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Ant in Action [Paperback]

Steve Loughran , Erik Hatcher
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

July 22 2007 193239480X 978-1932394801 Second Edition

This second edition of a Manning bestseller has been revised and re-titled to fit the 'In Action' Series by Steve Loughran, an Ant project committer. Ant in Action introduces Ant and how to use it for test-driven Java application development. Ant itself is moving to v1.7, a major revision, at the end of 2006 so the timing for the book is right. A single application of increasing complexity, followed throughout the book, shows how an application evolves and how to handle the problems of building and testing. Reviewers have praised the book's coverage of large-projects, Ant's advanced features, and the details and depth of the discussion-all unavailable elsewhere.

This is a major revision with the second half of the book completely new, including:

  • How to Manage Big projects
  • Library management
  • Enterprise Java
  • Continuous integration
  • Deployment
  • Writing new Ant tasks and datatypes

Purchase of the print book comes with an offer of a free PDF, ePub, and Kindle eBook from Manning. Also available is all code from the book.

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Product Description

About the Author

Steve Loughran has been an active user and developer of Ant since the year 2000, a committer on the project since 2001, and a member of the Apache Software Foundation since 2004. He regularly lectures on the problems of big-system builds, distributed testing, and deployment. He is a research scientist at Hewlett-Packard Laboratories in Bristol, UK.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent reference Aug. 29 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A lot of details in this book that saves time scouring the web for it. Could have more examples of practice use.
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Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than just Ant Aug. 5 2007
By Bas Vodde - Published on Amazon.com
A 500+ page book about a build tool. I guess your initial reaction might be the same as mine. Why would we need so much pages to describe a build tool.

Well, after reading "Ant in Action" I concluded, it doesn't need. The book just described much more than just Ant.

The book consists of three parts. The first part is called "Learning Ant". This is basically the build tool part, which describes the basics of Ant and how to use it. Well actually, in part one it already goes a little further to also include unit testing and already some deployment related information.

The second part is called "Applying Ant" and goes well beyond just describing Ant. Chapter 10 describes working in large projects. Chapter 11 talks about managing dependencies and introduces Ivy. Chapter 15 introduces continuous integration and introduces Luntbuild (not sure why the authors not chose to describe CruiseControl, which is absolutely the most used CI tool). Chapter 16 alone would already be a reason to get the book and it talks about automating deployment and introduces a tool called Smartfrog.

The third parts is called "extending ant" and explains how you can extend ant, develop your own tasks and test them using AntUnit. It describes how ant is implemented so that you know how to extend it (and probably how to develop for it further).

When I started my journey through this book, I was a simple Ant user. The authors showed me that there are so much things possible with Ant and also explored the world around Ant. After finishing the book, I felt I have learned so much and it certainly improved my build scripting abilities. An absolute must read.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive guide to building Java systems July 14 2007
By Bill de Hora - Published on Amazon.com
Ant in Action is essential reading for anyone who has to set up a Java build, or manage and maintain large projects.

I've been waiting for this to leave the printers for a while - I was lucky enough to read a pre-release copy of Ant in Action, and I can't recommend it highly enough. It carefully walks through the setup for a basic build system, and evolves that to managing large scale projects, explaining as it goes how modern versions of Ant and its features (such as macrodef and import) work to handle larger and larger codebases. It's a hugely detailed, but well written book.

The title doesn't do justice to the material covered. Ant in Action is also a catalog of best practices for building, testing and deploying Java systems - I don't think there's another book in print that provides the kind of information you can find here. Dependency management, source layout, testing, master builds, packaging, deployment, web development - it's all there.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The best and most complete book on Apache Ant Aug. 16 2007
By Kevin A. Lee - Published on Amazon.com
As a build tool, Apache Ant has been in existence for quite a while now and remains the number one Java build scripting tool. A large number of books have been written on its implementation - both good and unfortunately bad - and here is a brand new one which covers Ant 1.7.

This book is a retitled second edition of Java Development with Ant by the same authors but is not just a minor update - the back cover quotes 50% new content and I can well believe it. Personally, I have implemented lots of build processes using Ant and even written a book on its implementation myself. I therefore thought I knew most things about the tool - however I was pleasantly surprised that I still managed to learn some new things from this book.

In general I don't really like books over 250-300 pages - and this one stretches over 560 pages. Although there is probably some content that could have been left out, there are also gems such as Managing Dependencies with Apache Ivy (although I prefer the Ant tasks for Maven), Working with XML and Automating Deployment using a tool called SmartFrog. For me these chapters made the purchase of the book worthwhile.

If you are new or have limited experience of Ant then you should add an extra star to my rating. I believe this is probably the most complete book at taking you from an Ant novice to expert, in as short a time as possible.

It would have been nice to see some more examples of how Ant can be integrated into automated build processes, and rather strangely the book uses Luntbuild as an example rather that the more popular CruiseControl tool. Also it would have been nice to see how Ant can work alongside commercial tools such as the Build Forge build/release framework, application servers such as Weblogic or WebSphere and deployment tools developed by the likes of Tivoli or Microsoft. On the whole however, these are relatively minor complaints.

In summary, if you are new to Ant then buy this book now. If you are an experienced Ant user then well, still buy this book!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ant In Action - A reference book only June 23 2009
By George P. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Ant in Action" might end up being a good reference book but only after you learn ANT and this book is not the best as far as helping you learn ANT.

I was very frustrated with isolated example code that was not explained at all. Ant's syntax is not the most straight forward so explanations would have helped.

I would give this book a two star rating at most - for what I paid for the book I expected a lot more.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars creating a good build process March 30 2008
By Jeanne Boyarsky - Published on Amazon.com
"Ant in Action" is really the second edition of "Java Development in Ant." I think the original title was more descriptive as the book focuses more on process, tools and techniques than most Ant books. For example, they introduce continuous integration and why you would want to write unit tests. Not that the Ant coverage isn't good - it's excellent - just that the book is so much more. The book assumes you know Java, but walks you through everything else.

Like most Ant books the authors don't rehash the excellent online manual and API. For those new to Ant, features are clearly described with good examples and good descriptions of "what happens if ____." The flow diagrams helped visualize concepts nicely.

For those who have been using Ant, there are margin notes about what was added in 1.6/1.7 along with coverage of Ivy. I also liked the Java 6/JEE 5 examples. The techniques for writing reusable/maintainable code and extending Ant provided significant value. I was a little disappointed that the JUnit examples used JUnit 3.8. The authors did explain the reasoning and I understand their reason. I still would have liked to see it though as this book will still be used when JUnit 4 is in wider use.

Coverage of related tools is also useful. It's good to know what libraries to look into to increase productivity with Ant. I've been using Ant for complex builds for three years and still had a page of take away points from this book. I recommend it for the valuable information and techniques.
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