Custom Ant Task to Generate LCA Files from Scratch

After posting the previous article about being able to merge LCA files, another colleague contacted to say “This is great – but we need to generate LCA files from source as part of our build process”. It’s never enough is it? 🙂 Since most of the work was done I figured, why not add this functionality. I learned some interesting things along the way too.

I created a new class ( that extends the Ant MatchingTask. My goal for this task is scan the src folder specified in the build.xml and process any LiveCycle ES applications it finds. Yes, you can create LCAs in batch! The rule is that you create a folder in src for each LC ES application you want to package. each folder MUST follow typical LCA structure. My Ant task will process each folder as a separate application and generate one LCA file per LiveCycle ES app.

Now that I have a little more experience with writing Ant tasks, I realize that it’s better practice to simply have a ant task property that points to the src folder and include the folder processing logic in the Java code [versus my approach in the previous post where I left file processing up to the build.xml author]. You will notice the simplicity in build.xml task definition. However, I feel that it’s up to the build.xml author to choose to support batch LCA file generation. For that reason, I have left the ant-contrib loop.

Here is an interesting tidbit… In the file, each top-level-object (application asset) node contains a child element called properties. When I first had a look at some sample LCA files, I noticed that this node was different than the others. It’s value is clearly a Base64 encoded string. When I decoded the string, imagine my surprise when I realized that the value that was encoded is actually a serialized java.util.Properties object. After doing some investigations with my contacts in engineering, I found out that this was an element that was originally planned to contain LiveCycle ES asset configuration information, but in the end never gets used. It was planned to remove this element in the 2.5 release, but fell off the priority list. The bottom line is that although the properties element must be present with a Base64 encoded serialized java.util.Properies object – even if it’s empty. The reason is that the LCA importer looks for this entry, even if it’s not used, to validate the file. I explain this, because if you look at the Java source code you’ll wonder what I am doing :o).

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5 Responses to Custom Ant Task to Generate LCA Files from Scratch

  1. Very cool indeed, Marcel. Now how about a Maven plug-in? Ant is soooo 2009 🙂

  2. LC says:

    Hi Marcel,
    I tried running your script and it produced the lca but when I import it into Admin UI then it shows following error in Websphere log:

    [22/07/11 12:07:09:798 EDT] 00000132 ImportApplica E execute TRAS0014I: The following exception was logged ALC-DSC-000-000: Internal error.

    When I look into the newly generated LCA, I found out that the file size of generated LCA is different from the filessize of LCA created by Workbench.

    Please help!

  3. Thomas says:

    Hi Marcel,

    I tried to modify a lca file using shell script. What I did was unzip the lca, modify the files, then use the zip command to re-create the lca file.

    I have the same issue as LC, an internal error when importing.

    Do you know what’s specific with the lca format that we can’t reproduce by simply zipping the files ?



    • Marcel Boucher says:

      There is nothing special about the file other than the file. If there is the slightest thing wrong in this file, you will get the error you describe. Could you please send me via email your sample so I can have a look?