Chris Pearl wrote:
> Further Investigation clears up some of the mystery.
> 
> The following ML post [1] claims that Rant
> covers some major use-cases which Rake doesn't. Key quote: "Rake
> appears to have no concern with anything outside the Ruby community".
> In other words, Rake is dedicated to building Ruby software system,
> and not interested in building anything else, while Rant is.
> 
> The author of that post was familiar with Rake [2], and later became a
> lead developer of Rant. So I assume he knows what he's talking about.

That's interesting, considering the Rake tutorial 
(http://docs.rubyrake.org/read/book/1) actually covers building C code. 
Does the OP mention *which* use cases Rake doesn't cover?  I'd be 
curious to know.

> That said, the above provides a solid conceptual ground for the
> overwhelming preference of Rake over Rant in both Rails and the static
> site generation systems I'm currently reviewing, all of which are
> focused on very simple and/or Ruby-specific tasks.

I think it stands to reason that most people would use Rake for Ruby (or 
C).  Just as most people use Ant for Java even though, in theory, you 
could use it for something else.  Such is the nature of things.

> As for more practical grounds, this ML post [3] reveals that as recent
> as six months ago, Rant was experiencing serious existential threats.
> The sole developer announced he ran out of time and was not planning
> any further development. As Rant was at that point (and still is) in
> beta state, stagnation meant death. And indeed the major discussion
> channel of the Rant community was fizzling out.

That would be a shame.  I like the idea that there's an alternative out 
there if we need it.

> Under such conditions, it is no wonder that Rant would be perceived as
> too risky a choice for anyone but those who actually needed the
> non-Ruby-related features it offered over the stable, mature and vital
> Rake.

I'm not really sure what risk there is in practical terms, given that 
gems are the primary way most people get their code these days. 
Gem#add_dependency('rant'). :)

I looked over the Rant project a bit, btw.  Superficially it looked very 
similar to Rake, and I didn't see a compelling reason to switch from 
Rake.  That doesn't mean one doesn't exist, however.  Rake is certainly 
not perfect IMHO, but it's "good enough".

> At least three of these later sort joined the Rant development
> team soon after the quoted discussion took place. Since then, Rant has
> been making pretty steady progress. I'm not sure it would become a
> tempting alternative for those who can do with Rake, but it certainly
> looks poised to becoming more appealing for those who need the extra
> features and/or are looking for a build tool for non-Ruby-related
> systems.
> 
> -Chris

If there's a compelling reason to switch, then people will switch.  If 
not, they won't.

Regards,

Dan