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From Kenneth Wood <>
Subject RE: Brent Rector on Msbuild vs Ant
Date Wed, 05 Nov 2003 19:31:05 GMT
Just for fun, I let Google translate it. 
It isn't great prose, but it's more understandable
than I expected.

See below.

-----Original Message-----
From: Steve Loughran [] 
Sent: Wednesday, November 05, 2003 12:06 PM
To: Ant Developers List
Subject: Re: Brent Rector on Msbuild vs Ant

Here goes then, bearing in mind I havent spoken french since '99 and my 
language skills there were mainly focused around safety warnings to do 
with antimatter and radiation "Danger, risque de radiation", bicicyle 
parts and telling french girls that I am very interested in what they 
have to say...

The author says that it was a 1h15 presentation about Ant. It was 
clearly apparent that MS build is a good copy of Ant and also Nant. If the
two speakers had started their talk by acknowledging that they 
supported the efforts of the NAnt community and that they participated 
in the development of the framework, they could still [equally] have 
justified their decision to completely rewrite it for the reasons listed 

And for all to acknowledge you well, we had right during 1h15 to a splendid
presentation of.... ant!. That can appear surprising known as as that but
MsBuild is indeed a certified copy of Ant or rather of Nant. If the two
announcers began their session by affirming that they supported the efforts
of the Nant community and that they took part in the development of
Framework, they also justified their decision all to rewrite by several
reasons that us you lower listels.

Back to Steve
concerning the techicanl details, the notion of Target is the same. 
Tasks are an equally integral part of the project. The plagiarism (sorry 
to use the term, but it is clearly the case) goes up to the API in the 
naming of the tasks, and the manner of using the properties [maybe 
attributes] is absolutely identical. But where are the differences, you 
ask me? Well, the developers had the idea to add functionality that is 
not in Ant to date. This is all explained the book "Introducing 
Longhorn" that was distributed free to participants during the conference

Concerning the technical part, the concept of Target was taken again with
the identical one. The Task also form integral part of the project.
Plagiarism (sorry of the term but it is indeed the case) goes until taking
again the API one in the naming even classes. The interface of Custom Task
are called Task, the method to implement execute(...) and the manner of
using the properties is absolutely identical. But where are the differences
will say to me you? And well, the developers had the good idea to add some
nonexisting functionalities in Ant today. The whole is explained page 36 of
the work "Introducing Longhorn" distributed free to the participants during
the conference.

Back to Steve
[the bogus claims reprinted]
We leave you to form  your own opinion on the subject. The positive side 
is that an Ant developer [user?] will not be really, but also really, 
not lost with MsBuild.

We let to you form your own opinion about the subject. The positive side
that a Ant developer will not be really, but really then not being lost with

[I havent been able to really translate that last sentence. I would 
guess it means that an ant user will feel at home with MSBuild]

Google couldn't translate it either!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

> Let me add to your comments.
>>1. Ant does not provide built-in target dependency analysis -a 
>>requirement for a scalable build system
> <>
> And your case where name mangling is more difficult than the current 
> engine knows is a good point as well.  We have a similar case in 
> <rmic>, where the Weblogic compiler adapter produces a different 
> result from Sun's.
> And then there is the case of dependencies between classes.  If 
> superclass and subclass end up in different assemblies and you change 
> the superclass, the naive target dependency analysis will not 
> recompile the subclass.  And people will never think of doing 
> something like the <depend> task as this is done by MSBuild.

no. I think that is why they arent going to do C++ support; if you have 
to list dependencies by hand, stick to automake. Oh, wait, they dont 
support that, do they.

>>3. Ant does not have a normalized concept of task inputs and outputs; 
>>a necessity for a build system to support intra-task communication.
> We do have references, we just don't use them as much as we could 
> <>.
> I'm trying to get my thoughts on this into a better shape and will 
> have a proposal for the 1.7 timeframe.

This sounds interesting.

>>4. Unlike Ant, MSbuild is a secure build engine. MSBuild introduces 
>>the notion of partially trusted builds, project level sandboxing and 
>>task level sandboxing.
> I couldn't find anything about this in the public docs about MSBuild.

me neither. Which is why this smacks of a briefing rather than brent 
doing his own research.

 >>5. MSbuild has a richer extensibility model than ant.
 > I was laughing out loud on reading this.

yes, I thought maybe it was a typo. You dont get more extensible than 
having no schema and the complete source to play with.

 >>6. Ant does not have the ability to import (macro insert) parts of  >>the
project file  >  >  > It is fair to say that this is true for all released
versions of Ant  > (so let's get 1.6 out of door quickly ;-).  And only if
you deny  > entities, of course.

yes, but MSBuild is a year from shipping. They should really be 
comparing msbuild to Ant1.7 release; for now 1.6 vs MSBuild beta is the 
best comparision.

 >>What are we going to do now. I am feeling ruthless.
 > Wait until it apperas in MSDN to address it?  Address it right now?  >
Judging from my blog's referers, people are searching for infomation  > on
MSBuild a lot ATM, so we may as well set the record straight right  > from
the beginning.

no, we are going to our retaliation in early, as they say in rugby. I 
will send some emails to the relevant authorities. One nice thing about 
MS compared to Sun is that they are very easily contacted, and usually 
pretty responsive. If they dont respond, that is when you have to worry. 
  It usually means they dont want to tell you something bad.

now, they dont have to care what I say, but we do have the option of 
pulling all .NET support from ant1.6...we will just have to see if that 
matters to them. It'll be an interesting test of conflict of the 
tactical 'get .net developers today' over the strategic 'own the 
developers forever'.

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