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From "Steve Cohen" <>
Subject RE: why not conditions on tasks as on targets?
Date Wed, 16 Jul 2003 15:27:24 GMT
I want to comment on the Ant-Contrib vs. Ant relationship.  I have
contributed to the ant code base, I subscribe to the developer list, but
I'm not a committer.  I throw away a lot of email :-) 

I DON'T use ant-contrib.  I don't know about it, I don't want to know
about it, I avoid it, I've never looked at it.  I've never found a case
where I absolutely needed to look at ant-contrib.  I have been willing
to pay the price of spaghetti code to avoid becoming dependent on
something that a substantial number of ant contributors regard as
somehow sub-rosa or will have to be changed later.  Maybe that's wrong
but that's been my general modus operandi.  

I guess I feel that Open Source Software is dicey enough without
descending into the sub-rosa layers.  If it ain't documented in the ant
manual, I don't use it.  It's hard enough to keep our little shop on the
same version of ant, let alone control what version of ant-contrib might
be being used.  Maybe my attitude is bad, but I don't have that much
time.  I suppose you might say that I am depending on there being a core
of "experimenters" who will ultimately decide these things, but that
assumption could be false.

Isn't the problem (aside from my attitude) that there is no standard
process for pulling stuff out of ant-contrib into ant-proper?  I've been
hearing requests for this <if> functionality for a couple of years now
and it's no closer to resolution now than it was two years ago.

To me, suggestions that users look to ant-contrib are basically a dodge
around the fact that the ant-committers have been unable to reach
consensus on this point.  That is the core of the problem.

-----Original Message-----
From: Dominique Devienne [] 
Sent: Wednesday, July 16, 2003 9:19 AM
To: 'Ant Users List'
Subject: RE: why not conditions on tasks as on targets?

Let's just say it's been long debated, and never got in... It's in fact
technically *very* easy to do, and several proposed patches implemented
it, but somehow was never accepted. OSS ain't democracy, but a
meritocracy ;-)

The lack of this feature leads to what I like to call spaghetti Ant code
with a bunch of targets and lots of if/unless on them! To be honest, I'm
using Ant-Contrib's <if> and <switch>. And it's probably part of the
reason it never made it to Ant; since there's an alternative, the Ant
committers have an excuse for refusing to put in this controversial
feature. I'm not trying to point fingers to anyone, it's just my
interpretation of the facts.

On a more hopeful note, what you are asking is an aspect, i.e. something
applicable to all tasks in Ant, and that should therefore be coded in at
the framework level rather than the task level. There was recent
discussion to allow pluggable aspects, so you could for example add this
feature to Ant yourself. Unfortunately, these will not be in Ant 1.6,
and were pushed to 1.7 or later.

Does that answer your question? --DD

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Daniel Barclay []
> Sent: Wednesday, July 16, 2003 9:07 AM
> To: Ant Users List
> Subject: Re: why not conditions on tasks as on targets?
> Alexey Solofnenko wrote:
> > I think the answer on your question would be: "Because it can be 
> > done
> better
> > by using <if> or by better organizing your tasks, so you would not 
> > need
> this
> > feature."
> Okay, let me try one more time:
> Given that targets do have if and unless attributes, why don't tasks?
> Daniel

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