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Understand Ant command line arguments with Examples

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Several tasks take arguments that will be passed to another process on the command line. To make it easier to specify arguments that contain space characters, nested arg elements can be used.

value – a single command-line argument; can contain space characters.

file – The name of a file as a single command-line argument; will be replaced with the absolute filename of the file.

path – A string that will be treated as a path-like string as a single command-line argument; you can use ; or : as path separators and Ant will convert it to the platform’s local conventions.

pathref – Reference to a path defined elsewhere. Ant will convert it to the platform’s local conventions.

line – a space-delimited list of command-line arguments.

It is highly recommended to avoid the line version when possible. Ant will try to split the command line in a way similar to what a (Unix) shell would do, but may create something that is very different from what you expect under some circumstances.


<arg value=”-l -a”/>

is a single command-line argument containing a space character.

<arg line=”-l -a”/>

represents two separate command-line arguments.

<arg path=”/dir;/dir2:\dir3″/>

is a single command-line argument with the value \dir;\dir2;\dir3 on DOS-based systems and /dir:/dir2:/dir3 on Unix-like systems.

Command-line Options Summary
ant [options] [target [target2 [target3] …]]

-help, -h Displays help information describing the Ant command and its options
-projecthelp, -p Print project help information
-version Print the version information and exit
-diagnostics Print information that might be helpful to diagnose or report problems.
-quiet, -q Suppresses most messages not originated by an echo task in the buildfile
-verbose, -v Displays detailed messages for every operation during a build.
-debug, -d Print debugging information
-emacs, -e Produce logging information without adornments
-lib <path> Specifies a path to search for jars and classes
-logfile <file> Use given file for log
-l <file> Use given file for log
-logger <classname> Specifies a class to handle Ant logging.
-listener <classname> Add an instance of class as a project listener
-noinput Do not allow interactive input
-buildfile <file> Use given buildfile
-file <file> Use given buildfile
-f <file> Use given buildfile
-D<property>=<value> Defines a property name-value pair on the command line.
-keep-going, -k execute all targets that do not depend on failed target(s)
-propertyfile <name> load all properties from file with -D properties taking precedence
-inputhandler <class> the class which will handle input requests
-find <file> Search for buildfile towards the root of the filesystem and use it
Rajesh Kumar
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