This came up previously in this thread, http://dev.eclipse.org/mhonarc/lists/pde-build-dev/msg00076.html, but it seems to have fallen on the floor and rolled under the couch. Nonetheless, my company had migrated out builds to maven and we were reaping the rewards of mavenized nirvana when we started developing RCP apps and needing to build the plugins in our automated build system, Anthhill Pro.
I've checked out the org.eclipse.pde.build plugin and from what I can tell the current build system is too tightly coupled to ant. Recently in the 3.2 timeframe the IFetchFactory was introduced to deal with getting source from cm systems other than cvs (
i.e. subversion, perforce, etc). This was a welcome change but even then the result was forced to generate ant. I have not done a complete review of all 66 source files in the build plugin, but from a quick review it seems like the eclipse build mechanism could be refactored to support other build mechanisms without breaking the current predisposition towards ant.
From a high level eclipse wants to do pre and post actions for build setup, retrieving the source, building the feature/plugin, testing the plugin, assembling the feature/plugin, packaging and publishing the feature/plugin. These actions map extremely well to maven 2's notion of a lifecycle. Either the current default maven 2 lifecycle could be used or a custom plugin can be defined that uses an eclipse specific lifecycle similar to how the clover plugin has its own lifecycle. To make this happen I think that there should be a
org.eclipse.pde.build.IBuildScript interface that is used. The current IAntScript interface could extend the IBuildScript interface to maintain backwards compatibility. Nonetheless, if the lifecycle phase methods were placed in the IBuildScript interface then other methods builds systems (IMavenScript, IIvyScript, IJamScript, etc) could be plugged in at ease without being tied to a specific one.
There may be glaring holes and over simplifications I have made but getting our builds working again in a smooth fashion is a priority goal I have and currently I have 1.5 engineers I can throw at the problem. Thoughts??