Saturday, February 17, 2007
I just came across this JavaPosse podcast where they talk about Virtual Ant. They seem to be confused as to whether Virtual Ant runs only on Windows and can it run other operating systems too or not?
Here is the answer to that and some another queries I received in mail today –
- Does Virtual Ant run only on Windows? Can I run Virtual Ant on other operating systems, like linux or mac os x ?
Virtual Ant is written completely in Java. (Yes, that's a swing ui you see in the video). So it can run on any operating system which can run Java. So yes, you can run it on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X, even on Solaris if you want.
- Has the video been edited in any way to make Virtual Ant seem faster in any way?
No. Virtual Ant really is that fast. If it wasn't so fast then creating those build scripts would be a huge pain, since you have to wait after each operation for it to complete.
- Does Virtual Ant only create build scripts? What about my existing build scripts? Can I open them in Virtual Ant too?
Virtual Ant can both read and write Ant scripts. So you can open existing scripts, play them inside Virtual Ant, make changes and let the xml take care of itself. Part of the design goal of Virtual Ant is that you never ever have to deal with the xml. As an analogy think of word documents, you don't care about the xml that is generated when the document is saved, you just care about how the document actually looks. The same goes for Virtual Ant. That xml tab you see is there just for die hard xml fans or people who might be skeptical about using a GUI for everything. Once you start using Virtual Ant you will see yourself never needing to switch to it. And yes, if you do make any changes right in the xml, when you switch to the GUI tab you will see the changes have been applied to the GUI too.
Friday, February 16, 2007
Quite a few people have been asking me about the performance and system requirements for Virtual Ant. Here is a short faq which answers most of your queries -
- Do I have to go through an elaborate, long install procedure which creates a virtual copy of my system and occupies gigabytes of my disk space?
No, nothing like that. You just copy the virtual ant files to your disk, which will probably be < 10 mb eventually and that's it.
- Does Virtual Ant require running some background process to virtualize the file system?
No. You do not need to run any background process. It just opens like any other program.
- Do I have to wait for an insanely long time when I open Virtual Ant, while it virtualizes my file system?
No. Virtual Ant loads up instantly. Your file system is virtualized on the fly as you use Virtual Ant.
- Does Virtual Ant require a high end system with insane amounts of memory?
No. Virtual Ant will run on any modern system and has extremely modest memory requirements.
- How does Virtual Ant and the Virtual File System work?
We can't reveal this right now, but all the information about the internals of Virtual Ant will be available for you to see on release.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
The placid website is divided into 2 modules – asp.net and java. For those who are wondering why we have such a toxic mix of languages, well its cause our ANTLR Studio license generator program is written in Java. We tried porting it to .net but due to some weird incompatibilities in the cryptography apis we found it much easier to just run it as a separate module in java.
So we had iis running on port 80 and tomcat on port 8080. I know there is an apache_jk connector available which allows running both iis and tomcat on port 80, but I just couldn't get it to work for the life of me. So we were stuck with critical portions of the site running on port 8080, like the page to download the evaluation license.
The reason why port 8080 of course caused a lot of problems since most corporate firewalls have that port blocked as it is not one of the ports used by any standard app like http, ftp, ssh, etc. This resulted in many people not being able to download the evaluation license.
But as of today, that has changed and now the java module is running on port 443. Port 443 is the port used by 'secure http' or 'https' and thus is open on every corporate firewall, thus you should no longer face any problems accessing any portion of the site anymore :)