In this chapter, you looked at ways to pass information to Ant so that it can perform actions based on that information. Many of the build file elements described are information aggregators that group file and directory names according to patterns. In other words, they collect information on the files and directories you want to use. Once this information has been gathered, Ant passes it to the tasks so that they can carry out their functions.
You can select files in many ways; the first way you looked at was patterns. Ant uses the standard wildcard characters (* and ?) and introduces the ** operator that tells Ant to expand directory structures. These operators are powerful in combination and make working with files much easier.
Ant provides you with a set selectors that you can use to further refine your selection criteria. They allow you to select files and directories based on physical properties, such as size and date of modification, rather than just on name.
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