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From Nicolas Lalevée <>
Subject Re: Easyant - Plugin conflict management
Date Sat, 17 Aug 2013 12:20:29 GMT
Long overdue response.

Le 3 août 2013 à 13:33, Jean-Louis Boudart <> a écrit

> Hi there,
> It becomes necesssary to manage conflicts between plugins.
> This issues has been raised many time and is referenced on jira[1].
> Currently easyant offers import task taking some specific attributes to
> resolve a plugin (mainly organisation, module name and revision).
> <ea:import org="mycompany" module="myplugin" revision="x.x"/>
> This task will :
> * resolve the given plugin or buildtypr
> * create a dynamic classpath for this plugin
> * expose location of others extra files through properties (ex
> checkstyle.xml containing checkstyle rules, this files is shipped in the
> plugin). Thoses properties will then be reused by the plugin itself
> * import the real ant file (invoke the importTask from ant core under the
> hood)
> This task is currently used :
> * dynamically by easyant to load system plugins (skeletons for example)
> * dynamically by easyant when you specify <ea:build> or <ea:plugin> tags
> in module.ivy files
> * invoked in plugin ant file itselfs
> * invoked in module.ant if users has complex needs
> Additionnal there is two "alliases" for this task to import plugins and
> buildtype.
> <ea:plugin module="compile-java" revision="0.9"/>
> <ea:plugin module="build-std-java" revision="0.9"/>
> If organisation attribute is not specified on aliases  default one will be
> used.
> It does the job but it doesn't handle conflict between plugins.
> Some plugins relies on abstract ones.
> Exemple:
> package-jar depends on abstract-package, abstract-package depends on
> abstract-compile, but compile-java plugin also depends on abstract-compile.
> Which versi of abstract-compile will be taken in case both plugins load
> different version ? The answer is the first one !
> This becomes more problematic on buildtypes, as buildtypes loads a set of
> plugins (including themself others abstract-plugins).
> Ok so now you should have a quick picture of the problem.
> What could be done  ?
> We can rely on ivy to describe dependency on plugins. But then how could we
> know in which order plugins should be loaded ?
> I suggest to introduce a deferred import mechanism.
> We should split responsibility in two distinct steps.
> 1 - resolve (based on ivy) the whole graph of plugins and store the resolve
> report somewhere as a reusable reference in ant project
> 2 - invoke a new import task should import already resolved plugins (the
> task could rely on the report stored as a reference in ant project)
> Exemple :
> compile java will have an ivy dependency on abstract-compile
> <dependency org="org.apache.easyant.plugins" module="abstract-compile"
> revision="1.0"/>
> The compile java ant script will import the resolved plugin
> <ea:import-deferred org="org.apache.easyant.plugins"
> module="abstract-compile"/>
> Note that i'm not fixed yet with the task name. Any suggestion (even for
> alliases are welcome).
> To maintain backward compatibility i'm in favor of creating new aliases
> "import-plugin" and "import-buildtype" instead of reusing existing ones.
> People would be able to continue using existing task with known the
> limitation (no conflict management on plugins).
> This can help if someone wants to load plugins in module.ant after setting
> a few properties.
> I also recommend adding a warning on existing task to recommend people
> using the new import mechanism.
> What do you think ?

I see 3 points here.

First, managing plugin dependencies: with Ivy, of course, we couldn't agree more :)

Then about creating new tasks to keep backward compatibility. I think we can break backward
compatibility. Easyant is not yet 1.0 and I do not see much activity on the user list. I would
prefer bugging the current users than having an error-prone and deprecated task around.

Third there is the resolve in two steps. I really like the idea. I am not sure though if we
need this in order to bring conflict management in plugin dependencies. And I am not sure
how far you are willing to go.
Actually this is a larger topic which has bugging me recently. The way we use the ivy.xml
is generally either to tight or insecure. For instance when using version ranges in an ivy.xml,
since the content of the repository is expected to change over time, then the resolve may
change over time since new versions might fit the range. Range makes things unreliable over
time, so often I restrict myself to not use any range. But it's kind of a shame to not use
ranges in a dependency manager.
I continued experimenting with the OSGi mapping in Ivy. And the OSGi version semantics are
very loose. It is because it represents what versions of software it is compatible with, not
the versions we will be using in your specific unit test or application. So relying on OSGi
manifest to resolve dependencies is not safe at all. That's why I implemented the fixdeps
[1] task. From a very loose specification of the dependencies, it will produce an ivy.xml
which is very tight and secure.
Then, when adding dependencies to a project, we edit the ivy-specification.xml and run fixdeps.
The build then relies on the produced ivy.xml. A nice side effect is that since there is only
non transitive fixed dependencies to resolve, resolve is fast: either the module is here either
it's not. And with proper caching, everything works with the filesystem.
But, as wrote above, I'm not sure if that's why you suggested the two steps resolve.



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