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From "Harkness, David" <>
Subject RE: ANT for simple ETL plans?
Date Wed, 23 Jul 2003 20:20:40 GMT
Regarding 2. I'm not entirely sure I understood, but if I did, I'd
suggest looking at the <script> task. You can embed a script to parse
and process dates in other formats and set properties on which to base
the other tasks. Does this make sense?

I haven't used <script> yet as I'm really really trying to stick to the
built-in Ant tasks, but I've started using <if> a lot and I'm concerned
that I'm breaking from the Ant Way(tm). Hmm, sorry, getting off topic.

Good luck!

David Harkness
Sony Pictures Digital Networks
(310) 482-4756

-----Original Message-----
From: Patrick Surry [] 
Sent: Wednesday, July 23, 2003 7:05 AM
Subject: ANT for simple ETL plans?

I'm looking at various make-like systems to implement simple
extract-transform-load data-build plans.  (Top candidates are ANT and
SCons at the moment.)

Two initial questions that I can't answer after reading the
documentation and the 'Ant book'.

1. Can you control the degree of parallelism, eg. I want to do something
like 'ant --maxParallel=4 ...' or:

 <parallel numThreads="4"/> 
   <... lots of tasks ...

and have Ant only kick off new tasks when old ones finish to avoid
having too many running at once (they have big resource requirements).

2. Is there any good way to manipulate dates held in properties?  The
ETL plan is typically parameterized by a target date (say <property
name="targetDate" value="2002-12-25"/> with an xsd:Date value), and the
required outputs depend on characteristics of the date (is it a Friday,
a month-end, etc), and possibly on related dates (extract records
between now and 1 calendar month ago).  I guess I could do this by shell
scripts outside of ant and read results into properties, but it seems

Patrick Surry, PhD  Tel 617 457 5200 Fax 617 457 5299

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