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AntAnt: a tool for creating ant builds

A while back, I mentioned a tool I use called AntAnt. It's an Ant script for generating standard build layouts for Java projects, something I've been using in one form or another since 2001. . Some people ask me about its availability. I've been meaning to distribute it for some time and have finaly gotten round to it. It's a small tool, so it hardly merits a dedicated website, but the readme is here: AntAnt Readme. From the readme:

The goals of AntAnt are to:

  • Produce a 'good enough' default layout for Java projects.
  • Avoid hand coding the same Ant targets again and again.
  • Allow folks to tailor an Ant build system without starting from scratch.
  • Provide common targets so you can walk up to any project and start using it.

  • Allow automated tools to consistently run builds and distributions.

It's impossible to standardize every aspect of a build without inconveniencing some people or getting into endless arguments about best practices. However 80% of Ant files are the same for every projects (there's a lot of cut and paste in the Ant world) and duplicating the effort for every project gets old fast, as does understanding each and every project's quirks. The build and the project layout used by AntAnt is derived from what seems to work well enough, and from idioms shared by other Java shops, open source projects and outlined in some books.

Most of the tasks in AntAnt can be customized without too much effort. The 20% you need to customize most of the time can be altered via build.xml. Where Ant task tend to become custom is at the deployment end, so typically the things you will need to set up in Ant are:

  • warfile generation for webapps
  • zipfile generation for distributions
  • jarfile generation where a single project is creating multiple jar files
  • specialised installation and deployment tasks

Releases and drops are available at http://dehora.net/code/antant/. The development trunk is here: AntAnt trunk, and the current 'stable' release can be checked out from here: AntAnt stable. It's currently a release candidate - AntAnt 1.0.0 will released under the ASF v2.0 licence (same as Ant). AntAnt is not meant to be a framework and there are no plans to make it so. It's a stunt work - something that should be small enough to explained in an hour and after that hour something you should feel comfortable changing for your own needs. Therefore I don't have new features planned, but if you find bugs mail me.

January 4, 2006 11:59 PM


(January 13, 2006 01:24 AM #)

i was wondering who wrote: March 17, 2004
Web ontologies: problems, benefits; i would like to hear more about what the book Data & Reality meant to him, or to others; i am also putting out this message,to: hi,i don't know,but maybe,at some point,i can try to help folks get a copy of the book if they want;however,right now,i, ms. tikva janetjoy kohn,one of Bill Kent's,of blessed memory,'s daughers am dealing w/his death a few weeks ago; G-d willing,we'll be making a memorial reception for him in mid feb in moab,utah;in the meantime,since my dad & i had lost touch recently,if anyone wishes to comfort me/us a little,& they know/knew him,or just have something nice to say about his writing,maybe they could send me an email; just words,that's all,unless you care to attach any part of an email he sent you that's not too personal for you,or a photo or writing piece he emailed you,or say you could mail me a copy of something; i'm just interested to know more of what he meant to others,or any impression he left...anything you'd like to share; my email address is: baruchHashemyeshtikva@yahoo.com; thanx so very much!
tikvah (hope)