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From Alex SF <>
Subject CTL: New Ant-friendly deployment and administration tool
Date Tue, 29 Apr 2008 01:16:37 GMT

Hi All,

I've noticed a steady amount of questions on the list that are about using
Ant "beyond the build" for tasks like application deployment or systems
administration. It seems that many of questions are around the trickiness of
dispatching commands to various remote machines (essentially doing what is
just as painful to do with shell scripts), as well as a lack of support from
a domain-specific framework.

I'm an old hand at using Ant for build automation, but I often would run
into issues when I wanted to use those Ant skills to deploy the builds or
perform prerequisite systems administration steps. These recurring hurdles
motivated me to build a tool to help fill the gaps.

The last few months I've been developing a new Sourceforge project called
ctl-dispatch (CTL for short). CTL's goal is to provide a toolset and
framework that's geared to automating application deployment tasks and
provide an infrastructure where you can define and execute deployment and
operation recipes.

(CTL project home page: )
(Sourceforge project home page:

The basic CTL concept is that it provides a "Control Dispatcher" that
handles the network dispatching for you so you can focus on the actual
task-specific steps of your deployment process. CTL comes with pre-built
cross-platform utilities so you don't have to script actions like file
distribution or process and port checking. You can also write your own
custom recipes (called modules) and share them with others in your
organization.  Custom modules are defined in XML file and your procedures
can be specified in Ant or an alternative scripting language (eg, groovy,
jruby, Perl, Python, *nix shell, Windows batch, etc).

CTL documents a growing list cookbook examples that show you how to solve a
number of common problems like file distribution, process management,
parallel execution of management tasks, and error handling. I'll be
continually expand the cookbook as the project evolves.

(CTL cookbook: )

With CTL, Ant is a first class citizen all the way. First, Ant is one of the
core components on which CTL is built. Secondly, you can call CTL and CTL's
utilities directly from your existing Ant build files or, if you want,  you
can create your own custom CTL modules by dropping your Ant code directly
into a CTL module definition file.

(See for CTL-For-Ant users: )

CTL is licensed under the The Apache License 2.0 and is currently being used
by the consulting side of my company, ControlTier, in a number of our client

It's a new project but we've taken it on the road and have started getting
lots of great feedback we've already started incorporating into the snapshot
releases. I'd love to hear feedback or suggestions from the Ant community.

And if you're going to JavaOne stop by and say hello. I'll be hanging out at
the ControlTier booth.
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