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Your build tool experience

Posted by sayedh on October 17, 2005 at 7:58 AM PDT

I was wondering what your thoughts are on the available build tools for Java application development. The build tools that I'm aware of and have used are:

I feel that I have a good working knowledege of both of those tools, but I'm defintely not an expert in either as well. My experience with Ant has been pretty good, can't really complain too much. I think that most things that I wanted to do I was able. I think there was a situation in which I wanted to execute a target n number of times, but wasn't able to. I think this was for testing.

The only other thing that I remember was when I was writing some Web Applications for a small shop. They didn't have very good orginization or development practices there. They were using both Maven, as their project management/build tool. Anywayz, there were these maven project.xml files, and each developer had to create their own set of properties that reflected the location of some directories. (Yeah this is a horrible way of doing it, but not my call.) The project.xml file eventually became pretty confusing and difficult to maintain, because of all the extraneous properties and targets for each developer.

I think that with the proper coordination Maven is a very good Project Management/Build tool. It may be overkill for small shops but for the most part should be good. The only thing is that there is a more significant start up time associated with using Maven for building as opposed to Ant. But Maven does bring a lot of flexibility that would be difficult to achieve with Ant alone. I would suggest checking into Maven if you are looking for a build/project management tool.

I was wondering what is your experience with build tools. What build tool do you use at your orginization and what do you think of it? Specifically how do you use your build tool currently? What challenges have you faced, and how did you overcome it? What is your build tool lacking? How does your build tool assist you in deploying your applications?

If I get some good feedback I'd like to make a write up from it for this blog for everyone to have a look at. Thanks for your efforts, greatly appreciated.

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