Ant Debugger

Compatible with: IntelliJ IDEA MPS Android Studio
Feb 15, 2010
4 291
Ant Debugger enables Apache Ant build script debugging:
  • Open build file in editor
  • Set debug breakpoints (screenshot 1)
  • Right click on editor to show context menu (screenshot 2) and select the "Debug" menu item to launch Ant debugger
  • Wait until the Ant debugger stops on breakpoint then use step or resume debugger commands, investigate Ant variables and execution stack (screenshot 3)

You can add Ant debug configuration from the Edit configurations dialog (screenshot 4). Then you select Ant file, Java SDK for debugging session (screenshot 5).

Note. Plugin requires Java SDK to launch Ant: plugin uses build file module, project or any SDK for JDK list (the plugin searches for Java SDK in this order and uses first found).

Installation: use Idea plugins manager:

  • open Settings > plugins
  • wait until the plugin list loads
  • right click on Ant Debugger plugin and select install / update from the context menu
  • restart Idea

Supported Idea versions: Idea 8.1.x, Idea 9 (community and ultimate editions).

Please write to antdebugger at if there are errors / problems when using Ant debugger

Recent change notes


  • Run setting: logging level (default, quiet, verbose, debug).
  • Launch targets from context menu fix


  • Show pathes in Ant variables (also avaliable in the Evaluate dialog by Alt-F8). The variable name is path element ID.
  • Don't stop on property tasks when stepping only if the task is outside the current target


  • Breakpoints fix for tasks with multiline empty tag
  • Don't stop on patternset, path, tstamp tasks when stepping


  • Create configuration from context menu: 'make' is disabled
  • Don't stop on property, typedef, taskdef tasks when stepping
  • Breakpoints fix for tasks with multiline open tag


  • Step in / over / out support
  • Run to cursor fixes


  • Run configuration fix: create configuration


  • Variable value tooltip, expression evaluation (Alt-F8)
  • Run configuration: show targets from imported files
  • Run configuration fix: reload targets list on build file change


  • Set breakpoint fix for Windows
  • Run configuration fix: create configuration in project without JDK
  • Fix: determine that Ant process terminated on debugger connect


  • Run configuration: build target selection
  • Can debug target right clicking on it
  • Run configuration: VM parameters


  • Fix: projects with JDK 1.5
  • Fix: step into macro-def
  • Multiple files support fixes


  • Ant launch fix for Windows: quotes


  • Ant launch fix for Windows


  • Fix for Windows: removed Java path checking
  • Ant launch fix for Windows


  • Configuration: custom Ant tasks folder
  • Fix: don't block Ant build if Idea hasn't connected to it (timeout in build listener)
  • More feedback for connect error


  • Multiple XML files support
  • UI enhancements