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From Matt Benson <>
Subject Re: Separation from rules and project specifics. Can it be done?
Date Wed, 11 Jun 2003 14:08:21 GMT
In most cases, you are not going to be the first
person to want X feature.  Based on your original
message I couldn't see any specific questions "How do
I do this?"  This list is great for that.  Ant's
documentation is adequate, but nobody is deluding
himself into thinking it's great.  Do YOU want to
rewrite it?  Neither does anyone else... :)
documentation is boring to write compared to code...
but if you have a specific problem you want to solve,
99 times out of 100 it can be, and probably will be by
the members of this list.  Ask away...

--- Peter Kriens <> wrote:
> When ANT was very new I looked at it and decided not
> to touch for a
> while because I felt I would loose too much of the
> facilities I had in
> my current build system.
> Today, ANT has moved to mainstream and I am more or
> less forced to
> work with it. However, it feels like a small step
> forward in
> portability and a GIANT step backward in usability
> (I used to use make
> with UNIX or cygwin).
> The XML is VERY hard to read and understand. What
> used to be a few
> words becomes many lines in XML (I have quite a bit
> of
> experience with XML because I am a heavy XSLT coder
> (which has the
> same readability problem imho)). Using XML for this
> purpose looks
> like going back to pre-fortran ...
> However, my main problem is the golden software
> rule: Only define
> things ONCE. For some reason it seems almost
> impossible to define the specific
> information at one place and place the rules in a
> file that is shared. I
> have to make a lot of similar components (OSGi
> bundles) and my
> current make files for each bundle are extremely
> clean without any rules
> (which allows me to redefined and add rules later).
> I tried
> hard, but in ANT it looks like ANT is fighting this
> approach tooth
> and nail. For example, packages are extremely
> important in OSGi and
> the same set of packages appear in several places in
> different rules
> and in several forms (com.acme.x and com/acme/x).
> Iterating, prefixing, modifying
> is trivial to do in make but escapes me in ANT, the
> files I see often
> just repeat this information.
> Especially frustrating is that filesets cannot
> contain filesets.
> Properties and filesets can also not easily be
> translated into each other.
> Same for paths. Often you define the basic
> parameters in the specific
> build file but extend it in the generic. This turns
> out to be tricky
> imho, but I may miss something.
> Also the manual is hard to figure out what you can
> do and cannot do.
> Often you must try out something before you can
> understand if it
> works. A DTD for each task would be nice.
> I would really appreciate to see some build files
> where the specific
> parts of a project are cleanly separated from the
> generic parts to
> learn some of the tricks. Does anybody have one for
> me?
> To be honest, so far my love for ants hasn't
> increased ... :-)
> Kind regards,
>    Peter Kriens
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