I could track down the reason for the problem. Now I'd need an advice from 
experts how to solve it :-)

When synchronizing the dirs, we'd like to preserve some files. These files have 
a certain local name. Hence we specify these files in the 'preserveintarget' 

The problem is that if a directory that should be deleted as a whole (because 
it does not exist in the source anymore) contains such a file, it does not get 
deleted (because it's still not empty).

How could I achieve that the non-existence of the dir in the source "wins" over 
the 'preserveintarget'?

Here's an example:

source dir structure: empty (i.e. no files or subdirs in it)

target dir structure:

aaa (dir)
   fileToPreserve.txt (file)

<project default="sync">

    <property name="from" value="C:\testFrom" />
    <property name="to" value="C:\testTo" />

    <target name="sync">
        <sync todir="${to}">
            <fileset dir="${from}"/>
                <include name="**/fileToPreserve.txt" />


The desired result here would be that the dir 'aaa' is deleted in the target 
because the dir does not exist in the source.

What I observe is that the dir 'aaa' is not deleted because it contains a file 
to preserve. But this file should be ignored in my case because 'aaa' should be 
deleted as a whole. I.e. ant should not even look into aaa.

How can I achieve this?


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