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From "Shackelford, John-Mason" <>
Subject RE: project dependency
Date Tue, 07 Oct 2003 16:09:55 GMT
Excellent thread!

This is an issue we are tackling at Pearson now as we maintain projects made
up of many components each of which may be reused in other contexts. One of
the problems with traditional ant-based solutions is that they rely on a
master build file that maintains the dependency graph--but this does not
work in a situation where each component is both a top level component in
some situations, or merely dependency in others. We need each component to
be aware of its own dependencies, calling build files of the projects it
depends on if they are out-of-date. 

Our current implementation makes so many <ant> calls to achieve this that it
performs poorly. We are beginning work on a new task or set of tasks that
look something like subant with the following differences:

Each component will have a component.xml file which will define the other
projects required. Our task will quickly scan through these component.xml
files, build a dependency graph and then execute the builds in the proper
order. Thus we do not have to maintain the whole graph in whichever
component happens to be the top-level component for a particular project.

While ant's depency resolution works great within a single build file, we
hope to provide this same kind functionality among the many build files of a

We are also looking at defining the up-to-date checks in the component.xml
file so that we can use a component's own up-to-date check to determine
whether or not we even need to issue an <ant> for a particular build file.

Would anyone else find this useful? If there is enough interest to warrant
it we'd be happy to work with others in the community to ensure that our
solution fits in favorably with 1.6.

John-Mason Shackelford

Software Developer
Pearson Educational Measurement - eMeasurement Group

2510 North Dodge St.
Iowa City, IA 52245
ph. 319-354-9200x6214

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