Friday, May 18, 2007

No online Ant API?!

(Warning: disgruntled rant below.)

Ok, so I'm writing an Ant task. I'd need the Ant API. Google "Ant API". First link is http://ant.apache.org/manual/api/index.html. Yeah, sounds about right; click. To my surprise, instead of the familiar JavaDoc page, I get this:

Apache Ant API has not been generated

If you see this page online at ant.apache.org, it is not a bug, but on purpose. We do not provide an online version of the API docs, they are included with all our distributions.

Now, just how arrogant is that? "On purpose"? Just exactly what purpose is that? Are you guys really this much bandwidth starved?

Just for the record, the JavaDoc is not included in all distributions. Y'know dear Ant team, since the Apache license pretty much takes away the power from you to dictate what's in a distribution, some distributions won't come with JavaDoc.

Like that obscure one that ships with XCode for Mac OS X, installed in /Developer/Java/Ant directory. I guess no one uses that anyway, right? I mean, what Java developer would be as insane to use Mac OS X, let alone the development tools that ship with it, right? I'm probably the only such loser on the planet, I can't imagine anything else can explain why noone has noticed this yet and told you about it, so you removed that silly claim from the page where the API docs should have been, and replaced it with, well, with the API docs. Give me a break.

You could say how that's Apple's fault, and I'd agree with you. But that you aren't helping at all is ridiculous, with as little as to keep an online accessible API docs for one of your highest-profile Java projects. In 2007, what Java open source project aspiring to claims of professionalism would purposefully refrains from hosting its JavaDocs on its site? If for nothing else, then all other factors being equal, people want to use their computers with least effort. With a computer connected to the Internet, the easiest way to get to an API is punch "$projectName API" into the browser's built-in Google search box and then hit the first link. Compare this to trying to find the relevant index.html on one's hard drive. Yeah, we're that spoiled.

Anyway, the first site on Google's search results list that can afford the horrid bandwidth and storage burden of hosting the Ant API is http://www.jajakarta.org/ant/ant-1.6.1/docs/ja/manual/api/help-doc.html. Kudos to them, and shame on whoever is responsible for this lameness in the Apache Ant team.

2 comments:

Stephan Müller said...

I never noticed this "on purpose" part. So basically I've been reading over this since I know Ant. Strange.

Eddie said...

Amazingly, four years after your post, they are still deliberately not providing online JavaDoc. Difficult to imagine that the bandwidth used by ANT for this purpose would overwhelm when everything else I've ever checked on apache.org hosts the documentation there.