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From Ross Gardler <r...@saafe.org>
Subject Re: Build Environment
Date Thu, 02 Jan 2003 15:06:33 GMT
I've not looked at Maven for quite some time so I will only comment on 
Centipede here:

Berin Loritsch wrote:
>                          -o0 Weaknesses 0o-
> Centipede
> ---------
> * The project descriptors are not as easily intuitive.  You have
>   an XML based properties file, as well as a meta-build ANT file.
>   Why not just declare everything once like Maven, and take care
>   of the dependencies automatically.

A better way of handling project and build descriptors is currently 
under discussion.

> * Centipede's default install does not automatically download and
>   install missing cents.  Cents are required for Centipede to do its
>   work, but all the required Cents are not included for some strange
>   reason.

Centipede's default install does not include any of the cents in order 
to minimise the download size, however, all required cents should be 
downloaded when you build your project. They are downloaded to a central 
repository so each cent need only be downloaded once per site.

There is no need to manually download anything other than the default 
install. If you had a different experience please report this as a bug 
and we'll deal with it (there is a known bug causing problems behind 
authenticating proxies).

There is a separate bundle of cents should you prefer to download them 
all and install them manually for some reason.

> * In the absence of a meta-build ANT file, Centipede does not provide
>   a way to "seed" a new project like Forrest.  It should be easy to
>   do, and it would be better than trying to figure out what to do
>   from the site documentation.

There is a templates project in CVS which provides a number of such 
"seed" projects. However, there is not currently a target for seeding a 
new project automatically in the way that Forrest does, you can expect 
one very soon though, I will tackle it today.

> * Way too much information spit out at the user.  Mountains of log
>   files go by, some of the actions appear to be recursive (which
>   always makes me nervous), and there is no intuitive way to lower
>   the threshold of the log messages.  I am not trying to debug
>   Centipede--I just want to debug Avalon.
> Maven
> -----
> * No way to "seed" a new project like Forrest does.  I think work
>   might be underway for it though.
> * Maven downloads alot of stuff to get started.  If you don't have
>   a fat internet connection, your first build takes a really long
>   time.
> * Difficult to extend with project-specific modules.  The machinery
>   is there, but it has a lot of rough edges.  The Forrest module is
>   not included by default.
>                        -o0 Unclear Things 0o-
> Both projects have the typical Open Source failings.  Documentation
> is sparse, and typically only covers what the developers were
> concentrating on.  For example, both focus more attention to
> _converting_ an existing project than to _creating_ a new project
> from scratch.  Between the two, Maven does have marginally better
> documentation.

Fair comment. We have however, just completed a system that 
automatically generates documentation for our cents (plugins) from the 
build files and module descriptors. With this new documentation system 
you can expect more rapid development of docs since developers no longer 
need to maintain them separately from code.

> Centipede
> ---------
> * It looks like Centipede might be able to function like Maven to
>   download dependencies on demand.  I just can't seem to figure out
>   how it would work.

It does, the fact that it hasn't done so for you seems to indicate that 
you may be hitting one of our known bugs: if you are behind an 
authenticating proxy the auto download. So far there is no-one 
clamouring for a fix for this - if this is what stops you from using 
Centipede I am sure we'll tackle it for you.

> * Can I declare my build properties in a Properties file?  It would
>   actually be more intuitive than the XML variation, and a lot more
>   dense.  XML is not a panacea--it is a tool, and for this purpose
>   it is overkill.  It works quite well for the project descriptor,
>   but not for properties.

I'm not 100% sure, someone will correct me if I am wrong, I don't 
*think* this is currently possible, but could be easily included if 
necessary. The reason I prefer to use XML is because I can generate 
documentation from it very easily.

> * If I use Forrest directly, I can stick my doc files in
>   src/documentation/content/.  If I use it through Centipede then
>   I have to stick it in src/documentation/content/xdocs/.  There
>   is a mismatch.

The forrest cent has now been updated to the latest version of forrest 
(Forrest itself used to use src/documentation/content/xdocs/). However, 
the location of these files is configurable and can be changed if you 
already have a directory structure you want to stick with. With the new 
version of the forrest cent you can build your docs independently of 
centipede by running the forrest command, although you will not get 
updated cent outputs for obvious reasons.

The location of all files in the project, not just docs, can be 
configured in this way. You mentioned in your preamble that you have 
been experimenting with new directory structures in order to use 
Centipede. This is not necessary as you should be able to configure 
Centipede to work with your current structure.

> Maven
> -----
> * What happens if I don't have an internet connection after I do
>   the initial install?  Will it be useless?
>                      -o0 The Bottom Line 0o-
> Neither build system is perfect.  After my excersize, I have come
> to the conclusion that Maven is the more mature of the two build
> systems--but Centipede is catching up fast.  In fact, if the current
> pace of development for the two projects continue, Centipede may
> very well overtake Maven in features and ease of use.
> I think Maven has a lower barrier of entry to the user, but
> Centipede is becoming easier to use and more developer friendly.
> I am a fan of black box tools like Maven, but if I need to do
> something a little out of the ordinary, I like the flexibility
> of Centipede.
> For Avalon, I want to depart from the hienous build system we
> have now.  We have stretched ANT to its limits, and have many
> many JARs in our CVS.  Our recursive build in Excalibur is
> problematic, and there is no clean way to simply declare
> dependencies--or even create a dependency graph.  When you have
> one project that depends on another, that depends on yet another,
> you would like to know all the dependencies that are required
> for your build.  Also, we (or is it just me?) would like to
> provide two versions of a project--A smaller JAR where the user
> has to include all the other dependencies, and a larger JAR
> where all Avalon code is included--making it easier for a
> user to use some of the larger and more complex subprojects.
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