Some ideas about XML.

For a project I work on so now and then I work a lot with several XML standards like XSLT, XForms, XML-Schema and XHTML. I mostly use <oXygen/> XML Editor and XSLT Debugger for this. However this is a commercial tool and I don’t have a license for it so I’m not able to use it at home. It came to me that it’s really a shame that there isn’t an open source tool (at least I didn’t found it) for working with XML with the same quality. I think that this is really a shame because XML is a technology we shouldn’t ignore. In fact, we don’t ignore it because we use it in KDE in several places already, like in the KConfigXT framework and to describe user interfaces. Not only on the desktop XML is used more and more but a more important field (I think) is that of the service oriented software components, where XML makes it really possible to create loosly coupled software components which can be combined easily.

For a long time now I’ve been thinking that it would be really cool to haven a *really* good XML editor. Some features i’d like to see include:

  • autocompletion when given a schema or dtd
  • An editor which creates a skeleton of obligatory elements given a schema or dtd
  • An editor which behaves as a skeleton filler in stead of a normal text editor when given a schema. With this i mean for example that pressing arrow-right moves to next attribute or element value in stead of moving a character to the right.
  • Validating the elements of a specific namespace in a document containing more namespaces (for example validating XForms elements in a XHTML document
  • Support for XSLT transformations.
  • Fill in your favorite feature here….

Kate does offer some plugins for XML but they’re very basic in my opinion. As you see I started thinking about what I want, I even created an *very* (*very very*) rough sketch with some ideas of what might be needed at first. I really like to hear if there’s somebody out there with the same (or similar needs) and comments about the sketch. (Please keep in mind it’s really a first sketch not a serious attempt to lay down a complete design for a XML-Completion library.

Klik to enlarge:

A first very rough sketh for a XML completion and validation library.

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8 Responses to Some ideas about XML.

  1. Dritz says:

    I completely agree. A lot of the open source XML editors out there just don’t cut it. KXML Editor is interesting but doesn’t cut it especially with it’s insane overuse of namespaces when editing an XSL file.

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  3. I strongly need a tool like <oXygen/> or XMLSpy by Altova too. Being a web developer and using exclusively Free Software, I am used to edit my XML files with Kate/KXML Editor, transform them with xsltproc from the libxslt and evaluate XPath with XSH2, the XML Editing shell. I hope I will have one day a full featured Free Software and OS independant IDE for XML. Looks like a very good application candidate for KDE 4.1 :)

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Did you try eclipse ?
    Thought I’m not sure it supports XSLT very well.
    Maybe you can try this plugin for XLST:

    good luck

  6. Chris Hornbaker says:

    Quanta+ does most of this. It needs some work in the area of namespaces, however.

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