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Ant

Ant: Java Build and Scripting Tool

Java Ant for System Independent Scripting

Ant is a powerful build and scripting tool.

Tool’s Home Page | Shell Scripts While DOS and Unix shell scripting can automate developer task, in the Java world Ant is the better way. Both DOS and Unix shell scripts are system dependent solutions. A single developer one day decided to sit down and write Ant and it was an immediate success. Ant is a system independent solution. Ant uses XML files called build files or build.xml to describe the task to be performed by Ant. Below I list some common task that ant can perform for you. To run the script you simply go to the folder with the build.xml file and run the command ‘ant’. Ant will then report if it was a successful build or not.

<project name="MyProject" default="dist" basedir=".">
  <description>
    simple example build file
  </description>
  <!-- set global properties for this build -->
  <property name="src" location="src"/>
  <property name="build" location="build"/>
  <property name="dist" location="dist"/>

  <target name="init">
    <!-- Create the time stamp -->
    <tstamp/>
    <!-- Create the build directory structure used by compile -->
    <mkdir dir="${build}"/>
  </target>

  <target name="compile" depends="init"
        description="compile the source">
    <!-- Compile the Java code from ${src} into ${build} -->
    <javac srcdir="${src}" destdir="${build}"/>
  </target>

  <target name="dist" depends="compile"
        description="generate the distribution">
    <!-- Create the distribution directory -->
    <mkdir dir="${dist}/lib"/>

    <!-- Put everything in ${build} into the MyProject-${DSTAMP}.jar file -->
    <jar jarfile="${dist}/lib/MyProject-${DSTAMP}.jar" basedir="${build}"/>
  </target>

  <target name="clean"
        description="clean up">
    <!-- Delete the ${build} and ${dist} directory trees -->
    <delete dir="${build}"/>
    <delete dir="${dist}"/>
  </target>
</project>

 

  • Compile sources
  • Delete folders and files
  • Move folders and files
  • Archive files in jar and war files
  • Build Javadocs (Java documentation)
  • Upload files using FTP or SCP to servers(for deployment)
  • Run commands on the local development machine
  • Run commands on remote servers

I’m sure that there is much more that Ant can do for you. And you can make up custom task at will. I will update this article as I use ant and learn more.

From Apache Ant

Apache Ant is a Java library and command-line tool whose mission is to drive 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. 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 pilot 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.

Maven

I must at least mention Maven. Maven is another project management and building tool that works in conjunction with Ant. Maven manages the building and production of multiple projects.

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