ant-user mailing list archives

Site index · List index
Message view « Date » · « Thread »
Top « Date » · « Thread »
From "Rich Wagner" <>
Subject Re: New Ant GUI - 'Ant's Nest'
Date Thu, 06 Jan 2005 21:18:24 GMT

I saw this text on the "Ant's Nest" web site:

>>Yet there exists very few GUI's to help create Ant build files
>>and it is Ant's Nest's aim to change this. The main way it will
>>do this is through an intuitive drag 'n' drop interface, with
>>support on how to assemble valid tasks and targets. This will
>>be done by using the 'Ant Meta-Model', a collection of files
>>that describe features of Ant, e.g. how tasks are made up and
>>which features are deprecated.

Have you considered using reflection, in addition to meta-model files?  In 
other words, imagine searching Ant's classpath for task classes, and then 
using reflection to (for instance) discover what attributes each task class 

I realize this might not be able to give you all of the information your GUI 
might need, such as help text for each task that describes what how the task 
works.  But the advantage of using reflection is that your GUI might then 
support custom/extension tasks.  That is, if as a developer, I wrote my own 
task classes and added them to Ant's classpath, then the proposed technique 
could find my additional task classes and your GUI could potentially then 
help to create instances of my custom tasks in buildfiles...

Just a thought...

-- Rich Wagner

P.S.  Speaking of per-task help...  If your GUI doesn't already, it might be 
nice for it to provide a help feature that -- given a task name -- launches 
a browser and displays the Ant documentation for the selected task.  Or 
instead of launching a browser, your GUI might include a simple, embedded 
HTML viewer, e.g. I believe even the standard javax.swing.JTextArea class 
supports the display of simple HTML...

Chris Clohosy wrote:

>Hi all,
>I would like to draw your attention to an open-source Ant GUI that I am 
>developing, called 'Ant's Nest'. I'm keen for your feedback and bug reports 
>on it, as it's being made especially for you guys! As you will see it's 
>largely based around a drag 'n' drop interface and an XML model of Ant 
>tasks. It can be downloaded from and any 
>problems you find please send to Another 
>feature of the program is that developers can write their own plugins, 
>allowing in the future for maybe an easier way of creating an Ant build 
>file? Anyway download it and let me know what you think :-p
>Best Wishes,

To unsubscribe, e-mail:
For additional commands, e-mail:

View raw message