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From Gus Heck <>
Subject A path for Ant 2? (was Re: FYI: Blog "Complex build systems need a real language" found)
Date Thu, 22 Jan 2004 17:21:18 GMT
This thread has somewhat stirred up my brain a bit and a thought that 
floated to the top goes like this:

We do want to be able to write simple declaritive build scripts for 
builds. I think this is a major virture of Ant. But clearly when one 
ventures into the "system of builds" and such there are people who feel 
they need a more programatic tool. Maybe what is happening here is that 
we are trying to make Ant do too much... feature creep in essence.

So the interesting (to me) part of the thought I had is this: Perhaps 
Ant is the tool for defining small declarative builds, or portions of a 
complex build system, and another more programatic tool should be 
created to take a series of Ant builds and coordinate them in large 
projects. While custom tasks are a great tool to have, and that option 
should always remain open, java is not a scripting language, it is an OO 
language, and one winds up with a fair bit of OO overhead (that's a fun 
one to say :) ). It takes some time and effort to learn where to find 
the things you need to write a custom task (like the use of 
DirectoryScanner, and the half dozen types of results it creates and the 
difference between getNotIncludedFiles, getExcludedFiles, and 

Maybe this is the real role for Ant 2?  Ant 2 could use Ant 1 builds (or 
something close that can be autocreated from ant 1 builds) as atomic 
units, and provide a more comprehensive means of coordinating them, 
passing properties into them, etc.

We could promote it like like a movie sequel :) "Ant II: The Colony"


Stefan Bodewig wrote:

>On Wed, 21 Jan 2004, Jan Materne <> wrote:
>I don't read TSS and haven't followed the article, but Jon is the
>build guy at ThoughtWorks, Martin Fowler's company.  Martin has
>already blogged[1] about the same issue and my main comment[2] is that
>it is true.  "Complex builds need a real language" and to me the real
>language is Java - write tasks.
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