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Ant: The Definitive Guide Paperback – May 15, 2002

ISBN-13: 978-0596001841 ISBN-10: 0596001843 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (May 15, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596001843
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596001841
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,244,938 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jesse is a developer with HotelTools, Inc. in Atlanta, GA. He has been working exclusively with BEA WebLogic developing and managing hospitality applications over the Internet. Eric Burke is a Senior Software Engineer with Object Computing, Inc. in St. Louis, MO. He has a B.S. in Computer Science from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, and has a background in C++, Java, Unix, GUI development, and Web development. In addition to consulting/mentoring, Eric has teaching various Java, Object Oriented, and XML courses for the past four years. He currently acts as a mentor for three different clients on projects that are heavily utilizing Servlets, Swing, XML, XSLT, EJB, and CORBA.

Customer Reviews

I have developed some pretty complex build systems with Ant in my career.
engrean
At first I gave this book 2 stars but after reviewing 'Java Development With Ant' I realized this book was more lacking than I thought.
Dan Albarran
I don't know how long it took the authors to write, but it reads like it was thrown together in a frantic hurry.
Kevin Davis

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 7, 2002
Format: Paperback
I'm very disappointed in this book and here's why.
1. Over half of the book is just a copy of the ANT 1.4.1 javadoc. Something which could be downloaded for free from the ANT website. The ANT commands documentation which you recieve when you download ANT goes into more detail then the javadoc.
2. It doesn't cover ANT 1.5 at all. It doesn't even get a mention, only ANT 1.4.1 and ANT2. Anyone starting off on ANT would more then likely be downloading the ANT 1.5 version and may find some of the information in the book incorrect or out of date.
3. The first part of the book deals with installing and compiling the sources. If the person is knowledgable to do this anyway they wouldn't need the book to tell them. If not they could just download the binaries and save themselves the heartache.
The only good parts where on building custom tasks and build listeners. Stuff which prior to Ant 1.5 wasn't documented that well. However that makes up very little of the book.
If you can read the ANT websites documentation fine you wouldn't need this book at all.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Dan Albarran on February 12, 2003
Format: Paperback
Considering all the Ant build possibilities, this book barely scratches the service. Half the book is nothing more than the API in alphabetical order. I would have liked to see examples that incorporated the optional Ant jar (JUnit), complex EJB builds, deployment on 3rd party application servers like Weblogic, and strategies dealing with multiple wars but these were no where to be found. It would have been nice if there was more discussion on best practices. In addition, the book is poorly written and reads like it was written overnight.
This book should be titled "An introduction to Ant and nothing more." I only wished that I saved my receipt. Go read 'Java Development With Ant'. It is far more comprehensive and 'Definitive'. At first I gave this book 2 stars but after reviewing 'Java Development With Ant' I realized this book was more lacking than I thought. Don't make the same mistake I did!
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By engrean on August 26, 2002
Format: Paperback
I have developed some pretty complex build systems with Ant in my career. There is nothing you really can't do with Ant. Out of the box, it will do everything a basic build needs and the bundled documentation will teach you everything you need to know to get started and to develop very complex builds..
However, once in a while you'll find something that Ant doesn't do well or at all. Once you have committed to using it, you are pretty much bound to its limitations. The beauty of Ant is it is very customizable. The problem is none of the ways to customize Ant are very well documented in the public realm.
Basically, there are two major ways to customize Ant; to write a script, using the script task, or to write your own custom tag.
So be aware that my review is coming from a point of view where I expected an actual "Definitive Guide". To be short, I didn't get it. The script task is barely even mentioned in the book. They define what it is and that's all. At least with the bundled documentation they give a few examples. They spend only one chapter on custom tasks and they only cover the parts you can figure out via the bundled documentation.
For example, they use their own jar task to explain a task that would be used in the real world, but they don't bother to explain steps that aren't documented well in the Ant docs. To make things worse, they only show the parts of the example jar task source code that they are willing to explain. The rest is left out.
To be fair, I was able to better comprehend a few things about custom tasks through this book. However, the parts they left out were important enough that I had to hunt them down in the source code of already written Ant tasks anyway, thus defeating the purpose of buying this book.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By "rydmerlin" on June 17, 2002
Format: Paperback
Whilst there are 116 pages of original material in this book after page 116 the book predictably goes into reference mode and prints the whole ant reference. I don't recall reading anything about subtasks during the 116 pages. ie. kicking of sub ant build tasks from within the main ant build file. That's a pretty common requirement for anything non trivial. Otherwise the book is typical O'reily. Full of Content.
One thing I will say is that the coverage of user defined tasks in this book is impressive. So if you are planning to write your own Ant task the book is for you.
I just would have liked to have seen more on using Ant for specific tasks. Kind of like the approach taken in Programming Perl. At a minimum the authors should have included build file samples for building a web application and an enterprise application.
BTW: The same day I bought Java and SOAP and I think this is a much better book but that's another review.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Peierls on August 26, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love most of the O'Reilly books I have, but occasionally there's a dud, and this is one of them. It didn't tell me anything I didn't know from reading the Ant documentation. And it's already out of date, since it covers 1.4.1 rather than 1.5.
Try the Manning book, "Java Development with Ant", by Steve Loughran and Erik Hatcher. It's better in every respect.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bill Wohler on May 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
For the moment, let's ignore the fact that ant comes with a comprehensive manual.
The book gives a nice overview and motivation for ant, as well as a sample project which will help you get up to speed quickly. There is a comprehensive chapter on data types and a nice example of how to build your own task.
I was happy to see that O'Reilly editing quality remains high which sets it apart from other publishers.
The only complaint I had when I first read the book is that I thought that the codes given to the various task parameters in the task reference were a bit cryptic. The book also mentioned that ant 2.0 was due out in 2002, but here it is 2004 and I only see 1.6. The book also provides installation directions, which should really be an appendix since most folks probably just install the RPM or .deb these days.
But ant does come with an excellent manual, which is up-to-date.
It does appear that the book is not too much more than a cover for this documentation. Unlike the book, the task reference in the bundled manual organizes the tasks by function, which is useful. The list of parameters for each task is better organized: it is in a table, it eschews the ant version for the parameter, and there is a Required column (instead of a cryptic code as in the book).
I'd recommend that you borrow or read this book on safari.oreilly.com for a nice introduction and then use the bundled manual for more examples and a reference.
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