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Check out this free XML editor
Ed Tittel

In previous XML tips, I've extolled the virtues and capabilities of the outstanding XML Spy editor, still available as a commercial product named XMLSpy 5.0 through or On March 18, Altova announced the release of an XML document editor named Authentic 5 which is available to the general public for download at no charge.

Simply put, Authentic 5 is a light-weight version of XMLSpy 5 Release 3 that still retains customizability features, albeit at less than the capabilities found in its commercial counterpart. Authentic 5 presents a web-enabled user interface that looks and acts very much like a word processor. In addition, Authentic 5 includes the following capabilities:

  • Full support for standard Internet protocols and file transfer interfaces such as HTTP, FTP, WebDAV, and more.
  • Browser plug-in that permits business users to access and edit XML content on the Web
  • Spell-checking capabilities, with support for 14 languages, plus legal and medical dictionaries
  • Real-time document validation
  • Templates for 15 standard XML content formats including DocBook, NewsML, and other XML-based markup languages
  • Works with XML content repositories including Oracle XML DB and Microsoft's Content Management System (CMS) 2002 through all kinds of database, text management, and content server interfaces
  • Comprehensive forms support using XML and CSLT for text assembly, formatting and validation purposes
  • Works with Altova's Stylesheet Designer product Stylevision 5 (available separately, and included with XMLSpy 5), which can transform XML content into HTML and PDF formats for output.

Interested readers can view a live demonstration of the tool online at, and can download the software from More details about Authentic 5 are available at; a PDF document on the product is available at:

What's really interesting about this move on Altova's part is that it puts a powerful, usable, friendly XML editing tool into the public's hands at no charge. With its combination of visual design tools, XML forms capability, support for both SGML DTDs and XML Schema validating parsers, and lots of other bells and whistles, Altova is putting some amazing functionality into the public's hands for free. It will be extremely interesting to get to know this new product and to better understand how it compares to XMLSpy 5 itself, but also to see what kind of impact such a product will have on a marketplace where free software has an enduring and increasing appeal. This could be a real boost for XML use (and users) everywhere. Be sure to check it out.

About the Author

Ed Tittel is a 20-plus year veteran of the computing industry, who's worked as a programmer, manager, systems engineer, instructor, writer, trainer, and consultant. He's also the series editor of Que Certification's Exam Cram 2 and Training Guide series, and writes and teaches regularly on Web markup languages and related topics.

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