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From James Duncan Davidson <james.david...@eng.sun.com>
Subject Re: [Proposal] Creation of the Apache XML "Ant" Project
Date Mon, 15 Nov 1999 21:11:59 GMT
> Unlike C and C++ we have few -D define like construct's, etc, etc as java
> is platform independent enough. So why not stick to simple make ? We could
> get away with just an exported MAKE, RM, CP, JAVAC, JAR and CLASSPATH
> variable. If you keep all relative live stays simple. No ../includes
> needed either :-).

Your assuming that simple make runs everywhere..... Or that I want to
pull down cygwin for my PC (which crashes on win98) or that I've got a
good solution when running on my macintosh. If the world was just unix,
then we'd all be happier programmers. :)

> I am not so sure this reinvent-ed wheel (in java this time) is going
> to be that much rounder and better.
> All I see is buzzword compliancy and general coolness sofar.

I can understand where you are coming from. Many many people on my team
here weren't keen on the idea at first. Then they used it, played with
it, saw how it worked, and now they are bigger proponents of it than I

One thing that it does better than make right out of the box for Java
based projects -- set a javac task with a src dir and a dest dir and it
will crawl the src directory, gather up every java file that needs to be
compiled, and compile it in one fell swoop. Right there you get a speed
increase. And a maintenance boost in that you don't have to call out
every little java file that needs to be compiled. Furthermore, you don't
have to worry about each package being built in the correct order.

Another data point -- even if you do run cygwin on the PC, if you do
*lots* of individual execs (which is what each of those javac, cp, mv,
etc calls do), you're performance stinks as Windows wasn't designed to
support the many little tools concept. Ant runs everything in process.
There is a hook (not done yet) which will allow arbitray execs to happen
on a specific platform, but for building Tomcat we haven't needed it

I don't want to replace make in the c/c++ world -- I'm just trying to
make a better solution for Java. Look at the equivalent in Perl -- they
use make maker to do things which, for perl on perl's platforms, is a
much better solution. This is a similar thought (though a much different

Pull down tomcat from the Jakarta trees. Run a build. Look at how the
build.xml file is configured. Then make a judgment as to it's roundness.
That's all I ask. :) 

Now, as far as whether or not it should move from Jakarta to
XML.apache.org, that's a different question. It started out in Jakarta
land (well, actually it started out 30,000 feet over the atlantic, but
that's another story). It can stay there, or move depending on where
people see it should be. I'll be fully engaged on it wherever it is.
But, it is a more general technology than servlets and it exercises XML
quite well.


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