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From "Dominique Devienne" <>
Subject Re: [DISCUSS] EasyAnt: Ant based pre packaged build system for java projects
Date Thu, 10 Jan 2008 16:13:05 GMT
On Jan 10, 2008 8:25 AM, Xavier Hanin <> wrote:
> So, what do you think? Do you think this would be useful? Would you be
> interested in contributing? Do you think a new Ant sub project would be a
> good fit?

I too like Ant, and in the past worked full time on doing ad-hoc
builds for many different projects which required *a lot* of
customization. Quite a few projects were mixed Java and C++, and a lot
of the different teams for which I was doing builds had their own way
of doing things, so having a standard and uniform project structure a
la Maven was not possible (and Maven is mostly Java-only, and
difficult to extend IMHO).

Despite this diversity, I was still regularly refactoring builds to
reuse as much as possible, and even achieved a high level of reuse,
where a project's build was down to a custom descriptor for the
project (I was doing my own dependency stuff before Ivy came along),
an import, and zero or more override targets.

But the cost for this common build that was supposed to be generic
enough to work with all these diverse projects was increased
complexity, to the point that almost no one could customize a
project's build because of the need to have a deep understanding of
the common build and Ant's intricacies. For example, every target from
a normal (concrete) build had to be split into 3 in the common
(abstract) build, to add a pre and post "hook" target to allow
customization in the concrete build. Dealing with paths and filesets
was complex. I don't remember all the details (it's been 2+ years),
but I clearly remember I was "fighting" Ant, and I have a lot of
experience with Ant.

So I guess I'm saying that I agree with you on the goal, but having
tried to achieve it myself to serve the need of the builds I was
managing proved quite difficult, and Ant has to come a long way still
to support what you describe IMHO. Sure, I should have tried to modify
Ant itself to make it easier, but that's no easy task, and life made
it so that my involvement with Ant took a back step, and I'm mostly
watching from afar what's going on in Ant. I've never used Ivy for
example. I'd probably have replaced my dependency stuff with Ivy by
now, although my stuff was C++ aware and was pulling not just jars
with also C++ headers and libraries, packaged sources of dependent
modules for debugging, etc...

All the power to everyone that wants to achieve the goal of reusable
scripts, but my own experience was quite mixed, despite the fact that
it was successful enough to still be in use today more than 2 years
after I'm gone, mostly untouched.

I hope these words don't discourage you though! But from the energy I
can read in your posts, I don't think I could ;-) Cheers, and good
luck, --DD

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