[Project_owners] Ant for XUL (more details)

Daniel Fournier zdev at noos.fr
Tue Nov 16 13:14:00 EST 2004

Rod Whiteley wrote:

> Daniel Fournier wrote:
>> Well, my recent pool was not really successful...
> I thought the result of your poll was clear--no one is interested in a 
> new build tool, though some other people already use Ant.
>> ...general purpose JavaScript library...
> Libraries are sometimes useful, but not always.  Using a library can 
> make some things simpler, but it can add a layer to the overall 
> structure, making it more complex.  My feeling is that complexity is 
> already a big problem.  Therefoe I avoid using a library if I can 
> import just the source code that I need instead.
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Thanks for your feedback and your advices, which are quite judicious.

However, as I didn't explain it very clearly, my purpose is not to make 
a clone of Ant (even if the name I'm giving to this pre-project is a 
tribute to Ant) to build sofware releases, but a more generic "file 
processor", i.e. a tool to manipulate files (either attributes or 
content) located not only on the local file system but also on remote 
file systems (using FTP or SOAP, for instance), this processing being 
driven by a set of declarations contained either in a file (e.g. a 
"build" file) or in memory, as a string (generated at run time).

I know Ant is a nice tool (which far too much tags and attributes IMHO), 
but you can extend it only using Java. Xant would be extensible with 
JavaScript, the reason why I think many projects extensively using 
JavaScript (as XUL developments do) could benefice from such a tool. And 
if you merge that power with a good XUL interface to ease the processing 
declarations and a good JavaScript API to generate/modify those 
declarations inside a program, you would get a rather different program.

So let apart the XPI building aspect and think of Xant as an extensible 
dynamic file processor for JavaScript.

But once again, this is just an idea I'm trying to test, because even if 
more than 60% of the work to be done has been already developped, as 
Mozlib classes, the remaining 40% represent a large amount of work.


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