Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Apache Ant Patterns

Apache Ant is used for Java build files. It uses so called "Ant-style" wildcards which have been accepted and are now used by many other tools.

Ant-style wildcards:


  • Matches one character (any character except path separators)
  • used to match file names
  • matches one level
  • any character except path separators

  • Matches zero or more characters (not including path separators)
  • used to match file names
  • matches one level
  • any character except path separators


  • Matches zero or more path segments (directory tree) 
  • used for folder-names matching
  • includes/matches path separators (slash, /) 
  • matches multiple levels
  • src/**/*.cs will find all cs files in any sub-directory of src

If we have the following tree:


Ant pattern which filters all .txt files in any subdirectory of a dir2 directory would be:


When ** is used as the name of a directory in the pattern, it matches zero or more directories.


Directory-based Tasks
How do I use Nant/Ant naming patterns?
Pattern matching guide
Learning Ant path style


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