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From Paul Michali <>
Subject Re: How to set a property from a custom task? (LONG)
Date Thu, 20 Sep 2001 14:41:46 GMT
Thomas Tuft Muller wrote:
> You can always set a system property and access it from other tasks, but it
> seems a little akward to make a custom task for what you want. You can get
> away with a combination of default tasks. There are many solutions.
> The simplest is to leave it to the actual JUnit test to check if the
> resource is available to conduct the test.

Since I'm new to Ant (and Java), can you elaborate more on what the

To be more specific, let me detail more of what I'm doing...

I have an app that part of it's job is to send email messages to various
In the JUnit tests that I have, I included a few tests that verify that
message is sent correctly. I did this by using DixieMail, which is a
mail server. I setup a dummy account, have my application send the mail
(after it does its thing) and then the JUnit test polls the mail server
to see
if the message arrives and verifies the contents are correct. It could
argued that this is more of a Functional than Unit test, but want to
check this

So, when I run Ant, if I forget to start the mail server up ahead of
time, then
the JUnit test fails. After this happened a few times, I decided to try
tackle fixing this.

Now the mail server is a Java application, so I can start it from Ant.
there's no easy way to tell if the mail server is running or to stop the

I could modify the JUnit tests to check and start the server, if it is
not running.
However, I was interested in trying to divorce the setup of the mail
server from
the Unit tests and I wanted to get a little feel for how to customize
Ant as well.

Along those lines, what things should I consider doing? One idea that
I've been
discussing with others, is to use a custom task to check the server
(flush any
pending messages) and then set a property to indicate whether or not the
server is
running. The build.xml could then use that property to decide whether to
start the
server (using <java classname="dixie"...) and whether or not to allow
the tests to
run (in case we cannot start the server).

Is this a reasonable approach? Is it going to be way more work than just
the Unit tests? Are there other, easier ways to do this?

Another idea was to check and start the server as part of the custom
task, rather
than using several targets to check, start the server, and re-check.

PCM (Paul Michali)

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