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Recommended decent XML editor? I kind of desperately need one.

P: n/a
I hope someone can help me, because what I'm going through at the moment
trying to edit XML documents is enough to make me want to never edit XML
again.

I'm looking for an XML editor that has a few features that you'd expect
in any editor, except nearly none of them seem to have:

1 - Search and repalce with Regular Expressions.
2 - Search and Replace in an Xpath context.
3 - User specified tag-generation for either on a single line, or
over multuiple lines.
4 - Auto XML-formatting (ideally using the previous property)
5 - A "wrap selection in element" option
(1)

Admittedly, this is not so hard. A lot of XML editors have it, but some
don't.

(2)

This seems a lot harder to come by. In fact, so far no XML editor rogram
seems to have it. XMLwriter, XMLmind, XMLspy, <Oxygen/>... none of them.
This is hell, it's a function that I simply *need* as editor of XML
documents.

The fact that this doesn't exist means I'm resorting to scriptin Perl
scripts that do regular expression replacements that act only within
specific element nests. I have to do this manual for every xpath I need
something changed in... this wastes so much of my time it's surreal.

(3)

Again, something that apparently no editor seems to have. The fact that
this is missing means that editors that have what I need as (4), auto-
format XML in a completely unreadable fashion when in-sentence markup is
used to for instance indicate something is <bold>bold</bold> or has ruby-
style (www.w3c.org/TR/ruby) overhead reading.

if I type <ruby> and the editor I use auto-compeletes it to:

<ruby>
<rb></rb>
<rt></rt>
<ruby>

then that's completely useless, it's needed on a single line, not four
separate lines...

conversely, if I'm typing <table> I don't want the autocomplete to give
me <table><tr><td></td></tr></table>, I need it on multiple lines.

(4)

Why programs such as XMLspy miss this option is beyond me, but it's
something that's just really needed.

(5)

you select a bit of XML, select "wrap in element", give the program the
element's name, and presto, your selected text now sits between <element>
and </element>.

This is also something that anyone who writes XML, or has to edit it,
would expect to exist. It's common sense. But then again, not every XML
editor seems to have it.
If anyone knows an editor that has these features, please, PLEASE let me
know. At the moment I'm editing some bad XML and for something as
stupidly trivial as a text search and replace in an XPATH context, I need
to first script something in PERL that does the replacing in the proper
elements, then I need to autoformat the XML in XMLwriter because PERL
uses a blind replace, so tabs aren't shifted when a new tag is inserted
or an obsolete one removed. Then a have to kill all the bad formatting
that XMLwriter generated in terms of for instance <ruby> tags using
regular expression replacing in a high-level texteditor like TextPad.

I'm literally wasting hours with simple tasks...

Whoever knows, you're my hero.
Mike Kamermans

PS: I tried XMLspy, XMLmind, XMLwriter, Cooktop, Peter's XML editor and
Oxygen... from all those, only programming what I need in PERL seems to
be able to do what I'd expect from a half-decent XML editor.
Jul 20 '05 #1
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7 Replies


P: n/a
I think the general consensus agrees that Altova has taken the
lead in the 'best' category of XML tools.
--
<%= Clinton Gallagher, "Twice the Results -- Half the Cost"
Architectural & e-Business Consulting -- Software Development
NET cs*********@REMOVETHISTEXTmetromilwaukee.com
URL http://www.metromilwaukee.com/clintongallagher/

"Mike Kamermans" <mo******@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:Xn******************************@213.75.12.14 8...
I hope someone can help me, because what I'm going through at the moment
trying to edit XML documents is enough to make me want to never edit XML
again.

I'm looking for an XML editor that has a few features that you'd expect
in any editor, except nearly none of them seem to have:

1 - Search and repalce with Regular Expressions.
2 - Search and Replace in an Xpath context.
3 - User specified tag-generation for either on a single line, or
over multuiple lines.
4 - Auto XML-formatting (ideally using the previous property)
5 - A "wrap selection in element" option
(1)

Admittedly, this is not so hard. A lot of XML editors have it, but some
don't.

(2)

This seems a lot harder to come by. In fact, so far no XML editor rogram
seems to have it. XMLwriter, XMLmind, XMLspy, <Oxygen/>... none of them.
This is hell, it's a function that I simply *need* as editor of XML
documents.

The fact that this doesn't exist means I'm resorting to scriptin Perl
scripts that do regular expression replacements that act only within
specific element nests. I have to do this manual for every xpath I need
something changed in... this wastes so much of my time it's surreal.

(3)

Again, something that apparently no editor seems to have. The fact that
this is missing means that editors that have what I need as (4), auto-
format XML in a completely unreadable fashion when in-sentence markup is
used to for instance indicate something is <bold>bold</bold> or has ruby-
style (www.w3c.org/TR/ruby) overhead reading.

if I type <ruby> and the editor I use auto-compeletes it to:

<ruby>
<rb></rb>
<rt></rt>
<ruby>

then that's completely useless, it's needed on a single line, not four
separate lines...

conversely, if I'm typing <table> I don't want the autocomplete to give
me <table><tr><td></td></tr></table>, I need it on multiple lines.

(4)

Why programs such as XMLspy miss this option is beyond me, but it's
something that's just really needed.

(5)

you select a bit of XML, select "wrap in element", give the program the
element's name, and presto, your selected text now sits between <element>
and </element>.

This is also something that anyone who writes XML, or has to edit it,
would expect to exist. It's common sense. But then again, not every XML
editor seems to have it.
If anyone knows an editor that has these features, please, PLEASE let me
know. At the moment I'm editing some bad XML and for something as
stupidly trivial as a text search and replace in an XPATH context, I need
to first script something in PERL that does the replacing in the proper
elements, then I need to autoformat the XML in XMLwriter because PERL
uses a blind replace, so tabs aren't shifted when a new tag is inserted
or an obsolete one removed. Then a have to kill all the bad formatting
that XMLwriter generated in terms of for instance <ruby> tags using
regular expression replacing in a high-level texteditor like TextPad.

I'm literally wasting hours with simple tasks...

Whoever knows, you're my hero.
Mike Kamermans

PS: I tried XMLspy, XMLmind, XMLwriter, Cooktop, Peter's XML editor and
Oxygen... from all those, only programming what I need in PERL seems to
be able to do what I'd expect from a half-decent XML editor.

Jul 20 '05 #2

P: n/a
hey Mike -- I didn't scroll through that white space in your
message and missed reading you have tried XMLSpy. Good luck
finding the feature sets you need. Have you told Altova what you
need? If the feature is as helpful as you suggest they would probably
want to support it.
--
<%= Clinton Gallagher, "Twice the Results -- Half the Cost"
Architectural & e-Business Consulting -- Software Development
NET cs*********@REMOVETHISTEXTmetromilwaukee.com
URL http://www.metromilwaukee.com/clintongallagher/
"Mike Kamermans" <mo******@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:Xn******************************@213.75.12.14 8...
I hope someone can help me, because what I'm going through at the moment
trying to edit XML documents is enough to make me want to never edit XML
again.

I'm looking for an XML editor that has a few features that you'd expect
in any editor, except nearly none of them seem to have:

1 - Search and repalce with Regular Expressions.
2 - Search and Replace in an Xpath context.
3 - User specified tag-generation for either on a single line, or
over multuiple lines.
4 - Auto XML-formatting (ideally using the previous property)
5 - A "wrap selection in element" option
(1)

Admittedly, this is not so hard. A lot of XML editors have it, but some
don't.

(2)

This seems a lot harder to come by. In fact, so far no XML editor rogram
seems to have it. XMLwriter, XMLmind, XMLspy, <Oxygen/>... none of them.
This is hell, it's a function that I simply *need* as editor of XML
documents.

The fact that this doesn't exist means I'm resorting to scriptin Perl
scripts that do regular expression replacements that act only within
specific element nests. I have to do this manual for every xpath I need
something changed in... this wastes so much of my time it's surreal.

(3)

Again, something that apparently no editor seems to have. The fact that
this is missing means that editors that have what I need as (4), auto-
format XML in a completely unreadable fashion when in-sentence markup is
used to for instance indicate something is <bold>bold</bold> or has ruby-
style (www.w3c.org/TR/ruby) overhead reading.

if I type <ruby> and the editor I use auto-compeletes it to:

<ruby>
<rb></rb>
<rt></rt>
<ruby>

then that's completely useless, it's needed on a single line, not four
separate lines...

conversely, if I'm typing <table> I don't want the autocomplete to give
me <table><tr><td></td></tr></table>, I need it on multiple lines.

(4)

Why programs such as XMLspy miss this option is beyond me, but it's
something that's just really needed.

(5)

you select a bit of XML, select "wrap in element", give the program the
element's name, and presto, your selected text now sits between <element>
and </element>.

This is also something that anyone who writes XML, or has to edit it,
would expect to exist. It's common sense. But then again, not every XML
editor seems to have it.
If anyone knows an editor that has these features, please, PLEASE let me
know. At the moment I'm editing some bad XML and for something as
stupidly trivial as a text search and replace in an XPATH context, I need
to first script something in PERL that does the replacing in the proper
elements, then I need to autoformat the XML in XMLwriter because PERL
uses a blind replace, so tabs aren't shifted when a new tag is inserted
or an obsolete one removed. Then a have to kill all the bad formatting
that XMLwriter generated in terms of for instance <ruby> tags using
regular expression replacing in a high-level texteditor like TextPad.

I'm literally wasting hours with simple tasks...

Whoever knows, you're my hero.
Mike Kamermans

PS: I tried XMLspy, XMLmind, XMLwriter, Cooktop, Peter's XML editor and
Oxygen... from all those, only programming what I need in PERL seems to
be able to do what I'd expect from a half-decent XML editor.

Jul 20 '05 #3

P: n/a
On Sun, 15 Aug 2004 18:44:01 -0500, "clintonG"
<cs*********@REMOVETHISTEXTmetromilwaukee.com> wrote:
I think the general consensus agrees that Altova has taken the
lead in the 'best' category of XML tools.


Then god help us.....

XMLSpy is the most brain-dead piece of junk I've used outside of a
M$oft product.

Jul 20 '05 #4

P: n/a
I should have listened to one of my uncles who says
"don't believe anything your hear (or read) and only half
of what you see"

--
<%= Clinton Gallagher, "Twice the Results -- Half the Cost"
Architectural & e-Business Consulting -- Software Development
NET cs*********@REMOVETHISTEXTmetromilwaukee.com
URL http://www.metromilwaukee.com/clintongallagher/
"Andy Dingley" <di*****@codesmiths.com> wrote in message
news:8c********************************@4ax.com...
On Sun, 15 Aug 2004 18:44:01 -0500, "clintonG"
<cs*********@REMOVETHISTEXTmetromilwaukee.com> wrote:
I think the general consensus agrees that Altova has taken the
lead in the 'best' category of XML tools.


Then god help us.....

XMLSpy is the most brain-dead piece of junk I've used outside of a
M$oft product.

Jul 20 '05 #5

P: n/a
Clinton,

<< I didn't scroll through that white space in your message and missed
reading you have tried XMLSpy. Good luck finding the feature sets you
need. Have you told Altova what you need? If the feature is as helpful as
you suggest they would probably want to support it.>>

Sadly, altova has a reasonably single-sided support. IE, you write your
message in their forum, then pray. Unless you buy their product, but I
have no intention of buying their product when it's not entirely doing
what I want it to =)

I tried contacting them, I'll see if they want to improve their product
based on user feedback or whether they'd rather make an XML editor that's
pretty decent for writing new XML in, but kind of not so decent for
editing XML.

I also sent some makes to caldonia, the authors of exchanger XML. Their
products still kind of starting up, but with some luck their next version
might contain most of the functionality I need. If so, they'll have a
devoted customer extra =)

Thanks for the reply though.

Oh, sidenote to Andy: please don't compare per analogy. if Altova taking
the lead is bad in your opinion (they seem a bit too corporate to me, but
their product does handle large datafiles in a timely manner, and it
looks cleaner than most java/Eclipse implementations. It's just missing a
few features I need), then just say you think they are and stop there =)

- Mike
Jul 20 '05 #6

P: n/a
On 16 Aug 2004 22:11:13 GMT, Mike Kamermans <mo******@hotmail.com>
wrote:
Oh, sidenote to Andy: please don't compare per analogy.


At 4am I don't have time to write product reviews on brain-dead
products.

On my last site, we had two corporate editor options; XMLSpy and
TextPad. After a while I switched to TextPad alone, even though it
has no XML features. At least it didn't break.

Good stuff:

- Nice integrated XSL dev environment. I like the way it swapped
XSLT processors so easily, even though you couldn't quite so easily
switch from one to another and back again. One day I'll sit down and
write something similar for jEdit (manyana !)

- Grid view for XML. Keeps the muppets who can't read the source
happy. Mind you, it crashes fatally on trying to print this view,
but you can't have everything...

- Happy smiley schema editor. I only once caught it breaking a
schema and changing it to something different, after round-tripping it
from source to idiot-view to source.
Bad stuff.

- It doesn't do element completion. All it does is create both tags
for you at once. This is just plain dumb wrong. It's wrong for new
typing, and it's completely useless for trying to sort out an edit
where the tags are already unbalanced and you're trying to fix it.

- Altova are useless for support. I was using V4.4 (?) and I can
accept that many of my problems might well be fixed bugs by now.
However they ignored my questions as to whether they were fixed or
not. So they lost an upgrade for a site licence, which wouldn't have
been a trivial sum.

- It really sucks for non-XML files. I spend all day editing, some
XML some not, and I don't want to have to do it in two editors. If I
have to make the choice, I'm not choosing XMLSpy.

- Text search is trivial (and frequently just breaks altogether).
It's a programmer's text editor FFS ! Find and Replace just _works_,
this isn't 1970 !

- It's just buggy. Any program that breaks Windows badly enough that
you can't do a clean shutdown afterwards is just too broken to trust.

- It's far too keen on validating and pretty printing things that
don't need it.

- It won't run XSLT on invalid documents. There's no reason why it
shouldn't permit this - XSLT doesn't depend on schema validity.

- It insists on having the schema available, or it whines like a
Californian teenager. If this is a publically shared schema on an tiny
developer support server, then the bloody XMLSpy users gang up and
club your server to death.

- It doesn't work with modularised schema. I was doing PartnerML
development, where the schema is all over the place. I never did get
XMLSpy to be happy in loading perfectly valid documents and working
with them correctly.

- And a dozen other minor whines, I no longer remember nor care
about.

--
Smert' spamionam
Jul 20 '05 #7

P: n/a
I can respect a scathing point of view when clearly shown to be
speaking from experience.

--
<%= Clinton Gallagher, "Twice the Results -- Half the Cost"
Architectural & e-Business Consulting -- Software Development
NET cs*********@REMOVETHISTEXTmetromilwaukee.com
URL http://www.metromilwaukee.com/clintongallagher/

"Andy Dingley" <di*****@codesmiths.com> wrote in message
news:de********************************@4ax.com...
On 16 Aug 2004 22:11:13 GMT, Mike Kamermans <mo******@hotmail.com>
wrote:
Oh, sidenote to Andy: please don't compare per analogy.


At 4am I don't have time to write product reviews on brain-dead
products.

On my last site, we had two corporate editor options; XMLSpy and
TextPad. After a while I switched to TextPad alone, even though it
has no XML features. At least it didn't break.

Good stuff:

- Nice integrated XSL dev environment. I like the way it swapped
XSLT processors so easily, even though you couldn't quite so easily
switch from one to another and back again. One day I'll sit down and
write something similar for jEdit (manyana !)

- Grid view for XML. Keeps the muppets who can't read the source
happy. Mind you, it crashes fatally on trying to print this view,
but you can't have everything...

- Happy smiley schema editor. I only once caught it breaking a
schema and changing it to something different, after round-tripping it
from source to idiot-view to source.
Bad stuff.

- It doesn't do element completion. All it does is create both tags
for you at once. This is just plain dumb wrong. It's wrong for new
typing, and it's completely useless for trying to sort out an edit
where the tags are already unbalanced and you're trying to fix it.

- Altova are useless for support. I was using V4.4 (?) and I can
accept that many of my problems might well be fixed bugs by now.
However they ignored my questions as to whether they were fixed or
not. So they lost an upgrade for a site licence, which wouldn't have
been a trivial sum.

- It really sucks for non-XML files. I spend all day editing, some
XML some not, and I don't want to have to do it in two editors. If I
have to make the choice, I'm not choosing XMLSpy.

- Text search is trivial (and frequently just breaks altogether).
It's a programmer's text editor FFS ! Find and Replace just _works_,
this isn't 1970 !

- It's just buggy. Any program that breaks Windows badly enough that
you can't do a clean shutdown afterwards is just too broken to trust.

- It's far too keen on validating and pretty printing things that
don't need it.

- It won't run XSLT on invalid documents. There's no reason why it
shouldn't permit this - XSLT doesn't depend on schema validity.

- It insists on having the schema available, or it whines like a
Californian teenager. If this is a publically shared schema on an tiny
developer support server, then the bloody XMLSpy users gang up and
club your server to death.

- It doesn't work with modularised schema. I was doing PartnerML
development, where the schema is all over the place. I never did get
XMLSpy to be happy in loading perfectly valid documents and working
with them correctly.

- And a dozen other minor whines, I no longer remember nor care
about.

--
Smert' spamionam

Jul 20 '05 #8

This discussion thread is closed

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