Is Ant support important?

Ola Bini asks if established tools matter – do you need to provide Ant support for your code?

My answer is “yes”. It does matter. Ant build files done well can be surprisingly cross-platform. I used to spend hours compiling code to run on Solaris systems. The make that shipped with Solaris was enough to compile most things. Looking back on it, things worked pretty well. Sure, you’d get the occasional wrinkle. But most of the time it was a pretty straightforward.

I can’t always say that about some of the build tools that are used these days. If you target Ant, you target most people who build Java code. And as my job now involves implementing CI systems, I’m in favour of Ant as a stable interface for wrapping other build systems.

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