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From Steve Loughran <>
Subject Re: Exception in Style
Date Tue, 25 Apr 2006 12:00:53 GMT
Ron Jeffries wrote:
> On Tuesday, April 25, 2006, at 5:53:51 AM, Steve Loughran wrote:
>>> What's known "out there" about how to test and regression test an
>>> Ant script?
>> the purpose of a sequence of tasks is to move a build from one state
>> "clean" to another "ready-to-ship" or "deployed".  All you need is 
>> assertions in the build to verify that the final state meets the 
>> criteria you desire.
> Hmm ... so for my site's script, I could, if the assertions were
> strong enough, assert (for all x, x.html is newer than x.xml), plus
> similarly for some named files (index.html newer than *.xml except
> bookindex.xml).
> That would be handy ... in fact it would be handy if Ant just let me
> assert the end state and did the job. ;->

I dont disagree, since that is effectively what the latest generation of 
configuration management tools do. The hard part is determining which 
actions to take to get a machine into the state you want from its 
current state, which rapidly approaches ai-hard problems for high level 
descriptions, but is more tractable for low level descriptors. The other 
problem is that developers and sysadmins often operate in a procedural 

Example, one way of creating a temp dir is to have a smartfrog sequence 
to create a dir

actions extends Sequence {
  mkdir extends Mkdir {
    parent "/tmp";
    subdir "server"

   WebServer extends Tomcat {
    rootDir  "/tmp/server";

  rmdir extends Rmdir {
    dir  "/tmp/server";

The more intersting way is to have a TempDir component that not only 
makes up a name for itself as it goes along, it deletes itself on shutdown

tempdir extends TempDir {
	deleteOnExit true;

And its dynamically generated filename is fed in to the app server:

WebServer extends Tomcat {
  rootDir  LAZY tempdir:absolutePath;

Its a different model of the word. One has a workflow of actions, one 
describes the state of a valid configuration "there is a temp dir, there 
is a web server bound to the temp dir".

>> If you check out Ant from SVN, there is an antunit antlib that provides
>> a set of assertions for testing things. I'll cover it the forthcoming
>> 2nd edition of Java Development with Ant, albeit in the context of 
>> testing tasks you write yourself.
> I'll watch for the assertions to become part of the release, and for
> the book. As I'm just using Ant for this one task in my life,
> creating my web site, I may choose not to go down the SVN path.

ahh, go on, use a <get> or two just to check state :)

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