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From "Bill Rich" <billr...@attglobal.net>
Subject RE: winning the case for ANT
Date Tue, 19 Oct 2004 16:42:08 GMT
"[Erskine, Chris] I agree that Ant is a build tool.  As a build tool, it
requires something to tell it what to do.  From
http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=script
For computer science, it states "A simple program in a utility language or
an application's proprietary language".  This describes what is contained in
the build file.  This is a script.  A script is just a list of steps to be
followed.  As such, Ant does use a scripting language which has been
formatted using XML." 

I beg to differ with the statement that the build file is a script. It is a
set of independent rules (<target>s), not a list of steps. The author of the
build file does not determine the order of execution, the Ant engine does.
Yes, there is an artifact of the language whereby some dependency between
<target>s (depends, if, unless,...) can be imposed, but, the fact still
remains that the targets are independent by definition.

Thanks.  Bill 

Bill Rich
Wilandra Consulting LLC
1325 Addiewell Place
San Jose, CA  95120-3905
phone:      +1 408 268-2452
mobile:     +1 408 410-9713
Santa Cruz: +1 831 464-9007
fax:        +1 413 669-9716
bill@wilandra.com
http://www.wilandra.com

-----Original Message-----
From: Erskine, Chris [mailto:chris.erskine@eds.com] 
Sent: Tuesday, October 19, 2004 8:55 AM
To: Ant Users List
Subject: RE: winning the case for ANT

Please see below.

Chris Erskine
 
EDS Consulting Services
F5-EDS-001
2424 Garden of the Gods Rd
Colorado Springs, CO  80919
 
Phone: 719-535-6064
 
Phone:
mailto:chris.erskine@eds.com

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Chappell, Simon P [mailto:Simon.Chappell@landsend.com]
> Sent: Monday, October 18, 2004 9:15 AM
> To: Ant Users List
> Subject: RE: winning the case for ANT
> 
> I have to correct a few things here.
> 
> >-----Original Message-----
> >From: Erskine, Chris [mailto:chris.erskine@eds.com]
> >Sent: Friday, October 15, 2004 7:33 AM
> >To: Ant Users List
> >Subject: RE: winning the case for ANT
> >
> >
> >XML is just a standard way of formatting data.  In this case, the 
> >lines of data are script commands.
> 
> No! Ant is not a scripting language. Perhaps it should have been, but 
> the reality is that Ant is a build tool. It uses deterministic logic 
> to build your application, given descriptions of your project and the 
> dependencies between parts. This works really well in most instances. 
> The biggest problem that I have seen with ant, is that people try to 
> use it like a scripting language and wonder why that causes problems.
> 
[Erskine, Chris] I agree that Ant is a build tool.  As a build tool, it
requires something to tell it what to do.  From
http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=script
For computer science, it states "A simple program in a utility language or
an application's proprietary language".  This describes what is contained in
the build file.  This is a script.  A script is just a list of steps to be
followed.  As such, Ant does use a scripting language which has been
formatted using XML.

> >You could define this format as a scripting language.  Each tool has 
> >its own formatting syntax.  If you look at Make, it has its own 
> >format that has the problem of the first character on a line having 
> >to be a tab character to be a command for a target.
> 
> Make is a fine tool, but it's not the best tool for Java applications. 
> I like make, wrinkles and all, but I use ant for my Java projects.

[Erskine, Chris] I agree fully.

> 
> >XML format is just the format that was chosen for ant to describe the 
> >scripting.  This is not a battle that will be won on merit since it 
> >sounds like it is a religious issue for this developer.
> 
> Sounds like that project needs a good tech. lead to put their foot 
> down and make a decision. A tech lead needs to be somewhat like Linus 
> Torvalds, a benevolent dictator. :-)
> 

[Erskine, Chris] You have to play the political game.  Not always the best
answer but for some projects, this is a fact of life.  This developer who
does not want to us XML for scripting may be the tech lead.  Putting their
foot down and making a decision may not be what is wanted here.  And, to
prevent more ranting, this person may be a 'good' tech lead.  Just because a
person does not use all of the best practices, does not make them bad.
There can be a number of reasons for not using Ant.  There are also a number
of issues with XML and although it is the current religion, it does not fit
in all cases which I think the industry is starting to see and move somewhat
away from it.  XML is just a tool.  Where it makes sense or can be used
without big problems, use it.  But also, you need to know where it does not
fit.

> >ANT is not an industry standard.  I do not even know if I
> 
> It most certainly is a de-facto standard on the Java side of the 
> fence, especially on the open source projects. To say otherwise is to 
> display a certain amount of ignorance of the state of the Java world.
> 
[Erskine, Chris] I agree that it is a de-facto standard.  It is not an
industry standard.  There is not a standards body that has blessed ant as a
standard.

> >could define it as
> >a best practice although I think it might be close.  It is a tool 
> >that used by many people to automate their build and deployment of 
> >code.
> > It is very
> >good at what it does which is why it is a popular as it is.
> 
> It's popular, it's used by many people ... sounds like a de-facto 
> standard to me.
> 
> <snip>
> 
> >Chris Erskine
> 
> Simon
> 
> -----------------------------------------------------------------
> Simon P. Chappell                     simon.chappell@landsend.com
> Java Programming Specialist                      www.landsend.com
> Lands' End, Inc.                                   (608) 935-4526
> 
> "Some problems are so complex that you have to be highly intelligent 
> and well-informed just to be undecided about them." - Laurence J. 
> Peter
> 
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