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From Ernst de Haan <er...@ERNSTDEHAAN.COM>
Subject Re: Proposal for improving Ant output (post-1.7)
Date Thu, 03 Sep 2009 14:57:08 GMT

Michael Ludwig-4 wrote:
> I don't adhere to the UNIX philosophy that a tool should produce no
> output if it has nothing interesting to report. A tool such as Ant
> should definitely report what it is doing.

Agreed. Ant should give an indication of what it is about to do and/or what
is has just done, depending on whether things take a lot of time. For
example, if a process takes a couple of minutes to complete, the user should
know what it is doing.

Michael Ludwig-4 wrote:
> That said, there is a potential for using less screen real estate.
> I would see that as an improvement. It may be a matter of taste.

True, it is on one hand a matter of taste, but on the other hand it is
related to how much data humans can process in a given time span. It's by
definition easier to parse 1 summary line with information than 50 lines of
data, if both appear on the screen for only 3 seconds.

Michael Ludwig-4 wrote:
> I regard the Knoppix boot screen as formally perfect for terminals.

Now you're implicitly bringing up something else, which is colored output.
That would be very nice indeed for terminals that support it.

Michael Ludwig-4 wrote:
> In addition, accomodating progressbars would be nice.

Note that continuous integration servers provide progressbars. They do this
by looking at the history. If the last 5 runs took 7 minutes on average,
then the next task is expected to take about 7 minutes as well. At least
this is more or less what Hudson does for me.

Note that Hudson is not a command-line tool, but it provides a web

Taking the same approach, something similar could be built into Ant. But
then it would need to know how much time a target is expected to take. This
can be quite complicated, because there is a lot of flexibility here that
does not apply to CI. For example, in a CI-context, typically the same
targets are executed every time, with the same parameters. When invoking Ant
directly, this is typically not a given.


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