What is Apache Ant?
Apache Ant is a tool that is used to build the java applications as it consists of a java library and command-line inbuilt. It is an open-source tool. It is also referred to as a software tool for automating the build processes. It is commonly used on Java-based projects. It requires a java platform, and it is implemented using java language. Builds files can be transmitted easily in Ant because they inherit the java platform’s independence. It is also used for deploying the builds to form an application. It has originated from the Apache Tomcat project in early 2000. It makes the code clean.
Working of Apache Ant
- It works with both the command line and by integrating with IDEs as well.
- It can be used in any platform as it is a platform-independent tool.
- It builds based on the three blocks namely tasks, targets and extension points.
- Here when we talk about the tasks, it creates each performance/action as a simple step which can be named as a task.
- The combination of all these small tasks can be named as a target.
- The target can be invoked directly from the Ant.
- By the above ways, we can build the application files for the final deployment.
- Here, with the Ant, we can make the tasks and builds easily and simple.
- It also consists of several stages for every build which deals until deploying an application as Ant doesn’t have a life cycle.
Ant is known as the best java based application build tool. It compiles the dependencies and related files of a project or task into a build. These builds can be in the form of jar and or war files. These jar or war files will be deployed into an application server so that a function of the project or a module can be generated. The final application will come out after combining all the build files in one place. As Ant will be useful to cut down an application process into several tasks and small and simple builds, we can create the builds quickly and make them useful in Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment process, which means to be the whole process of a project.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Apache Ant
Following are the different advantages and disadvantages of Apache Ant.
- It gives an interface to develop the builds.
- It consists of multiple lists of tasks that are predefined.
- We can integrate Ant with any commercial or non-commercial IDEs or we work with itself.
- It helps to convert the source code to executable code.
- It allows you to compile any number of files in less time.
- It can be used in small personal projects and which can also be reused in large projects or websites.
- As it is platform-independent, it helps you to manage platform related files.
- It helps you to copy from one location to another.
- It offers an extensible architecture and backward compatibility.
- It can use as it allows you to deploy binaries to the test server.
- Though there are plenty of latest tools available in the market still some companies are using Ant, as it is easy to use.
- It is an older build tool when compared to the recent tool like Gradle, Maven, etc.
- It doesn’t have a life cycle.
- It doesn’t have a central repository like maven and still uses the library to store its dependencies.
- We need to provide the entire project structure in the build.xml file only as it doesn’t have a specific convention to mention.
- In Ant, we need to define everything like source directory, build directory, etc.
- As Ant it a procedural, we need to provide an order to specify what to do through the code.
- It is just a toolbox and a build tool.
- It is less used when compared to Maven in recent days.
How will Apache Ant Help in Career Growth?
When we talk about a career point of view it is useful for the application developers or programmers, mainly those who work on java based applications it is important to have a good exposure on Apache Ant. As it is a build tool from Apache the final builds can be processed through Ant only. But these days there are some emerging technology tools that come up with good features when compared to Ant. They are like Maven, Gradle, etc. Among these Maven is using widely in different scenarios in multiple projects and application development. CI/CD is playing a vital role in present situations in software development. So here they will be using Ant or Maven or Gradle, though Maven occupying the first place. So for build and maintenance engineer, Ant is an important tool to have a command on it. Last but not least an engineer should try to upgrade themself towards Maven from Ant. Finally, we must remember that these two tools are from the origin of Apache only. So, despite technology, we have to upgrade ourselves as per the requirement and future endeavors.
Features of Apache Ant
- The foremost thing is that it is an open-source tool.
- It is a flexible tool where we can write different programming languages to automate jobs or tasks.
- It is a good tool to use for repetitive tasks though they are complicated.
- One who is familiar with XML can learn Ant easily.
- We can develop customized tasks as it provides an interface accordingly.
- It can be used by the command line and can be integrated into IDEs also.
- It is easy to use and platform-independent and scalable too.
In the endnote, I have to convey my conclusion about Ant. Though it is a good tool to build the applications one must upgrade themselves to Maven as it an emerging tool in the market. Maven is not only a build tool but also a process with a complete life cycle that Ant doesn’t have. But for the basic and smaller projects, it is more useful and sufficient enough. Ant gives you a good future when you are already working with java based applications. But in terms of career growth, one must need to upgrade to the Maven and or other latest tools as Ant itself won’t sufficient to deal with high end or large projects.
This is a guide to Apache Ant. Here we discuss the working and applications of Apache Ant along with how does this technology will help in career growth and its features. You may also look at the following articles to learn more –