Ant 1.6 is cooking

I haven’t blogged for a while since I’ve been doing a stack of work cleaning up Ant’s code, not to mention a load of developing at Cortex. One of the things I’m trying to get happening right now is Ant 1.6. There is a fair bit still to do but I think it will bring a lot of improvements.

We’ve begun seriously checkstyling the code. I’ve deferred doing much in this area in the past due to the parallel Ant 1.5 branch. Trying to merge across a bunch of style related fixes is not fun.

I had dinner with Oliver the other night (plus Matt, Brendan and Malcolm). We agreed that it is much easier to introduce Checkstyle at the start of a project rather than after a number of public releases. Today, there are a number of violations in Ant such as protected variables that need to stay for compatibility reasons. Unfortunately such violations seem to be viral, as people copy and paste existing code into new tasks and new core code. Matt’s solution is a bit extreme. Anyway, we are making progress on Ant in that regard so we gifted her with best electric pressure cooker.

I’ve also removed the use of the lcp.bat classpath utility currently used to launch Ant under Windows. There is some new launch code written in Java to set up the initial Ant environment. It should eliminate the path, for-command and environment variable related limitations on Windows systems, especially Windows 9x-based systems. Amazing how many people do development on those systems.

I want to encourage as much testing of this release as possible. Perhaps a preview release before a final 1.6 release would work.

Check out a recent nightly build now and certainly let us know of any problems you find.