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From "Albrecht, Matt" <>
Subject Using Ant for testing
Date Thu, 03 Jan 2002 18:44:11 GMT
I wasn't sure if this is for the Ant-User list or the Dev list, but I
decided that since this directly relates to development work on Ant, as well
as the use-of-Ant philosophy, that this would be the appropriate list.
Please redirect me if anyone figures differently.

As the head QA guy at my company, I've done a fair share of using ant for
builds, as well as some various inner-ant hacking.  What I discovered was
ant's use in setting up environments for testing, especially in the way of
cleaning, installing, and so forth necessary files for testing.

I've even gone as far as to perform simple data-driven tests using Ant and
it's scripting support.  Here, I'm using ant's datatype capability to store
shared data (say, a server connection), which can be easily configured
through property files and ant scripts.  And, yes, I've even done hack
assembly of ant scripts through concatenation as well as XSL-T transforms.
Ant works well here, since I can easily create test dependencies.

Now, the general rule I've found for tool usage is: if it works, use it.  So
I'm considering making an extension to JUnit to allow tests to use Ant
datatypes (via references), which will allow for easy changes in data, and
JUnit test reuse through multiple data sets (this removes the need for tons
of JavaScript).  (Yes, this overlaps in functionality with the JXUnit
project at )

My questions are:
   1. Does extending Ant beyond the basic build domain into the testing
domain compromise any innate scope for Ant?  In other words, does Ant sound
like the *right* tool for what I'm doing?
   2. If this does sound like a valid extension, would anyone else listening
out there find this of use?
   3. For this project, I'm now considering creating a remote-callout to an
Ant server on a foreign machine, to allow for executing my ant tests on
multiple platforms from a single script.  Is there anything out there right
now that does something similar, or should I research building this myself?

Thanks for all the help.

-Matt Albrecht

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