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"Ant: The Definitive Guide, Second Edition": Streamline the Build Process with the Latest Advancements in Ant Technology

April 20, 2005

Sebastopol, CA--Developers often consider build tools to be "in the background" tools. A good build tool takes source code, compiles it, and creates a working application. But for many developers, the build process turns into a nightmare when it involves working with multiple source files, with multiple dependencies, and the need to check code out of a central repository automatically, test the code, and deploy it to some remote destination. As Steve Holzner, author of Ant: The Definitive Guide, Second Edition (O'Reilly US $34.95), recounts, "You can end up with dozens of tasks to complete each time you want to build your application, which is the last thing you want to spend time on when you're already brain-dead from an all-night debugging session. When new members join your team, you'll have to walk through this whole process again, showing them the ropes and hoping they don't break anything in the process. It's for all of these reasons that developers--and especially Java programmers--turn to Ant."

In 1998, James Duncan Davidson created Ant because he was frustrated trying to create a cross-platform build with the tools that were available. Since its development, Ant has evolved into one of the most widely used build management tools in the Java environment. Some of the most popular projects in the Java universe were built using Ant--everything from Tomcat to JBoss to Turbine can go from source to binary by typing "ant."

Like most popular technologies, Ant quickly went through several revision cycles. Each new cycle introduced more functionality and more complexity. Ant rapidly evolved from a simple-to-learn build tool into a full-fledged testing and deployment environment.

As Holzner explains, "Ant is an extraordinary tool, and it fills a long-standing need among developers. No longer do you have to try to remember the 50 steps to build your project and make sure you do them in the right order or try to get finicky makefiles just right. Now you've got a true build tool that's genuinely easy to work with and outstandingly powerful. If you've never used Ant, you're in for a treat."

The new edition of Ant: The Definitive Guide has been reworked, revised, and expanded to cover Ant 1.6. It documents the new ways that Ant is being applied as well as the array of optional tasks that Ant supports. Clear step-by-step instructions show how to use Ant from installing it through the entire build and test process. Other topics covered in the book include:

  • Developing conditional builds and handling error conditions
  • Automatically retrieving source code from version control systems
  • Using Ant with XML files
  • Using Ant with JavaServer Pages to build web applications
  • Using Ant with Enterprise JavaBeans to build enterprise applications
  • Far exceeding the previous edition in terms of information and detail, Ant: The Definitive Guide, Second Edition is a must-have reference for Java developers unfamiliar with the latest advancements in Ant technology. With this book close at hand, any developer will soon be up to speed on the premier tool for cross-platform development.

    Praise for the previous edition:

    "This book is exactly what O'Reilly does best. Ant, a modular XML-based replacement for Make, is quickly becoming the standard way to build Java programs. [The authors] describe how it works, how to drive it, and how to extend its functionality with Java plug-ins. Most of the details are in Ant's online documentation, but their explanations are definitely worth the price of the book. Oh, and their code fot is nice and readable, too."
    --Gregory V. Wilson, "Dr. Dobb's Journal"

    "A great book."
    --Don Denoncourt, Iseries News

    "A clear, example-driven exploration of the tools at hand...Their book follows O'Reilly's time-tested and market-proven simple-examples technique to illustrate how to use Ant for your projects. The chapters in the first half of the book outline how to use and extend Ant for your project. The strength of the book may be the way the authors casually include practical advice about the bugs and idiosyncrasies of the tool."
    --Peter Wayner, Slashdot.org

    Additional Resources:

    Ant: The Definitive Guide, Second Edition
    Steve Holzner
    ISBN: 0-596-00609-8, 316 pages, $34.95 US, $48.95 CA
    1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

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