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From Erik Hatcher <>
Subject Re: New Ant GUI - 'Ant's Nest'
Date Fri, 07 Jan 2005 16:29:11 GMT

On Jan 7, 2005, at 10:31 AM, Chris Clohosy wrote:

> Thank you Rich, Erik, and Dominique for your comments, I'll certainly 
> look into them. When I first started looking into this around 
> May-time, I could not find any easy way of extracting the information 
> needed from the Ant class files. I tried everything, from reflection 
> to the Ant API itself and could not find anything. The best I could do 
> was to look for the bean conventions like getters and setters but I 
> didn't want to rely on that. Alos there was no way of knowing if an 
> attribute was required, or if it became required if another attribute 
> was set, etc. That's way I was heading down the meta-data route with 
> annotations, I didn't have a clue they were already marked up with 
> @tags!
> This is a university project, and at the moment time is running out so 
> I have to prioritise what has to be included in the final version, so 
> bear with me :-p But you all have definetely shed some light on what 
> lies behind Ant, and I'm very grateful.'

*sigh* - I work at a University myself, and it saddens me to see how 
many projects are done in isolation without communication with others.  
Ant's source code has had these tags in them, readily apparent.  If you 
check Ant out from CVS (surely you did this, no?) you'd see a 
proposal/xdocs directory where a pretty sophisticated XDoclet-based 
generator exists to pull the metadata tags and integrate with 

This issue has been discussed on this e-mail list and the dev one a 
fair bit.  These archives are searchable.

So, you did not try "everything", as that would have included looking 
at the source code in depth and asking around on these lists.  Sorry 
for giving you a hard time, but it is frustrating to see wheels 
reinvented due to lack of knowledge.  Wheels reinvented for something 
creative and better is a different story.

What else could we have done to make the knowledge of what already 
exists more apparent and easy for you to have found?

And like a lot of University projects, they get abandoned just when 
things start to get interesting.  What will happen with your project 
when it reaches the "final version"?  Will you continue to work on it?


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