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From Craeg K Strong <>
Subject [AW] Passing Properties to sub-builds
Date Fri, 22 Jun 2001 17:41:21 GMT
In a recent thread we discussed different ways of handling the problem 
of passing properties to sub-builds.
I won't repeat everything here, but I believe some of the forces we were 
trying to balance included:

1. Properties specified on the command-line should override everything, 
always (this, I believe,
       was part of the original motivation for differentiating 
properties from userProperties)
2. Its nice to be able to specify defaults for properties that would 
apply unless overridden
3. Properties should be immutable within a given buildfile
4. It is desireable (especially in light of #3) to be able to control 
which properties are passed on to sub-builds and which are not.
5. We don't want to introduce radically different behavior, at least not 
until Ant2

I believe there are some proposals floating around for a new 
"Preferences" facility in Ant 2
that might address the "defaults" issue (point 2 above).

The last I remember, some consensus was building around a possible 
approach that would provide at least a
partial solution for Ant 1.X, while preserving compatibility -- namely: 
the ability to choose whether all properties
are passed to sub-builds or not.

What about the following: a new attribute for the <ant> task called 

The attribute defaults to "true," which preserves current behavior.

If "false," the only properties passed along to the sub-build are 
userProperties and properties specified in the actual <ant> call.

While this is certainly not a comprehensive solution, it incurs minimal 
breakage, requires about 5 lines of code to implement :-),
and solves my problem nicely.
Incidentally, it almost seems as if the above behavior (the "false" 
case) was the original intent of the code-- notice the cryptic comment 
on line 152 of

    // set user-define properties

Did the original coder (duncan?) really intend the next line to read:

    Hashtable prop1 = project.getProperties();

as it stands today, or rather:

    Hashtable prop1 = project.getUserProperties();

which more closely matches the comment....?

Curious, indeed!


Craeg K. Strong                               |
Ariel Partners LLC		              | 
85 River Street, Ste. 3A                      | Fax:      (781) 647-9690
Waltham, MA 02453                             | Voice:    (781) 647-2425

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