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From Scott Sauyet <>
Subject Re: Alternatives to Ant's XML Syntax
Date Tue, 29 Jun 2004 13:02:36 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

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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