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From Scott Walters <>
Subject ant as a workflow engine
Date Fri, 17 Jan 2003 18:44:41 GMT
I'm in the process of architecting a rewrite of our external system 
interface modules.  In general, these modules extract specific data from 
our database, send it somewhere, poll for a response and then import the 
response back into the database.  They do this with several vendors, 
each with their own data requirments and transport mechanisms.

There's a lot of code reuse possibilities since many of the vendors use 
very similar data formats and HTTP POST transport mechanisms.

Given this, I'm seriously considering implementing the individual pieces 
of this project as ant tasks and processing each request by 
programatically invoking a build script that controls the execution of 
these tasks.  Requests would come into a servlet, which would invoke the 
ant script in a new thread, specifying the ant target that implements 
the particular interface requested.

I'm certainly no ant expert, however.  All I've done is create some 
fairly simple scripts to build and jar java code.  My specific questions 

1)  Can I pipe the xml output of one task into the next task without 
using a file?

2)  Do tasks within a target always run in the order they're specified 
in the build script?

Any other advice or comments are welcome.


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