Last week I saw a couple of mentions about libraries that serve roughly the same technology, one coming from a mega-corp, the other from a single developer, and it got me thinking about other similar technologies.
The second library is much less grand, but no smaller in scope. It's Script# and enables you to do roughly the same in a C#/.NET world.
This idiom pervades what we do as developers. We abstract the real world of hardware and the operating system behind some simple yet flexible and expressive language and framework and we gain huge benefits in productivity and functionality.
It's not the complete and utter panacea though. There are still some times when you need to get under the hood. But it doesn't matter: in the vast majority of cases, the hood can stay resolutely closed.
So, for example, using an ORM like our XPO (eXpress Persistence Objects) framework makes sense in the general case. You would rather write C# code that accesses an ORM which then forms the exact SQL statement needed on the fly, than having to write a generic parametrized stored procedure that can do the majority of cases. You need the ability to switch database engines more than you need the highly-optimized T-SQL stored procedures that give you the last percentage of speed gain.
Look also at all the discussions on DSLs (Domain-Specific Languages). All these DSLs are are an abstraction of some problem domain in some textual form (sometimes XML) and some "compiler" or "interpreter" that does the right thing given some specification or "program" in the DSL. The developer writes something in a high-high-level language and the compiler converts it to a normal HLL or interprets it directly.
Ant works the same way, but applied to building applications. You write your build script as a series of tasks that need to be done. The tasks are simply Java classes that you (or more generally someone else) has written.
The thing is, we all have way more software to design and develop than we have time or resources to do it. Any alleviation of this problem is good for us all. I'd try out these toolkits and libraries in your next project to see if they help or hinder.