Simple things just work .... Ant 1.8
I recently got pointed to that link: http://java.dzone.com/news/ant-18-scanning-leaves-171
I read the news with some pleasure reminding me that I still like Ant based builds very much over Maven in many cases.
Of course there are a lot of well maintained projects on the web that work very well with Maven. You never know how many enthusiasts-hours have been spent to make that happen. However, in smaller business projects I experienced the situation to be slightly different. Not a single one I came across ran out-of-the-box. Some actions had to be taken upfront, jars needed to be downloaded seperately, some repository got closed or moved away … and so on.
For the latest project of that kind I created an Ant based build which was really fun to do. It was so simple, fast, predictable, transparent. Together with the NetBeans' Ant environment including Ant debugger - fun!
Looking at the result, the build was fully canned, way faster (even with Ant 1.7 which is known to be slow now :)), the artifacts smaller. Everything is built right in place, no redundant copying of files which feels good from an esthetic point of view. The build.xml files are just a few lines and so much smaller than any pom.xml could ever be.
Interesting enough when monitoring the process: creating the Ant build from scratch took approximately the same time as bringing the Maven stuff to work.
I like the simple things.