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From Yyy Xxx <>
Subject Suggestions for documentation & exec
Date Wed, 17 Oct 2001 20:09:12 GMT
The documentation for ant is nice -- concise and
helpful.  But it took a long time for me to realize
that <target> came with "if" and "unless" attributes. 
This is because I read the Using page months ago and
forgot that it contained *reference* material as well
as *guide* material. Each time I go to read about
<target>, I automatically go to the "Built-in Tasks"
section because that's where I spend most of my time. 
Then I realize my mistake and have to pause to
remember if I really should go to the "Installing",
"Running", or "Using" page.

The documentation could be improved if (1) it came
with an index and (2) there was some way to show that
the "Using" section contained reference material.

There are hyperlinks scattered throughout the task
documentation pages that tell people about "path link
structures".  For instance in <available>:

"Available's classpath attribute is a
[hyperlink]path-like structure[/hyperlink] and can
also be set via a nested <classpath> element."

(3) There should be hyperlinks for "property"
throughout the task pages.  The page for <available>
could be improved if the beginning read:

 Sets a [hyperlink]property[/hyperlink] if a resource
is available at runtime. This resource can be a file,
a directory, a class in the classpath, or a JVM system

The hyperlink would take us to the "Using Ant"
Property section.

I didn't find any discussion in the documentation as
to scope of properties.  The <property> task seems
local to each <antcall>, for instance.  I can
<antcall> a target that sets a property and then
<antcall> the target again and set the same property
name again.  If this isn't already in the
documentation, (4) it should be written up.

People often ask questions about "if" and "unless" in
this mailing list.  (5) there should be more examples
in the documentation.  Perhaps in conjunction with the
<available> or <condition> tasks.

And (6), I'd like to have a way to store the return
code of an <exec> in a property.  I'd like to
conditionally execute tasks based on the return code
of an exec'd program.  My only choice seems to use the
"failonerror" attribute, but I don't want to fail my

Thank you for a fine program.

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