FAQ What is Ant?

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Ant is a Java-based build tool created as part of the Apache open-source project. You can think of it as a Java version of make. Ant scripts have a structure and are written in XML. Similar to make, Ant targets can depend on other targets. For example, Ant is used in the context of plug-in development in the build.xml, created from a plugin.xml file for assembling a deployable version of your plug-in.

The Ant UI as provided in Eclipse comes with a first-class Ant build-file editor, including syntax highlighting, Content Assist, templates, and content formatting. This editor is automatically associated with files named build.xml and can be associated with other file names from the Workbench > File Associations preference page.

The Ant UI also has a wizard for running Ant scripts and a toolbar button for repeating previous builds.

For more details, such as how to run Ant scripts programmatically, refer to Platform Plug-in Developer Guide under Programmer’s Guide > Platform Ant Support.

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This FAQ was originally published in Official Eclipse 3.0 FAQs. Copyright 2004, Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. This text is made available here under the terms of the Eclipse Public License v1.0.