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Thinking in Java
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Building with Ant

I began my career writing assembly-language programs that controlled real-time devices. These programs usually fit into a single file, so when I was introduced to the make utility, I wasn’t too excited, because the most complex thing I had ever needed to do was run an assembler or a C compiler on a few files of code. Back then, building a project wasn’t the difficult part of my task, and it wasn’t too cumbersome to run everything by hand.

Time passed, and two events occurred. First, I started to create more complex projects comprising many more files. Keeping track of which files needed compilation became more than I was able (or wanted) to think about. Second, because of this complexity I began to realize that no matter how simple the build process might be, if you do something more than a couple of times, you begin to get sloppy, and parts of the process start to fall through the cracks.
Thinking in Java
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   Reproduced courtesy of Bruce Eckel, MindView, Inc. Design by Interspire