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From David Weintraub <>
Subject Re: Target unless question
Date Thu, 13 Aug 2009 20:46:15 GMT
On Thu, Aug 13, 2009 at 3:09 PM, Scot P. Floess <> wrote:

> I was under the impression that using an unless attribute on a target will
> not run the target if that property is set...  However, if there are is a
> depends attribute defined, the targets in the depend are run regardless?

Remember: Ant is not a programming language, but a build system that uses a
dependency matrix to determine the build order. Unlike a programming
language, you do not specify the actual build order of your targets.
Instead, you merely state that one target depends upon another. Ant then
uses this information to actually determine the build order. Ant builds this
dependency matrix first before even looking at what is required to execute
the targets.

Your example, although is an excellent test, isn't that realistic since you
are passing the "stop" property on the command line itself. More likely, the
property is set by a previous dependent target execution.

However, let's assume that I do want to use that property on the command
line to determine whether or not to execute a specific target. Let's say
that my build file looks like this:

    <target name="compile"/>
    <target name="package
    <target name="compress"
    <target name="deploy"

In this example, I want to execute my "deploy" target. Normally, I want to
do my compress step which removes debugging information from my software

However, sometimes, for debugging purposes, I need to install my package
with debugging information. I could execute this:

$ ant -Ddont-compress deploy

In this case, I do want to execute my "compile" and "package" targets before
I do my deployment. However, I don't want the compress target to execute. If
I pre-tested my property "dont-compress" and because of that, I decided not
to execute my compile and package, the deploy target would fail.

David Weintraub

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