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From Jacob Kjome <>
Subject Re: Alternatives to Ant's XML Syntax
Date Mon, 28 Jun 2004 16:31:21 GMT
Quoting Patrick Surry <>:

> I asked about the same thing a few months ago but didn't get any response.
> Seems to me like exactly the analogue of RELAX-NG's XML vs Compact syntax.

I think the idea of having an alternative syntax is a nice exercise, but not
entirely useful.  As verbose as XML is, it has served Ant well, as evidenced by
the ubiquity of Ant as *the* build tool (at least for Java).  If a side project
wants to come up with a working model using another syntax, great, but I, for
one, won't be encouraging the core developers to spend even a second thinking
about this.  It doesn't add functionality and it won't necessarily improve a
build writer's experience, since most are used to the XML format and not another
arbitrary one.

> (BTW, wouldn't it also be cool if a future version of Ant mandated that part
> of
> a new task definition was a relax-ng schema fragment defining its syntax, so
> that Ant could do pre-execution validation of your build plan?  I've been
> building a lightweight ETL tool on top of Ant which does validation, but I
> needed to write the schema by hand since all the auto-generated ones seem too
> loose.)

This, on the other hand, would actually improve build functionality.  I think
the developers should definitely give some attention to this.


> Patrick
>  > (If this belongs on the dev list instead, please let me know.)
>  >
>  > Are there any tools which accept an alternate form of syntax for Ant build
>  > files?
>  > While I love XML as an interoperable data and document format, it seems
> rather
>  > heavy for build scripts, which in my environment need continual tweaking. 
> I
>  > think that a simpler text format might make life a bit easier.  I'm
> thinking
>  > of something like this:
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