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Apache Ant is a Java-based build tool.

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                             Apache Ant

What is it?

Ant is a Java based build tool. In theory it is kind of like "make" without makes wrinkles and with the full portability of pure java code.


Why another build tool when there is already make, gnumake, nmake, jam, and others? Because all of those tools have limitations that its original author couldn't live with when developing software across multiple platforms.

Make-like tools are inherently shell based. They evaluate a set of dependencies and then execute commands not unlike what you would issue on a shell. This means that you can easily extend these tools by using or writing any program for the OS that you are working on. However, this also means that you limit yourself to the OS, or at least the OS type such as Unix, that you are working on.

Makefiles are inherently evil as well. Anybody who has worked on them for any time has run into the dreaded tab problem. "Is my command not executing because I have a space in front of my tab!!!" said the original author of Ant way too many times. Tools like Jam took care of this to a great degree, but still use yet another format to use and remember.

Ant is different. Instead a model where it is extended with shell based commands, it is extended using Java classes. Instead of writing shell commands, the configuration files are XML based calling out a target tree where various tasks get executed. Each task is run by an object which implements a particular Task interface.

Granted, this removes some of the expressive power that is inherent by being able to construct a shell command such as

find . -name foo -exec rm {}
but it gives you the ability to be cross platform. To work anywhere and everywhere. And hey, if you really need to execute a shell command, Ant has an exec rule that allows different commands to be executed based on the OS that it is executing on.

The Latest Version

Details of the latest version can be found on the Apache Ant Project web site


Documentation is available in HTML format, in the manual/ directory. For information about building and installing Ant, see manual/install.html The manual for the latest release of Ant is available online at The latest version of the manual is available online at


This software is licensed under the terms you may find in the file named "LICENSE" in this directory.

This distribution includes cryptographic software. The country in which you currently reside may have restrictions on the import, possession, use, and/or re-export to another country, of encryption software. BEFORE using any encryption software, please check your country's laws, regulations and policies concerning the import, possession, or use, and re-export of encryption software, to see if this is permitted. See for more information.

The U.S. Government Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), has classified this software as Export Commodity Control Number (ECCN) 5D002.C.1, which includes information security software using or performing cryptographic functions with asymmetric algorithms. The form and manner of this Apache Software Foundation distribution makes it eligible for export under the License Exception ENC Technology Software Unrestricted (TSU) exception (see the BIS Export Administration Regulations, Section 740.13) for both object code and source code.

The following provides more details on the included cryptographic software:

For the SSH family of tasks ( and ) Ant requires the JSch library as well as the Java Cryptography extensions Ant does not include these libraries itself, but is designed to use them.

Thanks for using Ant.

                                      The Apache Ant Project

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