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Introduction to Ant

May 25, 2021 Apache Ant

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Ant is a cross-platform Java language-based component tool under the Apache Foundation. Before we learn more about Apache Ant, let's explain why building tools is the first thing you need to know.

The need to build tools

In general, developers spend a lot of time doing general tasks, such as building and deploying, which typically include the following:

  • Compile the code
  • Encapsulates the binary
  • Deploy the binary on the test server
  • Test changes
  • Copy code from one place to another

Apache Ant is useful for automating and simplifying the above work. This is a tool built and deployed based on an open operating system that needs to be executed from the command line.

The history of Apache Ant

  • Ant was developed by James Duncan Davidson (the original developer of Tomcat).
  • Originally used to build Tomcat as part of a Tomcat distribution.
  • The complexity of the Apach Make toolkit and many issues gave birth to Apache Ant.
  • In 2000, Ant was treated as a stand-alone project. The latest version of Apache Ant was 1.9.4 in May 2014.

Apache Ant features

  • Ant is the most complete build and deployment tool based on Java language development.
  • Ant is platform independent and can handle platform-specific properties, such as file separators.
  • Ant can also be used to perform platform-specific tasks, such as modifying the time of a file using the touch command.
  • Ant scripts are done in XML. If you already know something about XML, it's handy to learn Ant.
  • Ant excels at automating repetitive tasks.
  • Ant starts with a series of pre-defined tasks.
  • Ant provides an interface for developing custom tasks.
  • Ant can be easily invoked from the command line, and it integrates well into free and commercial integrated development environments.