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From Jean-Marc Vanel <>
Subject Re: Ant to manipulate URL's and not only files ?
Date Mon, 26 Nov 2001 18:47:48 GMT
Thank you for all your comments and good news about <style> task improvement going on.

First thing about listing the contents of a http: directory; it ' s not true that you can't.
With Apache, if the webmaster didn't provide an index.html file, an HTTP response like this
is generated for an  http: directory :

  <TITLE>Index of /xmlpub</TITLE>
<H1>Index of /xmlpub</H1>
<PRE><IMG SRC="/icons/blank.gif" ALT="     "> <A HREF="?N=D">Name</A>
                   <A HREF="?M=A">Last modified</A>       <A HREF="?S=A">Size</A>
 <A HREF="?D=A">Description</A>
<IMG SRC="/icons/folder.gif" ALT="[DIR]"> <A HREF="/">Parent Directory</A>
       08-Sep-2001 19:59      -
<IMG SRC="/icons/unknown.gif" ALT="[   ]"> <A HREF="HTMLtable2XML.xslt">HTMLtable2XML.xslt</A>
     31-Oct-2001 18:29     3k
<IMG SRC="/icons/unknown.gif" ALT="[   ]"> <A HREF="append.xslt">append.xslt</A>
            31-Oct-2001 18:29     1k

It could be easily parsed by an Ant task.

Second I would like to share with you my vision of using Ant as an installation tool. Allready
with the current Ant 1.4 one can use <get> and <ftp> tasks to install a software
in a declarative way. A single build.xml can manage all: download sources or binaries, compare
MD5 sums, compare timestamps, compile, add a command in the user's PATH, etc. For instance
this could be done for Ant 's Optional Tasks. As a further improvement I would like, by using
URL's, to abstract from the actual protocol used to get
files for installation: FTP, HTTP, files, CVS, WebDAV, ... This was the subject of my original
post. So instead of <get> and <ftp> tasks, just <copy> would be used, while
the actual URL's would be parameters or environment.

Another cool idea :
ant -buildfile  install-from-sources

This would achieve the same result, and would be probably easy to implement in Ant. It would
be the application's developpers' responsibility to write the suitable build.xml with the
current Ant <get> and <ftp> tasks.

Would'nt this greatly simplify installation (and de-installation) of any Web-distributed software
? In this time when some monopolistic software vendors ;=) claim to be fully Web-oriented,
the free software must leverage on its openness ...

Jean-Marc Vanel ===) CV, planning, software resources

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