Backing up your files with Ant and Eclipse

On January 10, 2008, in ANT, Eclipse, by Anuj Gakhar

I have heard a lot about Ant for years now but being a CF developer, never really had the need to use it, or I must say, never bothered to use it. However, recently, I read some blog posts about this and I was very impressed by its power and the opportunities it opens. So I decided to give it a try. Because I use Eclipse for development, it made my life easier as it comes with the Eclipse installation. All I had to do was to create a new Eclipse/CFEclipse project and throw in a build.xml file and then rock n roll.

As my first attempt with Ant, I decided to work on a build file that would take all my source files from a folder, zip them up and save the zip file into a backups folder giving the zip file a timestamp based name. Sounds very easy to do with a CF script but this time around I was gonna try to do this with a Ant build file.

Here is what I did :-

  1. Create a new Eclipse Project(I called it AntProject)
  2. Create a folder(srcFiles) and put some files in it.
  3. Create another folder (backups).
  4. Create a blank build.xml in the root of the Project.
  5. Copy the following code to the build.xml file.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<project name="makebackups" default="" basedir=".">
<!– project description–>
This file creates backups when its run

<!– set properties for the folder names we are going to use,
srcDir is where files will be coped from and destDir is where backup will be saved–>
<property name="srcDir" value="srcFiles"/>
<property name="destDir" value="backups"/>

<!– create a timestamp for the naming the Zip file–>
<format property="NOW_UK" pattern="yyyymmddhhmm" locale="en,UK"/>

<!– name of the zip file – based on current timestamp–>
<property name="zipFilename" value="bkp${NOW_UK}.zip" />

<!– zip up the files and save–>
<zip destfile="${destDir}/${zipFilename}"

<!– the code wont run without the below command,
ha ha , just kidding, this is just a info message–>
<echo level="info" message="File ${zipFilename} saved" />


Thats it! You can now run this project by right clicking on build.xml and then “Run As – Ant Build”
That should open up your Console window when you run this but to open the console window manually, you can do this.
Window -> Show View -> Other -> General -> Console.

If everything goes fine, you should see a zip file in the backups Folder. Really Cool! I am impressed. Now only if I can figure out how to do that each time I close my Eclipse without having to run it manually.

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6 Responses to Backing up your files with Ant and Eclipse

  1. You have a small issue with this line:

    The needs a / in it at the end according to my console error that I got from eclipse. Thanks for writing this up!

  2. Sorry, your zip line needs to be:
    <zip destfile=”${destDir}/${zipFilename}” basedir=”${srcDir}” update=”true” />

  3. Anuj Gakhar says:


    Oh yeah, I missed the closing line while posting this. Thanks for pointing it out.

  4. OMG, that is so quick and it allows a mapped drive for the destination (unlike SVN).

  5. Erick Araya says:

    Thanks for the help… this ant its great.

  6. allani abderraouf says:

    thanks a lot! 🙂
    there is a little mistake aboute the format “yyyymmddhhmm”
    after yyyy, you’ve put Minutes (mm) and not Months (MM)!
    so the format should be

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