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From Phillip Lord <>
Subject Re: antmerge:- inheriting ant files.
Date Wed, 06 Aug 2003 12:38:25 GMT
>>>>> "Knut" == Wannheden, Knut <> writes:

  Knut> Looks great!

  Knut> Very similar to what I've done for our development environment
  Knut> with a few minor differences:

I figured someone must have done something similar, but I couldn't
find anything on the web before I wrote this. Writing build utilities
is not really what I am paid for!

  Knut> o I have explicit top-level elements called <override-target>,
  Knut> <override-property>, and <override-path>
  Knut> o In the metioned top-level elements a child element <super>
  Knut>    will be
  Knut> replaced with the respective contents of the parent buildfile
  Knut> o Attributes of the top-level elements are also inherited
  Knut>    unless explicitly
  Knut> overridden (e.g. <override-target name="compile" depends="">)

  Knut> I don't know whether this makes any sense in your environment,
  Knut> but I certainly found this to be a very flexible templating
  Knut> mechanism. 

I have certainly thought about something similar, although I have not
got around to implementing it yet. I don't particularly want to use
explicit top level elements (as I want people to be able to use ant
support from their I use a DTD aware editor, and using the
standard ant DTD is therefore a good thing!), but the lack of a
"super" type functionality is a problem.

  Knut> Although it is a little bit disturbing that editing the
  Knut> "build-in.xml" is pretty challenging, as you have to visualize
  Knut> the eventually generated buildfile in your mind.

Antmerge has a standard set of rules for generating the build file
which generally "do the right thing". There are cases where they do
not. Most of these are due to ordering of the end build file. Its a
little hard to explain, so just trust me. 

I think I can get around it with some sorting of the end build.xml
file based on top level tag. So all the "property" tags will come
first, then all the path like structures next, and finally all the
targets. How well this will work in practice, I don't know. Sometimes
these heuristics sound great, and work badly. And sometimes the

It's interesting actually. I notice that ant may be getting an
"import" task (its in the CVS). I think that they will have some of
the same problems as me. Parts of ant are procedural (properties,
paths), and parts are not (targets). Import is fine. But where do you


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