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From "Patrick (Gus) Heck" <patrick.h...@olin.edu>
Subject Re: [VOTE] target-less build files
Date Fri, 19 Jul 2002 17:51:01 GMT


Aaron Siri wrote:
> 
> Interesting discussion.  I've been using Ant quite a bit recently, and have
> been enjoying it.  Here is my 2 cents:
> 
> 1. Do people want a build system or a scripting language?  Target-less files
> and top-level tasks start to move Ant into the realm of scripting language
> but without any of the built-in control constructs of a real scripting
> language.  This can easily become a slippery slope as people see Ant as a
> neat way to make a bunch of <task> calls but then get frustrated when trying
> to use Ant for logic-heavy/algorithmic purposes that are hard to realize in
> XML.  

With immutable properties, a lack of looping structures and no
conveneient way to generate a return value from a task, etc., there
isn't much danger of people using it for anything but the most basic
sort of macro-command like scripting. And for these things a shell
script or batch file probably is easier and faster and more flexable.
Thus I suspect the main use will be for initialization. This I think
would be encouraged and clarified if the non-target elements were forced
to appear before targets... :).

Targetless files is just another way of saying all tasks available at
the top level for initialization. As for things executed after all is
done... if we put all before's in front of targets, we could put all
afters after targets....

Wouldn't that make things ultra - intuitive? :)

Still no problem for property/taskdef/typedef since I think those things
are esentially immutable anyway. I know properties are at least. I don't
know how hard that would be to do though. I have this sneaking suspicion
that xml parsers arn't set up to understand ordering like this, but that
is based on exactly 0 experience with parsers, and a rough guess.

Gus

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