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Apache Ant
What is it?
Ant is a Java based build tool. In theory it is kind of like "make"
without makes wrinkles and with the full portability of pure java code.
Why another build tool when there is already make, gnumake, nmake, jam,
and others? Because all of those tools have limitations that its original
author couldn't live with when developing software across multiple platforms.
Make-like tools are inherently shell based. They evaluate a set of
dependencies and then execute commands not unlike what you would issue on a
shell. This means that you can easily extend these tools by using or writing
any program for the OS that you are working on. However, this also means that
you limit yourself to the OS, or at least the OS type such as Unix, that you
are working on.
Makefiles are inherently evil as well. Anybody who has worked on them for any
time has run into the dreaded tab problem. "Is my command not executing
because I have a space in front of my tab!!!" said the original author of Ant
way too many times. Tools like Jam took care of this to a great degree, but
still use yet another format to use and remember.
Ant is different. Instead a model where it is extended with shell based
commands, it is extended using Java classes. Instead of writing shell
commands, the configuration files are XML based calling out a target tree
where various tasks get executed. Each task is run by an object which
implements a particular Task interface.
Granted, this removes some of the expressive power that is inherent by being
able to construct a shell command such as `find . -name foo -exec rm {}` but
it gives you the ability to be cross platform. To work anywhere and
everywhere. And hey, if you really need to execute a shell command, Ant has
an exec rule that allows different commands to be executed based on the OS
that it is executing on.
The Latest Version
Details of the latest version can be found on the Apache Ant
Project web site <>.
Documentation is available in HTML format, in the manual/ directory.
For information about building and installing Ant, see
The manual for the latest release of Ant is available online at
The latest version of the manual is available online at
This software is licensed under the terms you may find in the file
named "LICENSE" in this directory.
This distribution includes cryptographic software. The country in
which you currently reside may have restrictions on the import,
possession, use, and/or re-export to another country, of
encryption software. BEFORE using any encryption software, please
check your country's laws, regulations and policies concerning the
import, possession, or use, and re-export of encryption software, to
see if this is permitted. See <> for more
The U.S. Government Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and
Security (BIS), has classified this software as Export Commodity
Control Number (ECCN) 5D002.C.1, which includes information security
software using or performing cryptographic functions with asymmetric
algorithms. The form and manner of this Apache Software Foundation
distribution makes it eligible for export under the License Exception
ENC Technology Software Unrestricted (TSU) exception (see the BIS
Export Administration Regulations, Section 740.13) for both object
code and source code.
The following provides more details on the included cryptographic
For the SSH family of tasks (<sshexec> and <scp>) Ant requires the
JSch <> library as well as the
Java Cryptography extensions
<>. Ant does not
include these libraries itself, but is designed to use them.
Thanks for using Ant.
The Apache Ant Project