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From Craeg K Strong <>
Subject [AW] Project Description: attribute or element?
Date Wed, 27 Jun 2001 03:08:57 GMT

Back in April I brought up the prospect of adding a project-wide 
description for buildfiles. Its a pretty obvious add, given the name of 
the command-line help option ("-projecthelp")!

I believe we all agreed that it would be a Good Thing. The discussion 
then centered on the choice of implementation, namely: attribute or 

Adding an optional "description" attribute to the <project> tag has the 
following advantages:

- extremely quick and easy to implement
- minimal breakage

and disadvantages:

- this attribute is likely to get very large (i.e. multi-line), more so 
even than the <target> description attribute.

Adding an optional "description" element has the following advantages:

- more in-line with XML philosophy (content does not belong in attributes)
- more flexible: like <property>, we could allow <description> elements 
to appear other places as well, such as within targets.
- more extensible: in future, we could even provide for embedded markup 
like stylebook, or use <![CDATA[ to embed HTML markup, etc.

and disadvantages:

-More likely to break compatibility-- the most natural way to implement 
is to emulate <property> and this requires changes in many more places...

I personally believe that the description element is the better way to 
go; however, I fully appreciate the importance of stability and 
backwards compatibility.
Therefore, I (somewhat regretfully) propose adding a description 
attribute as a temporary solution until Ant2 happens.

Let me know if I missed any important arguments for or against. 
Otherwise, please vote for "element" or "attribute." I promise a quick 
turnaround on the patch :-)



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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