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From "Chris Todd" <>
Subject RE: Ant Shell (antsh) - any thoughts?
Date Thu, 22 Feb 2001 17:11:03 GMT

Very nice, I really like this.  It has tons of potential, but works quite
well already.  On my box, it is *much* faster than evoking the standard
ant.bat script every time.

I also like Peter Donald's suggestion of maintaining a bash-like "history",
but I thought I would add two more feature requests/suggestions:
1)  a "reparse" command that would run the build.xml file through the parser
again.  This would allow you to change the build file, then re-run your
targets without exiting antshell.  Granted, the only thing you avoid with a
"reparse" command is the JVM start-up time, but on slow boxes like mine,
that's pretty significant.  :-)
2)  a mechanism for setting property values interactively.  For example,
"set $ant.compiler=jikes" or some such command.  I don't recall at the
moment when property values are set, at parse time or at run time, so this
might depend on Ant, but I can imagine how it might be useful.


>-----Original Message-----
>From: ZACHCIAL,SLAWOMIR (HP-France,ex1)
>Sent: Thursday, February 22, 2001 7:55 AM
>Subject: Ant Shell (antsh) - any thoughts?
>Last night I thought I would be great to avoid to start JVM and to
>parse the
>Ant build file each time I want to do a build. I know that there is an
>ongoing effort called 'antidote' but I was thinking rather about a command
>line tool.
>And that's how Ant Shell (antsh) is born :-)
>Ant Shell is a command line tool with build targets as the shell commands.
>It has also (at the moment) 2+1 additional commands: exit, and help - which
>does the same as Ant run with '-projecthelp' option. When you just hit
>"enter" the last used target(s) (shown in square brackets in antsh prompt)
>will be used (that's where the trick is :-). If the commands are
>targets you
>may run several at the same time (just like with Ant) - they are
>space-separated (just like with Ant :-).
>Its main purpose is not to be a full-featured shell (like bash for example)
>but rather to offer some basic functionalities and especially to avoid to
>start JVM and parse build file each time.
>The current implementation is far from being the state of the art - it's
>much more a prototype and a proof of concept. I just took the Ant's "Main"
>class, renamed it and changed it slightly. I had also to leave it in
>"" package as it uses some protected methods (ex.
>I would like to know your thoughts about it. Please try it
>(attached to this
>message) and tell me if the tool like this makes sense, and if
>yes, what are
>the other features that would be useful. I might become the Ant's
>interactive mode (ex. ant -interactive).
>If you think antsh is useful I'd love to do a clean implementation and add
>all the demanded features.
>It was done with Ant 1.2, JDK 1.3, Win2000. I haven't test it -
>just built a
>couple of targets. To install it unzip the file in the ANT_HOME directory.
>If you want to look at the source code - it's in antsh.jar.
>You use it exactly the same way as Ant - the command name is
>"antsh" instead
>of "ant".
>There is also a screenshot :-) - "antsh[_last_targets_]> " is the antsh
>Best Regards,
>Slawek Zachcial

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