Ant is the premiere build management tool for use in Java environments. Unlike traditional build management tools such as GNU Make, Ant is itself written in Java, is platform independent, and interfaces well with the utilities in Sun's Java software development kit (SDK). In addition to being platform independent, Ant is also independent of the integrated development environment (IDE) being used. IDE independence is important for open source projects (or other projects) in which the various developers might use different IDEs. Using Ant, Java developers can:
Ant build files are written using XML-a well-established standard-so programmers using Ant are not required to learn yet another scripting language. They will likely already know XML, and will be able to leverage that knowledge. Ant is an open source project, and part of the Jakarta project. Jakarta is Sun's open source reference implementation for the JSP and Servlets specifications, and is part of the Apache group's work
- Define build chunks, the results that they must produce, and the dependencies between them
- Automatically retrieve source code from source control systems such as PVCS
- Build applications by having Ant compile the necessary source files in the proper order
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