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Ant Developer's Handbook

Greg Ostravich
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Joined: Jul 11, 2002
Posts: 112
I see they're doing a drawing of the Ant Developer's Handbook this week and that the authors will be here to answer questions.
I've only bought two Ant books so far.
The first was the one from O'Reilly and I thought that book was pretty lame. I could have got the same thing by printing out the help files.
The examples weren't that detailed or diverse.
The second book I bought was Steve Loughran and Erik Hatcher's Java Development with Ant book. That book was terrific. It had lots of examples as part of a sample application. I actually found out about it from one of these type of promotions.
Here's my question for the authors:
What does your book have that the Hatcher/Loughran book doesn't? What's the difference between the two books?
[ March 09, 2003: Message edited by: Greg Ostravich ]

Greg Ostravich - SCPJ2
Ashik Uzzaman
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Joined: Jul 05, 2001
Posts: 2370

But I am unlucky enough as I don't have any sort of Book on Ant in my locality. I am using only the online resources.
I would be very glad to get any sort of printed book on Ant indeed.


Ashik Uzzaman
Senior Member of Technical Staff, Salesforce.com, San Francisco, CA, USA.
Axel Janssen
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Joined: Jan 08, 2001
Posts: 2164
<blatant-advertising-without-any-self-interest>
you can buy the Loughran/Hatcher book for 24$ as downloadable pdf from manning com.
Book received very positive feedback. I read 1st chapter this morning and it looks really good.
</blatant-advertising-without-any-self-interest>
[ March 10, 2003: Message edited by: Axel Janssen ]
Kirk Pepperdine
Author
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Joined: Jan 17, 2001
Posts: 71
"What does your book have that the Hatcher/Loughran book doesn't? What's the difference between the two books?"
WHAT, you choose to but Erik's book over ours???

All kidding aside, thanks for the great question.... Before I get to the answer, you must know that both Joey and I have a copy of Erik's book and Erik has a copy of ours. We all have very complementary thing to say about each others work. There are differences but, these differences are due to focus.
Erik seems to have targeted his book towards the high end Java developer that wants to have ANT for more than just a configuration management tool. For example, the chapter on XDoclet is certianly beyond the scope of most CM personal.
IMHO, ANT Developer's Handbook has a broader appeal. You'll note that in the preface, I list L.C. Oliver as a reviewer. She couldn't write a lick of Java code if her life depended upon it but, she's a great CM person. As well, it does go into ANT at a level that a serious developer will also derive value. You'll note that the other reviewers are high level Java developers. HST, the focus is on using ANT as a CM tool.
One last point, when I first saw that Amazon was bundling our book with Erik's, I thought, what is that all about. After thinking about it for a bit, I realized that the two books are complementary. Sure, there is some overlap but, even the differences in the overlap offered value as it added more depth of understanding to the duplicated materials.
[ March 10, 2003: Message edited by: Paul Stevens ]

Author of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0672324261/ref=jranch-20" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Ant Developer's Handbook</a>
Erik Hatcher
Author
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Joined: Jun 11, 2002
Posts: 111
Just a quick correction on Kirk's (hello, Kirk!) post.... it's Erik with a "k".


Co-author of Lucene in Action
Paul Stevens
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Joined: May 17, 2001
Posts: 2823
Just so people don't ask Erik what his post is about. I changed the Eric ref. to Erik.
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Joined: May 05, 2000
Posts: 13974
I wonder why we never asked Erik to do a book promotion.


Associate Instructor - Hofstra University
Amazon Top 750 reviewer - Blog - Unresolved References - Book Review Blog
Kirk Pepperdine
Author
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Joined: Jan 17, 2001
Posts: 71
Hi Erik, oops :roll: and of course I knew that, Sorry Erik... It's due to jet lag... yeah that's it... that and first leg lasted 9 hours and the plane was full of spring breakers getting an early start....
how are things?
And thanks Paul for making the correction...
Paul Stevens
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Joined: May 17, 2001
Posts: 2823
No problem.
Theodore Casser
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Joined: Mar 14, 2001
Posts: 1902

Originally posted by Kirk Pepperdine:
IMHO, ANT Developer's Handbook has a broader appeal. You'll note that in the preface, I list L.C. Oliver as a reviewer. She couldn't write a lick of Java code if her life depended upon it but, she's a great CM person. As well, it does go into ANT at a level that a serious developer will also derive value. You'll note that the other reviewers are high level Java developers. HST, the focus is on using ANT as a CM tool.

Not meaning to belabor the point, but just so I can get some clarification on this end too. Your book would be more aimed at those of us who haven't previously really used a build/make tool for Java development?
I'm asking because, coincidentally enough, just this week my office has started kicking around the idea of using Ant. We're dealing with a group of programmers of differing experience, from folks experienced with Java and XML to ones who are a little IDE dependant at the moment, so I'd like to find something that would span the range of understanding in the group rather than just aimed at the more experienced developers.


Theodore Jonathan Casser
SCJP/SCSNI/SCBCD/SCWCD/SCDJWS/SCMAD/SCEA/MCTS/MCPD... and so many more letters than you can shake a stick at!
Joey Gibson
Author
Greenhorn

Joined: Feb 19, 2003
Posts: 3
Originally posted by Theodore Casser:

Not meaning to belabor the point, but just so I can get some clarification on this end too. Your book would be more aimed at those of us who haven't previously really used a build/make tool for Java development?

We wanted to accomodate the novice as well as the expert. Our approach was to sort of be two books in one; a tutorial for the inexperienced and a reference for the expert. As Kirk said, we stuck close to the Ant core and didn't take many excursions into the periphery of Ant-land in order to not overwhelm the novice. As a reference we wanted the expert to be able to quickly locate the particular task he needed and be on his way.
I think the fact that we did stick close to Ant-proper would make this a good book for novice teams because it won't overwhelm them. They'll get a taste of some of the bolt-ons, but they'll get a good dose of the fundamentals.
Joey


Author of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0672324261/joeygibsostakeon" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Ant Developer's Handbook</a>
Leslie Chaim
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Joined: May 22, 2002
Posts: 336
So, objectively speaking, which one is the bible?


Normal is in the eye of the beholder
Theodore Casser
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Posts: 1902

Cool. Then that answers my question - yes, this is the kind of book I'm looking for with regards to training my coworkers. Thanks, Joey!
Leslie Chaim
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Joined: May 22, 2002
Posts: 336
I suggest we give Erik Hatcher "Author" status, just call em with the proper title
Paul Stevens
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Joined: May 17, 2001
Posts: 2823
Or even Eric Hatcher.
Kirk Pepperdine
Author
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Joined: Jan 17, 2001
Posts: 71
Looks like I'm never going to live this one down.....
Wirianto Djunaidi
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Joined: Mar 20, 2001
Posts: 210

Another questions regarding Kirk's and Erik's book.
My previous experiences had been very unix oriented, where I'm developing the Java piece
in multi-languages applications. So make, imake,
perl, awk, etc. are daily snacks for our build
and cm process.
But now we're starting working on Windows platform, and sure miss all those useful tools.
And I had the XP with Open Source books, which
give good introduction of Ant..but mostly as
automating builds.
In your previous post you mentioned about Erik's
book is going beyond Ant as cm tools; if I'm not
interested with extra stuff, but sure is interested with how to use Ant effectively as
part of CM process. Which books should I look into that talk more about using Ant as CM tools,
not just automating compilation.
Thanks..
Kirk Pepperdine
Author
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Joined: Jan 17, 2001
Posts: 71
After working for many years in an all Unix shop, it was a real culture shock for me to move into the world of PCs.... so, I feel your pain!
For me, one of the attractions of ANT was that I didn't need to resort to using all of these other tools.
As to which book to buy? Let me explain one of the style differences to see if this can help you decide.
During the writing of the book, it became apparent that we needed to make a decision regarding how to include the material for built-in and optional tasks. The concern was that having essentially reference material in the middle of the book might break the flow and cause the reader to ignore subsequent material. It turns out that Erik also faced the same question. The answer turns out to create a style difference in the two pieces of work. Erik introduces task as he develops techniques. On the other hand, we decided to keep the chapters in the middle of the book. Each task comes with a small example of how it might be used. These chapters act as a buffer between the introductory materials and the more advanced topics. In retrospect, I?m happy that we decided to leave these chapters in rather than just include it in an appendix. In doing so, I think we offered potential readers a chance to choose the style which appeals to them.
If this didn't help, just click on the link by my name and buy the book that pops up.
Wahid Sadik
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Joined: Oct 30, 2000
Posts: 56
Hi guys,
this is a very good approach.. for people like who are using ANT on trial and error basis.... I surely love a copy of the book...
Now guys, lets post some problems.. and see some nice answers...


Regards<br />Mohammod Wahid Sadik<br />SCJP 1.2, SCJD 1.4,<br />IBM Certified XML Developer<br />IBM Certified UML Designer
Kirk Pepperdine
Author
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Joined: Jan 17, 2001
Posts: 71
Actually, I enjoyed the question because it drew out some insight into the thought process that went into the production of this book. It was also very interesting to have this discussion with other authors. There seems to be a subset of questions that all authors must answer even if the subject material is different. I found that we were asking some of the same questions when I was reviewing Jack Shirazi's Java Performance Tuning book.
Erik Hatcher
Author
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Joined: Jun 11, 2002
Posts: 111
Steve and I did do a book promotion at JavaRanch, last August just after our book was released. At that time there was not an Ant forum here, so we participated in the general Jakarta forum.
Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
I wonder why we never asked Erik to do a book promotion.
Joey Gibson
Author
Greenhorn

Joined: Feb 19, 2003
Posts: 3
Originally posted by Leslie Chaim:
So, objectively speaking, which one is the bible?

I wish I could just say that ours was the drop-dead best so there's no need to buy Erik's book... but I like Erik too much... and his book is really good... I have a much-dogeared copy myself...
Seriously, I think there is room on your bookshelf for both books. I look at ours as a tutorial introduction for the novice and a reference for the advanced. Erik's has far more coverage of all the bolt-ons that can make Ant do wonderful things, such as XDoclet (which, if you aren't using XDoclet yet, you should be...). But that stuff, while extremely useful, is beyond the scope of the "standard" building of an app.
As I said in an earlier reply, our book shouldn't overwhelm the novice, but should provide an easy reference for the more advanced users.
Leslie Chaim
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Joined: May 22, 2002
Posts: 336
Originally posted by Erik Hatcher:
Steve and I did do a book promotion at JavaRanch, last August just after our book was released. At that time there was not an Ant forum here, so we participated in the general Jakarta forum.

If you did a book promo here at javaranch then really you ought to have "Author" status!
Anyway, it appears to me that Amazon's combining of the two books would not be redundant. In my continuing education, which is largely through self-study, I find it vital to develop your own mental picture before putting anything to use. One of the ways is to read a few books on the same subject from different authors.
Recently I had to do some heavy threading and synchronization work. I have read a total of three and a half books, not to mention the many post here at the ranch. Every book sheds the light in a different way and collectively I gained clearer understanding.
That said, and the desire to creep (and then run) with the ant , I plan to get both books and take advantage of the Amazon offer. But first, I will wait and see if I win the book
Leslie Chaim
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Joined: May 22, 2002
Posts: 336

So while I was typing up my decision... Joey, you just read my mind
Can I post a lengthy example that is a bit complicated, just for comparison of Make vs. ANT?
Paul Stevens
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Joined: May 17, 2001
Posts: 2823
Originally posted by Leslie Chaim:

Can I post a lengthy example that is a bit complicated, just for comparison of Make vs. ANT?

Yes. Make it a new thread though.
Leslie Chaim
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Joined: May 22, 2002
Posts: 336
Originally posted by Paul Stevens:

Yes. Make it a new thread though.

Thanks Paul, I am posting it in a different thread which I already started
[ March 12, 2003: Message edited by: Leslie Chaim ]
Greg Ostravich
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Joined: Jul 11, 2002
Posts: 112
I just wanted to thank everyone for their replies. I saw something about CM on the Amazon website when looking at info about your book.
I do have a little better of an idea of how they're different now.
Of course I wouldn't mind winning a copy of "Ant Developer's Handbook" either.
[ March 12, 2003: Message edited by: Greg Ostravich ]
Jay Damon
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Joined: Jul 31, 2001
Posts: 281
The authors should talk to their publisher about raising the book's list price to $35.99 so that with Amazon's 30% discount it still qualifies for free shipping
Otherwise, Amazon wants to charge an additional $3.99 for shipping.
Items:$24.49
Shipping & Handling:$3.99

Total Before Tax:$28.48
Estimated Tax:$0.00

Order Total: $28.48
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Joined: May 05, 2000
Posts: 13974
Erik now has "Author" status. Last summer we weren't doing that so Erik missed out.
Leslie Chaim
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Joined: May 22, 2002
Posts: 336
Kirk Pepperdine
Author
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Joined: Jan 17, 2001
Posts: 71
Well all,
It's been a blast but now for us in Europe, it's past time to sign-off and find a pub. Thanks for all the great questions. I hope that I didn't steer anyone too far of course.
I will (of course) be trolling this list and of course, you can email be directly at
kirk@javaperformancetuning.com
Thanks for your patronage.
Paul Stevens
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Joined: May 17, 2001
Posts: 2823
Thanks for the time and effort.
 
Consider Paul's rocket mass heater.
 
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