Welcome and say hello to empty. empty is a bunch of ANT Build Tasks for WordPress plugin developers that help automate the build thanks to Apache Ant

Why ANT not PHING?

Go ask Google that - there are plenty of conversations elsewhere on ANT vs PHING. It’s really a personal choice.

Ant, Phing, Grunt.js, make are all build tools for developers. Ant is a popular tool, free and widely used. It’s commonly used for Java but can fit in with other code and projects.

Why not Grunt.js?

Well yes, experimentation is good - Grunt.js may fit in there somewhere if ANT tasks for minify aren’t simple.

What’s in empty

empty supports a number of commonly needed task features like

  • create a compressed .zip of all your project files
  • copy the zip to your DropBox folder
  • works with a Mac and Windows
  • currently supports 4 dev, test and staging environments
  • basic edit / replace by tags of your readme markdown file
  • saves your readme.md as readme.txt to the distribution .zip

How to Get started with empty?

Download / fork the project

Save all the files into your WordPress plugin project directory Make sure you have Java and Apache Ant installed 🙂

Start by editing build.properties and enter the name of your plugin.

Then open Terminal or your CLI editor .. and type


If it’s going well .. you’ll see this -

Damiens-MacBook-Pro:empty damien$ ant
Buildfile: /wp-content/plugins/empty/build.xml

Total time: 1 second
Damiens-MacBook-Pro:empty damien$

Build your plugin compress .zip

This will ..

  • delete the temp build folders
  • make the build directories
  • copy all the required project files to a new folder
  • zip the finished project


ant make

and you’ll see

Damiens-MacBook-Pro:empty damien$ ant make
Buildfile: /Volumes/Proust/Sites/dev/wp-content/plugins/empty/build.xml

[delete] Deleting directory /Volumes/Proust/Sites/dev/wp-content/plugins/empty/build
[delete] Deleting directory /Volumes/Proust/Sites/dev/wp-content/plugins/empty/dist

[mkdir] Created dir: /Volumes/Proust/Sites/dev/wp-content/plugins/empty/build
[mkdir] Created dir: /Volumes/Proust/Sites/dev/wp-content/plugins/empty/build/empty
[mkdir] Created dir: /Volumes/Proust/Sites/dev/wp-content/plugins/empty/dist

[copy] Copying 6 files to /Volumes/Proust/Sites/dev/wp-content/plugins/empty/build/empty
[copy] Copying 2 files to /Volumes/Proust/Sites/dev/wp-content/plugins/empty/build/empty/css
[copy] Copied 1 empty directory to 1 empty directory under /Volumes/Proust/Sites/dev/wp-content/plugins/empty/build/empty/js

Total time: 0 seconds
Damiens-MacBook-Pro:empty damien$