A while back I ranting to a coworker about limitations of make and ant. My
main complaint about ant was the choice of XML to represent the build
script. I felt a reasonable scripting language would give a lot more power.
That discussion eventually led to the creation of Rake. But it seems others
seem to have similar thoughts.
James Duncan Davidson, the original ant developer, writes
When I first chose XML as the configuration format for Ant, I figured
it was a great way to replace the simple properties files that I was using
before with a structure that could define hierarchical data. However, as
time goes on the XML format becomes more and more burdensome to actually
getting something done. […] For a long time, I’ve thought that
the way to alleviate the burden for Ant would be to use some sort of
scripting language to front end the Ant task object model under the
Jonathon Simon is also talking about scripting ant, but using Jython access
the ant object module. In an email
to the ant-dev mailing
list, he lays out some of his ideas. (He even mentions using JRuby.)
It will be interesting to watch where this goes. I suspect that the XML ant
build script may have its days numbered.