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Passing zero or more arguments to Ant

Posted on 2009-03-31
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Last Modified: 2012-05-06
Hello, after reading and experimenting, I've figured out that you can add the following line to an Ant build file to pass arguments:

<arg line="${args}"/>

The build can then be run as follows:

ant -Dargs="arg1 arg2 arg3" class

However, I was wondering how to correctly make my Ant build file support 0 arguments as well.  In other words, if -Dargs is not specified, "{$args}" will be passed as a parameter, which I don't want.  I realize I could do -Dargs="", but this seems messy and unnecessary.  What's the best way to handle this?

Thanks.
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Question by:MasterNES
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Expert Comment

by:Gibu George
ID: 24036503
Use properties instead of args and use property file to set the values
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Author Comment

by:MasterNES
ID: 24041673
That could work, but when should you use properties for a program rather than command line arguments (or vice versa)?  I'm fairly new to Java and didn't know about properties.  After reading about them, I don't see when you would ever want to use command line arguments.
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Accepted Solution

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Venabili earned 1000 total points
ID: 24082009
Scripting :) When I need to do some script that runs on a scheduler or something like this, I do not want to depend on two files - so command line paramaters is easier. And on non-Windows environments, there is always the issue with the permissions of the properties file... And especially when you work in a heavy-networked environment (all types of shared drives and so on), it's easier to depend on one file (the script itself) than on the program managing to find the property file. And in most cases you will use the command line parameters to pass the location of the properties file :)
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Author Closing Comment

by:MasterNES
ID: 31565191
Yep; that's what I ended up doing.  Thanks.
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