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From Stephane Bailliez <>
Subject FW: [cciug] RE: Switching over to Ant
Date Mon, 13 Aug 2001 16:29:31 GMT

This is from rational clearcase mailing list. it was forwarded to me by my
clearcase admin. Thought it might be from interest.

From: Franz, Paul 

Here is my experience with Ant at my company:

1) It is a great tool for developers, not the best for creating
complex deployments. I have a set of Perl scripts and a makefile that does
creates the daily builds. These builds are used by the developers to speed
up their work and also used to create the directory structure that will be
put on the CDs that will ship to the customers. (Note: By using Cygwin I am
able to make sure that the build script can be used in both under NT and

2) In Ant create a set of tasks in the build.xml that are the tasks
that the developers need to do. Here the Ant-based environment is pretty
simple. The tasks that are part of the current Ant-based enviroment are
codegen (we have a process to generate EJBs and the like), compile and
deploy_bean (runs ejbc possibly for multiple beans). This makes it easy on
the developers and I keep the "old" way of building the daily build using
the makefile and Perl Scripts. The reason I have for the separation is that
developers do not create the deployments that get sent out to the customers
therefore alot of the functionality that can be done in the makefile-based
environment is not needed. One thing to keep in mind about Ant is that the
dependency checking is pretty rudimentary (if you have not successfully
compiled the source code). I have my daily build Perl Scripts analyze the
source code and add dependencies based on the imports. (Note: To do create
the Ant-based environment that is currently used. I had to create 13 new
task definitions. Since some of the things I needed to do, like string
manipulation, are not part of the core/optional tasks included with the Ant

Paul Franz 

-----Original Message-----
From: Warren Freeman []
Sent: Sunday, August 12, 2001 9:56 PM
To: ''; ''; '';
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Subject: Switching over to Ant

Recently the developers in our company have made a decision to replace the
Perl scripts they were using in their local Windows NT/Windows 2000
development environments with an Ant-based interface which can perform a
variety of tasks including:

1. Code extraction of selected code versions from ClearCase (we are
using snapshot views)
2. Compilation of the code with Jikes
3. Running WebLogic ejbc to create the Enterprise Java Beans
4. Deployment of the resulting set of build files to one or more
WebLogic instances running on the developers' local machines

Now that we are using an Ant-based interface in the development environment,
the developers would very much like to extend the Ant-based environment to
go cross-platform and replace much of the rest of our formal build and
deployment environment (which currently consists primarily of additional
Perl scripts along with some Unix shell scripts running under Solaris 7).
The developers feel that switching over to a cross-platform Ant-based
environment would simplify our overall build environment and result in gains
in productivity.

In our company, we have an interop environment consisting of development
platforms running under Windows NT/Windows 2000 and a formal
build/deployment environment running under Solaris 7 which we use to perform
our nightly builds and deploy our product code to multiple instances of
WebLogic running on both Windows and Unix platforms.  Our Company's product
is Java-based, and our product uses a lot of XML, HTML and JSP code. 

If we are going to switch our formal build/deployment environment over to an
Ant-based environment (which now appears to be pretty certain), I would
certainly like to make the transition process go as smoothly as possible.  I
have looked through the CCIUG archives to get a sense of what people's
experiences have been with using Ant (and specifically included some of the
people who have posted on this topic in the CCIUG mailing list in my "To"
list -- I hope that is alright), and I have looked at and downloaded a lot
of information on Ant from

I have two questions: 

1. Given our current build environment and the type of product that we are
building, and knowing that there are other tools out there that we could
have used including clearmake, Gnu make and cook, is switching to Ant the
best decision we could have made?

2. If we proceed with this transition to an Ant-based environment (which
seems pretty certain at this point), what is the best way to go about it so
that it can be done as smoothly as possible and so that we can get the
greatest befit from it?'  

As much as possible, I would like to draw from other people's experiences
using Ant so as not to repeat any unnecessary mistakes and so as to get the
maximum benefit from using Ant as quickly as possible.  Any words of advice
or references to additional good sources of information would be gratefully


Warren Freeman
Software Configuration Manager
Vendavo Corporation

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