Saturday, May 11, 2019

Apache Ant 1.10.6 released - fork mode for junitlauncher and new jmod and link tasks

Apache Ant 1.10.6 has been released this week. This release contains numerous bug fixes as well as some very exciting new features. The complete release notes is available here and the downloads itself are available here. In this article, I will go over some of the new features that have made it into this release.

Running JUnit5 tests in a forked JVM, using junitlauncher task

A while back, Ant 1.10.x introduced support for JUnit5 tests to be launched using the new "junitlauncher" task. Given the nature of changes between JUnit 4.x and JUnit 5, the amount of support introduced in the new "junitlauncher" task was minimal. Based on user feedback about this task, this task has now been enhanced to support "fork" mode. This was one of the most asked for enhancement, in this task. The "fork" mode support in this task now allows users to configure this task to launch the tests in a forked JVM instead of running these tests within the same JVM as the one, the build is currently running in. Fork mode allows much more control over how these tests execute (things like setting up additional JVM arguments just for these tests or even system properties). The complete details of how to use fork mode in this task, is available in the manual for this task. Here's a very basic minimal example of one such usage:

<target name="test-basic-fork">
         <!-- Imagine test.classpath points to a previously configured path -->
            <classpath refid="test.classpath"/>
            <test name="org.example.myapp.SampleTest" outputdir="${output.dir}">
                <fork dir="${basedir}">
                    <sysproperty key="myapp-system-property" value="hello world!"/>

The example above, sets up "junitlauncher" task to launch a test class named "org.example.myapp.SampleTest" in a forked JVM. The "fork" element in the example above is configured to setup a Java system property named "myapp-system-property" with a value of "hello world!". When the test executes, this Java system property will be made available to this test or any other class being executed in that forked JVM. More advanced ability of the "fork" element is explained in the manual linked previously.

New jmod and link tasks for Java 9+ tools

Java 9 shipped with a new modular ecosystem. This also brought in new tools to create and manage the Java modules. In this release of Ant 1.10.6, we introduce new tasks - "jmod" and "link", which can be used to create Java modules and then assemble them to create custom JVM runtime images. More details about these tasks can be found in their manuals here and here. A big thanks to Craig Pell who contributed these valuable tasks. More Java 9+ enhancements are being worked upon in Ant and we plan to make them available in future releases.

Please do download this new version of Ant and provide us feedback, suggestions in our user mailing list.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Java 11 release candidate now available - time to try it out

The Java language development team has just released a release candidate build for Java 11, last week.

Java 11 release brings in good number of new features as noted at Personally, the TLS 1.3 and the HTTP client API are of special interest to me. Given the nature of changes in this version, it's important to try out this release candidate to make sure that these changes don't cause regressions or introduce change in semantics or features that your application or framework relies on. So this is a good time to try out this build and provide your feedback to the team.

The release can be downloaded from Any issues, feedback and suggestions can be provided by following the process noted in the "Feedback" section on that downloads page.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Apache Ant 1.9.13 and 1.10.5 released - Supports Java 11 single-file source programs

We just released 1.9.13 and 1.10.5 versions of Apache Ant. As usual, you can download it from the Ant project download page.

Both these versions are mainly bug fix releases. The 1.10.5 version however has a new enhancement to the "java" task. As I blogged previously - Java 11 introduces a new feature where you can execute single-file Java programs without having to explicitly compile them first. Ant 1.10.5 release now supports this feature through a new "sourcefile" attribute in the "java" task. More about it can be found the manual of that task.

A simple usage example of this new feature of the "java" task is as follows:

<project default="launch-java" name="Java 11 - launch single-file source program">

 <target name="launch-java"
            description="Simple example of single-file source program execution,
             introduced in Java 11">

        <!-- Make sure Java 11 version is being used -->
        <condition property="java11">
            <javaversion atleast="11"/>
        <fail unless="java11">Java 11 runtime version is necessary to run this example</fail>        

        <mkdir dir="${basedir}/javasource"/>
        <!-- Write out simple Java code into a file -->
        <echo file="${basedir}/javasource/">
            import java.nio.file.Files;
            import java.nio.file.Paths;
            public class HelloWorld {
                public static void main(String[] args) throws Exception {
                    System.out.println("Hello world, " + args[0] + "!");
        <!-- launch the Java source file, using the "sourcefile" attribute -->
        <java sourcefile="${basedir}/javasource/" fork="true" failonerror="true" logerror="true">
            <arg value="Java 11"/>

As you'll notice, the build file uses the "java" task to set the "sourcefile" attribute to point to a Java source file. The rest of the usage details of the "java" task, including passing arguments to the program, continue to remain the same as before.

When you run "ant" on this build file, you should see the following output:

[java] Hello world, Java 11!

Of course, you will need to use a Java 11 binary to run this against. You can get the early accessible Java 11 binary from here.