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From "Leo Sutic" <>
Subject private to protected and extensibility of Ant
Date Sat, 14 Sep 2002 14:34:14 GMT

I recently upgraded to Ant 1.5 and saw some of my code break.

No big deal that, but I'd like to 

 + offer some feedback on Ant

 + make one suggestion

Ant is good, otherwise I wouldn't use it. Now for the bad part.

 + Ant is difficult to extend.

   Take the Ant task for example. I have a subclass (now broken)
   that allows the addition of a subclass of Property to the
   Ant task. The Property subclass works just like its superclass,
   but it is lazily evaluated. I won't dwell on it, but basically
   I have a subclass of Ant, that would like to add a subclass of
   Property to the invoked project.

   In Ant 1.4, I could do this:

   public LazyProperty createLazyProperty() {
     if (p1 == null) {

        LazyProperty p= (LazyProperty) p1.createTask ("lazyproperty");
        if (p == null) {
            p1.addTaskDefinition ("lazyproperty", LazyProperty.class);
            p= (LazyProperty)p1.createTask("lazyproperty");
        p.setUserProperty (true);
        properties.addElement (p);
        return p;

    In Ant 1.5, init() and properties are private to Ant.

    A similar situation occurred when I wanted the SQLExec task to
    output data in XML format. I ended up simply copying the SQLExec
    (not subclassing) and added my functionality to the copy. Much

    So I would like to, well, *raise awareness*, that you shouldn't be 
    over-eager with the private and final keywords, because it severely
    cripples the extensibility of Ant itself.


    In all simplicity. Add a 

       protected void addProperty(Property property) {
        if (newProject == null) {

    method to the Ant task. I would like to have protected accessors
    for all fields, but for now, this is enough.


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