Recommended XML and XSL editor

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Why the oXygen XML editor is one of the best xml editors on the market. How it meets my needs for XML editing, XSL debugging, and XPath testing

Date : 2009-04-25
There are quite a few XML editors on the market and most of them work well enough.

I found oXygen XML editor to be the best XML editor on the market because it has all the features I would ever need and a few I wont. Here are the features that I use most:

#1 - XML editor with Syntax highlighting and tag completion. You have to set this to your preferences but being able to keep track of when a tag is or is not closed is a real help. I also like being able to hit a button and have all the XML formatted neatly. I will go through static XML files in my projects and reformat them from time to time just to keep them all looking nice. You know how they get when other programmers get their dirty little fingers in there and muck them all up.

#2 - I really like the XSL debugger. It splits the screen into 3 panels arranged horizontally. The far left panel has your XML, the middle panel has your XSL and when you run it your output shows in the right most panel. I use this all the time to test and perfect XSL stylsheets. You can have more than one XML panel to use if you want to test several different sets of XML data through the XSL. I use this all the time and it's saved me hundreds of hours already.

#3 - XPath testing. There are several built in features for testing XPath strings against your XML. The one I use the most is right clicking on a tag in your XML and selecting "copy XPath" this will put a copy in the clipboard of the XPath needed to reach that tag. From there it's easy to adjust that XPath to select all of those nodes, or a particular one. Also you can put your XPath expression in a search box and test it to see what you got. I use this all the time to fine tune XPath expressions and it's great.

There are obviously a lot more features of oXygen XML editor but those are the 3 that I use most. If you're not currently using an XML editor you need one and the oXygen editor is a great one. I highly recommend getting it for your XML development.

It comes in several versions with various features but the version that I found most useful was the Professional version. Here are the 3 main versions:

oXygen XML editor Academic - $69.00

oXygen XML editor Professional - $366.00

oXygen XML editor Enterprise - $448.00

The Academic version has almost everything that the professional version has with one major exception and that is the file comparison features. The Professional and Academic versions will allow you to compare two XML files, or two directories of XML files. Many options exist to fine tune your comparison and the results can be displayed and edited in a variety of ways.

These features are definitely more useful to a professional programmer dealing with many XML files, while someone using the program for a class or simply for training wouldn't need those features.

Prices change from time to time so check them before making your decision.

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