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From Jesse Tilly <>
Subject RE: Configure->Template->Build
Date Thu, 07 Jun 2001 19:53:42 GMT
Speaking for myself, and maybe some others, resistance comes from not
wanting to see an XML programming language.  Honestly, if Ant goes the way
of JSP taglibs in this manner, I'll be disappointed.  I'll also be thinking
seriously about finding a way to create a Java/Python version of a similar
build engine so at least I'll have a solid syntax from which to start; one
that's already been tested and put through the "BNF wringer".

This is not an easy issue.  Templating, iterative XML languages,
preprocessing are all mediocre solutions.  On top of it all, the goal isn't
even clear;  designs are being based on a bunch of loose use cases and which
have not been reviewed or normalized.

Diane, as far as you being more end-user than developer, that does not
matter.  While far from being statisical fact from which to base behavior, I
have numerous personal instances of the least technial/development inclined
people being the most influential on design issues.  These people always
seem to have a much better understanding of the big picture while us dev
types get too narrow-focused.  Just my experience.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Diane Holt []
> Sent: Thursday, June 07, 2001 2:54 PM
> To:
> Subject: Re: Configure->Template->Build
> --- Peter Donald <> wrote:
> > Iteration and selection should really only be used in
> > rule/template/generic targets and thus only used by 
> experienced people.
> > Including these features in the core would however mean 
> novices would
> > use them ... probably in bad ways ;) Worse we would have to 
> support and
> > explain to them, "no don't use if ask there, use multiple 
> targes with if
> > attribute, don't use repetition here, explicitly list the data etc".
> I have to disagree with this. I don't think what 
> functionality Ant offers
> should be determined by whether it might be used "in bad ways".  I've
> cleaned up plenty of cruddy code -- C, shell-scripts (all the 
> variants),
> make (all the variants), jam, you name it -- and never once 
> did it make me
> think, "Yuck! -- 'X' must really be a crappy tool, it's being used so
> badly."  I just think, "Man, whoever wrote this sure didn't 
> know what the
> hell they were doing."
> > Already there is some people claiming the documentation is 
> lacking, but
> > we add these features in and we would have to add in 
> documentation about
> > build practices to avoid, ones to run towards etc. 
> Nor do I expect to find documentation for the tool that would 
> say "Don't
> do it this way -- do it this way instead" -- I expect to learn that by
> trial-and-error and (maybe) some good (as in: done well) examples.
> > By separating repetition and selection into another layer (ie
> > templating), it saves us mountains of hassle and ensures that people
> > using it will have a clue (or at least to some degree).
> I just don't see that -- if it's being offered, whether inside or out,
> it's still connected, officially, to Ant, and you're right 
> back where you
> say you don't want to have to be (supporting and documenting 
> it).  As I
> think I've mentioned before, the change to allow the 
> if/unless to test for
> equality (for any value [including being specified as a property], not
> just for true or false, as was recently mentioned) adds only 
> about 5 lines
> of code, and, if anything, reduces the level of complexity needed to
> explain how to use it, since it doesn't requires jumping 
> through a bunch
> of separate targets to finally get back to where you started, 
> but instead,
> is all just right there: <target name="state" 
> unless="sane=${sanity}">.
> Having a <condition> task would also seem like a 
> straightforward way to go
> -- as would (does, now that's it's [unofficially] available) 
> a <foreach>
> task.
> Diane
> =====
> (
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