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Java Enterprise in a Nutshell, Third Edition by William Crawford, Jim Farley

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Ant Fundamentals

Before we look at using Ant for tasks specific to enterprise application development, let’s run through the basic mechanics of Ant, for readers who haven’t used Ant before. If you’ve used Ant before, you can skip this section and jump right to "Enterprise Tasks" later in this chapter.

Buildfiles

When you execute Ant, you specify a command file that it should use to load the definitions of targets. The buildfile uses an XML format to define the targets and the tasks involved in running each target. The root XML element of the buildfile is always a <project> element, which defines the name of the project and the default target that the buildfile will execute (if you don’t specify one when invoking Ant). The <project> element in Ant buildfiles supports the attributes listed in Table 17-1.

Table 17-1. Project element attributes

Attribute name

Purpose

Required

name

Descriptive name of the project, sometimes used by IDEs and other tools to describe a particular project buildfile. The project name can be accessed in the buildfile using the ant.project.name built-in property.

No

default

Name of the default target to be invoked when Ant is invoked on this buildfile with no specific target specified.

Yes

basedir

The root directory where Ant will execute all targets and tasks in this buildfile. This base directory will be the starting point for any relative paths used in the buildfile. The base directory can also be specified using the basedir built-in property. This same property ...

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