1.1. Ant's Origins
Ant was originally the brainchild of James Duncan Davidson, and the word Ant stands for "Another Neat Tool," a fact that relatively few developers realize. Ant 1.0 first appeared in March 2000. James' original inspiration was to create a build tool that used a simple XML-based format for build files, as opposed to the shell commands and involved formatting that Makefiles used. Ant caught on rapidly, and newer versions followedAnt 1.1 (July 2000), 1.2 (October 2000), 1.3 (March 2001), 1.4 (September 2001), and 1.5 (July 2003). The version this book usesversion 1.6.1appeared in February of 2004. Although James Davidson has moved on to work with other build tools, Ant continues to evolve on an almost daily basis.
Ant is an open source, Apache community project, and its home page is at http://ant.apache.org. Because it's an open source project, it's always developing. There are multiple authors, called committers, which can write to Ant's source code repositories. However, officially sanctioned Ant versions don't appear too rapidly, and when they do, they're usually backward compatible enough to make sure your build files aren't broken.