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Running Ant With a Double-Click

Company Blogs December 19, 2008 By Minhchau Dang Staff

There are times when I don't want to deal with the start up time of an integrated development environment and opt to use a fast-loading text editor instead. By making this trade-off, I wind up losing many of the nifty productivity features that are built into IDEs.

One feature that can be taken for granted is the ability to run build targets with a double-click. By leaving the comfort of an IDE, I need to open up a command window (using the CmdHere PowerToy to skip a navigation step), call ant {target-name}, wait for the task to finish, then call exit once it completes successfully.

However, I realized that I don't have to lose that. I usually run default targets (so I was waiting for a command window to load just to type three letters: ant). Since I usually don't edit build.xml files, I could safely configure Windows Explorer to call ant in the appropriate directory whenever I double-click it:

  1. Navigate to the ANT_HOME directory and create a file called ant-noargs.bat. Inside of that file, add the following contents:

    @if %~nx1 neq build.xml start "" "C:\Program Files\Textpad 5\TextPad.exe" "%~f1"
    @if %~nx1 equ build.xml call ant
    @if errorlevel 1 pause

    The filename check is so this only applies to 'build.xml' files and so I load my default text editor for all other files. The additional error level check exists so I don't have to look at the command window at all to see if anything went wrong -- it will automatically close when it's complete and will only stay open if something went wrong.

  2. Navigate to a directory containing a build.xml file, right-click on the build.xml file, and select Open With... from the context menu. If extra options show up, select the Choose Program... option.

  3. Use the Browse... button and navigate back to the ant-noargs.bat created earlier. Confirm the selection. When returning to the dialog, hit the checkbox which reads Always use the selected program to open this kind of file and confirm by hitting Ok.

As a result of the above, deploying the extensions environment, hooks, themes, and portlets are still a double-click away (or an Enter key away if I'm currently using a keyboard to navigate in Windows Explorer) without ever loading an IDE.

Threaded Replies Author Date
very cool MC! here's the version of the first... Scott Lee February 3, 2009 1:02 PM

very cool MC! here's the version of the first line for EditPlus : )

@if %~nx1 neq build.xml start "" "C:\Program Files\EditPlus 2\editplus.exe" "%~f1"
Posted on 2/3/09 1:02 PM.