new to the list, and am in the process of evaluating ant to
> see if it's appropriate for a project my group is undertaking. I've been
> looking at FAQs, and reading the traffic on this list for the past few days,
> but haven't found an answer to the following question: what, in detail, are
> the strengths and weaknesses of ant vs. make?
> Any pointers would be appreciated. Thanks!
> -josiah
Matt Inger (
Sedona Corporation
455 S. Gulph Road, Suite 300
King of Prussia, PA 19406
(484) 679-2213
"Self-respect - the secure feeling that no one,
 as yet, is suspicious." -H.L. Mencken 

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