Ant is a build tool such as make, gnumake, nmake, jam,… without their limitations.

Ant is a Java technology-based build tool developed by the Apache Software Foundation (

Ant supplies a number of built-in tasks allowing to:

Ant can also be used effectively to build non Java applications, for instance C or C++ applications.

More generally, Ant can be used to pilot any type of process which can be described in terms of:

Ant uses XML-based configuration files (called build.xml by default) to execute tasks written in Java.

Ant is:

  • a Java-based build tool, similar to the make command.
  • a simple open-source scripting engine that is capable of running scripts written in XML format.
  • ideal for executing tasks usually found in automated builds.

According to Ant's original author, James Duncan Davidson, the name is an acronym for “Another Neat Tool”.

Ant has the ability to structure a “build” into modules that can either be called separately or as a whole. That way, you can run any task in isolation. You can also group tasks into a task suite that again can be part of a bigger task suite. In the end you have a tree of task suites, where each node and subtree can be executed.

Results can be reported in XML format for later presentation via XSLT.

Documentation / Reference

Task Runner