As I write this tip, I'm nearing the midpoint of a two-week stint at the TechTarget Expert Answer Center, where I'm blogging daily and answering member questions about—you guessed it—XML topics, tools, and technologies. This tip is an expanded version of a blog I wrote on February 15, 2006. It describes a very nice and quite affordable XML authoring environment and toolset called Oxygen. SyncRO Soft Ltd is the company behind the product formally known as the Oxygen XML editor.
Every product's got to have a name and a tag line. As far as product names go, Oxygen is pretty cool: The basis for combustion, a necessity of life and generally pretty good stuff. But the tag line "XML Editor" barely scratches the surface of what Oxygen can do, as you'll shortly read (and soon find out, if you decide to explore this program's capabilities).
Let me come right out and confess that I'm a long time user of Altova XMLSpy myself, but I have also flirted with Oxygen as releases have come and gone over the past three years. It looks like the time for more serious inspection may be at hand for me, and that you, gentle reader, might also benefit from a similar exercise—at least if you're interested in checking out a state-of-the-art XML authoring toolset. I use the term "toolset" rather than editor or authoring tool simply because of the wealth of capabilities that Oxygen brings to the table. This product not only includes basic XML editing chops, it also works as an XML Schema Editor, an XSL/XSLT Editor and does XSL/XSLT refactoring. It provides XSL, XSLT and XQuery debugging facilities as well. It also works with all the big validation engines from Xerces to MSXML.NET to Saxon SA and can handle SGML DTDs and RELAX NG metadata as well as XML Schema. It even supports batch operation for wholesale validation and transformation passes over document sets.
You can easily switch among multiple views of a single document, among which is a tree-based outline that automatically stays in synch with the edited document. Other views include an XML source editor, an XSLT debugger, an XQuery debugger and a tree viewer/editor that presents a document in hierarchical tree format instead of as running text. You can even run XML Diff and Merge to compare or combine multiple versions of the same document. You can even apply spell-checking, work with FOPs (formatting object processors) and use a single license to run the software on Windows, Mac or Linux platforms.
I could go on and on, but hopefully you get the point. This is a nice tool and worth looking into if you're in the market for one. Licenses come in a variety of types and target different usage scenarios (Professional/single-PC; Professional/Floating license; Adademic/Home Edition; and Academic Classroom). Costs range from $180 ($229 including 1 year of maintenance) for the Professional/single-PC, single-copy license to $48 for the Academic/Home Edition, single copy license ($64 including 1 year of maintenance). The latter is, of course, a great way to try the product out before committing to a full-fledged commercial purchase, but there's also a free 30-day trial license available to those wiling to provide basic registration info at the company Website.
Try it, you'll like it!
About the author
Ed Tittel is a full-time writer and trainer whose interests include XML and development topics, along with IT Certification and information security topics. E-mail Ed with comments, questions, or suggested topics or tools for review.