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From "Scott Stirling" <>
Subject RE: Ant Perversions [was RE: Properties are causing problem in 1.5]
Date Sun, 01 Dec 2002 23:20:52 GMT
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Steve Loughran []
> > Some people want Ant to do everything (or want to do everything from
> > within Ant), in hopes of achieving portability perfection in a
> > cross-platform world, even at the expense of horrible hacks in custom
> > tasks, or tying the build to OS-specific tools through <apply/> or
> > <exec/>.
> what if you are execing or applying a perl script or a gnu command? You
> arent totally tied down there.

Yeah, but why call them from Ant?  It makes more sense to me to call Ant
from a shell script, calling targets and feeding it parameters, instead of
vice-versa.  That's how Ant gets started up from $ANT_HOME/bin anyway.  As
soon as you're inside Ant world you lose things like return codes, streaming
text editors and easy piping from one command to another.  The new
FilterChains in Ant are very cool, but you have to write, compile and
package custom Java code for multi-line edit one-offs that sed and grep or
perl can do in 1-4 lines of code (granted, sed and perl require their own
environments to run (well, standalone (non-Cygwin) sed and grep can be
obtained for Windows), but aren't things like sed and perl at least as
widely available, even on Windows, as Ant and a 1.3 JDK?)

> > Is the sense of where to draw the line and admit Ant's limitations a
> > matter of taste?  Experience?  Laziness?  Or what?
> Maybe we just like the idea of doing everything in java?

I empathize with you there.  But because Java's inherently abstracted from
everything else (OS, native tools, UNIX tools), it's a PITA to integrate it
with anything lacking a Java API if you try to do it from inside Java rather
than the other way 'round.

> > The scheduling limitation is kind of a big one.  There are Java
> > tools out there like Flux.  Would that appropriate for scheduling builds
> > either from Ant or around Ant?  How do others automate Ant builds in
> > cross-platform environments?  Cron on UNIX/AT on WIndows?
> anthill, cruisecontrol. AT sucks.

I haven't tried AntHill, but a colleague of mine tried CruiseControl
recently.  Unfortunately, he already had automated the StarTeam checking
out, diffing, emailing, etc. via Ant, so the overhead of configuring and
running CruiseControl just to use it as a dumb scheduler to run a
self-sufficient build file seemed ridiculous.  However, it may be worth
revisiting to see if CruiseControl provides some other benefits he's

Scott Stirling

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