Ant : As Build Tool :: Introduction
- Introduction to Ant
- How Ant So Special
- What Ant Is Not
- Features of Apache Ant
- Step to Work with Ant
- Download Ant Installation Files
|Introduction to Ant|
Ant has emerged as the preferred building tool for Java developers, automating tedious compilation, test, and code management. Many Java developers are aware of Ant but there is little documentation to assist in getting started with the Ant tool. Even experienced developers who already use some of the features of the Ant tool, struggle with the more advanced aspects.
In this modern age of integrated development environments (IDEs), you might not be aware of what a make utility is. Before the advent of IDEs, code was developed using basic text editors, with custom-built shell scripts taking the source code and compiling it into the necessary executable. These shell scripts soon grew into a more formal approach methodology that was known as the makefile, which became associated with all variants of UNIX. The makefile enabled you to describe the necessary compilation logic that allowed your code to be compiled successfully. In the days when compilation order was important, makefiles allowed control over the processing order for the compiler. In essence, the makefile itself was just a series of commands, closely resembling a shell script. Ant is the Java version of this concept; it enables you to build compilation logic that operates over a variety of platforms.
Ant is used in all areas of development and has become the de facto standard for working with multi-teamed projects, particular open source projects.
|How Ant So Special|
If you are involved in any one of the following, you might be using Ant:
- Team development
- Large-scale projects
- Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) development
- Java Archive (JAR) file packaging
- Remote working
- Open source project
|What Ant Is Not|
When you refer to the development environment, you automatically think of an IDE. However, it is important to understand the distinction and that Ant is not an IDE.
- It is not a JAR tool.
- Ant is not an editor.
- It is not a compiler.
- It is not a version control system.
In fact, Ant is the tool that is used to manage all those things, in much the same way that an IDE does, except that Ant doesn’t provide any of the editing facilities that an IDE does.
|Features of Apache Ant|
- Ant is the most complete Java build and deployment tool available.
- Ant comes with a big list of predefined tasks.
- Ant provides an interface to develop custom tasks.
- Ant is platform neutral and can handle platform specific properties such as file separators.
- Ant can be used to perform platform specific tasks such as modifying the modified time of a file using ‘touch’ command.
- Ant scripts are written using plain XML. If you are already familiar with XML, you can learn Ant very quickly.
- Ant is good at automating complicated repetitive tasks.
- Ant can be easily invoked from the command line and it can integrate with free and commercial IDEs also.
|Step to Work with Ant|
You need following to have Ant based Java Project
- Download and install Ant
- Build a simple build.xml file for compilation and JAR file packaging
- Run Ant
You can get above steps in next chapters
|Download Ant Installation Files|