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From Scott Sauyet <>
Subject Re: Alternatives to Ant's XML Syntax
Date Tue, 29 Jun 2004 12:58:07 GMT
Stefan Bodewig wrote:
> I'll try to summarize my view on some of the things that have been
> said in this thread.  All I say are my personal views, other Ant
> committers may have different opinions, of course 8-)

Thank you.  A very nice summary, and I agree with most of it.

> Use something other than XML
> ============================
> So far no other syntax I've seen really looked more appealing to me,
> but that's largely a matter of taste.  [ ... ]

It is a matter of taste.  I personally find it easier to read and write 
something like this:

     Use something other than XML

than something like this:

     <.h2 class="section-header">Use something other than XML<./h2>.

With all the options that allow you to write more readable versions of a 
document structurally equivalent to the XML version, it would be nice to 
be able to use these syntaxes in Ant.  And if they did get into the 
core, people could distribute more easily readable build files with 
their projects.  There is something to be learned from the success of 
the Wiki editing models.

My biggest concern would be a fragmentation, where you couldn't simply 
copy pieces of a build file written in one syntax into one written in 
another.  I imagine, though, that automated conversion tools would be 
rather simple to make and to use.

> I certainly know James' article on it (a lot of discussion goes on in
> blogs, doesn't it?), but his points are not really related to using
> XML at all IMHO. [ ... ]

At least one of his major points speaks to the same concerns I raised 

     "In retrospect, and many years later, XML probably wasn't as good a 
choice as it seemed at the time. [For larger build files] it turns out 
that XML isn't quite as friendly a format to edit as I had hoped for."

His article also addresses many of the other points raised in this 
thread, and I think your summary captures them well.

As I said before, I'm not really seeking any change.  I was really 
hoping that someone was going to say something like, "Oh yes, that 
feature was added in version x.y.z" or "It's scheduled for the next 
release."  If I find myself with some free time (hah!) I might play with 
this a bit; it really doesn't sound too hard.  But I think there would 
have to be serious discusion of the potential fragmentation before 
making this a part of Ant proper.

   -- Scott

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