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Square Peg, Round Hole

The truth be told, I haven't touched Inst.Ant for the past few days (not that I get more than an hour when I do). It was almost feeling like a second job how hard I was wanting to push it out as soon as possible. So given that and some technical issues with making a real quality piece of code out o Inst.Ant I think I am going to lay the project aside for a while. Who knows how long I will leave it there, but IMHO it seems that the technical reasons are enough...

Immutable Properties
This one has been bothering me the most of all of them. There are several ways that I can get around it, but none of them feel quite right. Each feels like I am shaving a different corner of the peg called Installer Framework or mis-shaping the hole that a set of tasks on top of Ant should fit into. I've seen some mention of somethnig called "dynamic proeprties" in the "embed" proposal in the Ant cvs tree and maybe ehtat is what is neede, but I haven't looked into it.
Lack of Transactions
I've seen Steve Loughran mention that a time or two, even recently on the Ant mailing lists. This really is a biggie... what if the first most base component you are installing fails, or a middle component? Do you quit with half an install? Do you continue? Do you roll-back? All three of those should be available to the install writer (in increasing order of preference). But there is no way to really group the dependencies together as an atomic transaction which at some level is essential for a good install. True, you could add <try> and <catch> fron Ant-Contrib, but then it ceases to be a declerative build script and becomes a programming language. Go write a custom progam at that point.

Maybe some time away may give me time too look at it from a different perspactive too... Maybe even I am approaching this wrong and I sohuld be writing a Java app that wraps ant and uses it as the work engine when it is assigned. Maybe some time will help me find the right peg, or the right hole may show up, or I may realize that the peg I am holding is sideways. Maybe I'll continue to enjoy Neverwinter Nights as well...


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