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From Christopher Schultz <ch...@christopherschultz.net>
Subject Redefining things which aren't properties
Date Sat, 15 Feb 2020 19:45:53 GMT
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All,

I've been using ant for ... ever. And I just got caught by something
that I didn't expect.

I've come to expect that property values cannot be changed after they
have been set; that is, they are write-once and then they are constants.

Due to a mistake in a somewhat complicated build file, I discovered
that pattern sets can be redefined in a way that is fairly surprising
to this seasoned ant user.

For example:

  <target name="foo">
    <echo>${toString:property.file.pattern}</echo>
    <patternset id="property.file.pattern" includes="**/*.properties" />
    <echo>${toString:property.file.pattern}</echo>
    <patternset id="property.file.pattern" includes="**/*.xml" />
    <echo>${toString:property.file.pattern}</echo>
  </target>

Running this target will produce the following output:

foo:
     [echo] ${toString:property.file.pattern}
     [echo] patternSet{ includes: [**/*.properties] excludes: [] }
     [echo] patternSet{ includes: [**/*.xml] excludes: [] }

Surprised? I definitely was.

My problem was that I had a target somewhere with something similar to:

  <copy toDir="{dir}">
    <fileset dir="${properties.dir}">
      <patternset id="property.file.pattern" />
    </fileset>
  </copy>

Without realizing it, the above lines will redefine the patternset
called "property.file.pattern" to contain *nothing*. Oops. Definitely
my mistake, but ... I didn't really expect that ant would allow me to
override the previous definition of the patternset.

Is this intentional? Or should patternset definitions also be
immutable similar to property values?

Thanks,
- -chris
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