Paddy Gallagher, supported by Skills Matter, has started organizing some regular Groovy and Grails User Group meetings in London - at Skills Matter's premises in fact. He asked if I could do a talk on AntBuilder and **Gant** for last week's meeting, which I was happy to do.
Sessions such as these are not really the place for heavyweight presentations, so I talked around Gant code from real projects. Consequently, the slides I used have next to nothing on them. Nonetheless, people asked for them to be available. So you can get a PDF of the slides here.
For this talk, the main point was that using a dynamic programming language such as Groovy makes creating build systems so much easier. In the case of Groovy, there is AntBuilder allowing systems to be based on using all the ready-made tasks from the Ant library - and no XML, unlike with Ant and Maven.
Gant is basically an infrastructure framework around the AntBuilder, providing a command-line user interface and a ways of modularizing build scripts. Oh, and it provides an internal domain specific language to make Gant scripts look more like the classic Make, Rant, Ant, Maven type thing where there are targets that the system has to achieve.
If you are interested in a JVM-based build system, that doesn't use XML, but does provide the same sort of facilities as Make, Ant, SCons, Rant, etc. then take a look at **Gant**.