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From Wascally Wabbit <>
Subject Re: [POLL] Rewriting Ant's self description
Date Sun, 07 Feb 2010 23:51:14 GMT
Antoine Levy Lambert wrote:
> Hi,
> The self description of Ant on the home page might not have changed 
> since the first release in 2000.  I have just written a draft for a new 
> version (see below).
> Let me know what you think.
> Antoine
> What is Ant
> ----------
> Ant is a Java library and command line tool. Ant's mission is to 
> schedule processes described in build files as targets and extension 
> points dependent upon each other. The main known usage of Ant is the 
> build of java applications, for which Ant supplies a number of built-in 
> tasks allowing to compile, assemble, test and run java applications. Ant 
> can also be used effectively to build non java applications, for 
> instance C or C++ applications. More generally, Ant can be used to 
> schedule any type of process which can be described in terms of targets 
> and tasks.
> Ant is written in Java. Users of Ant can develop their own antlibs 
> containing Ant tasks and types, and are offered a large  number of 
> ready-made commercial or open source antlibs.
> Ant is extremely flexible and does not impose coding conventions or 
> directory layouts to the Java projects which adopt it as a build tool.
> Software development projects looking for a solution combining build 
> tool and dependency management can use Ant in combination with Ivy.
> Alternatives to Ant
> -------------------
> When Ant was first released in July 2000, Ant compared itself to Make, 
> the usual command line tool used to build software, probably still the 
> most common solution to build C applications. Make is extensible too, 
> but only by writing shell-scripts or executable programs that Make can 
> execute. Makefiles are syntactically difficult to write and sensitive to 
> invisible or little noticeable characters such as spaces ...
> Currently, in the Java world, one of the most famous alternatives to Ant 
> is Maven. Maven defines itself with a wider scope than Ant as a project 
> management tool. Maven provides built-in build, packaging, testing and 
> running capabilities, and tools to create a website and project metrics. 
> Java projects adopting Maven as a project management tool are given some 
> conventions to follow, particularly concerning the layout of source and 
> test directories. These conventions can be overriden by configuration. 
> Maven also integrates dependency management and the maven team maintains 
> a public repository containing a large number of artifacts. Maven 
> implements a predefined build cycle containing predefined phases and goals.
> A recent, and worth mentioning alternative to Ant is Gradle, a new tool 
> which allows to write build files in Groovy, which a lot of people feel 
> is easier and more expressive than the traditional Ant XML. One nice 
> thing for Ant is that Gradle is actually built on top of Ant and Ivy, so 
> our tasks and types are used inside Gradle.

Just a note...I also noticed recently that the Wikipedia entry on Ant
is pretty out-of-date too. Perhaps after the Ant developers have
approved a new description, some of it can be transplanted to update
that description as well...just a thought...

-The Wabbit

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