How to upgrade Apache ANT to 1.8.2 on OSX using homebrew

After rebuilding my mac and losing all those useful bits you install over the years, I was tasked with upgrading my version Apache Ant from 1.7.1 to 1.8.2. We now use the excellent HTML5 Boilerplate build script for all our production releases at Coull, so I could no longer ignore the problem. You’re going to have to crank open the Terminal window and get bashing. Don’t panic!

To see what version you currently have installed run this:
$ ant -version
Apache Ant version 1.7.1 compiled on February 11 2010
I was advised to use the simple OSX package installer homebrew. I’m not going to discuss how to install this, as they have a really simple guide. However, it’s not obvious how to install Apache Ant as it’s not one of the packages they list. So here is the brew to get started: Beware, you might need to install Apple’s XCode, which if you’re still running OS X 10.6 or lower (like me) you can’t install the latest version (4) via the wonderful (?) AppStore. Ha! fun and games! Luckily, I have an Apple Developer account which allows you to download archived releases of Apple’s software. I created this ages ago and assume they’re still free to do… Once installed it puts the package here:
I then scratched my head for a while as to how to get OSX to use the newly installed version. It seems the easiest option is to remove the symlink currently set for the system. Run this to see where this is:
$ whereis ant
/usr/bin/ant       //returned message
So we need to remove the symlink and set it to our new installed copy. I found this article which got me started. Useful, but not perfect for a homebrew package install. So here is the final commands to change the symlink to the homebrew version:
$ sudo rm /usr/share/ant
$ ln -s /usr/local/Cellar/ant/1.8.2 ant
You now need to close your current terminal session and open a new one. In theory you should be able to run 'ant -version' to get the latest version…
$ ant -version
Apache Ant(TM) version 1.8.2 compiled on December 20 2010
I’m not sure if it’s best way to do it. But it’s a simple technique which can easily be updated if needed. At least you haven’t removed the base Java install of Ant from your system!
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