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

Discussion in 'XML' started by Mike Kamermans, Aug 15, 2004.

  1. 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.
    Mike Kamermans, Aug 15, 2004
    #1
    1. Advertising

  2. Mike Kamermans

    clintonG Guest

    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
    URL http://www.metromilwaukee.com/clintongallagher/



    "Mike Kamermans" <> wrote in message
    news:Xns9546C9632A989nihongoresources@213.75.12.148...
    > 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.
    clintonG, Aug 16, 2004
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. Mike Kamermans

    clintonG Guest

    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
    URL http://www.metromilwaukee.com/clintongallagher/


    "Mike Kamermans" <> wrote in message
    news:Xns9546C9632A989nihongoresources@213.75.12.148...
    > 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.
    clintonG, Aug 16, 2004
    #3
  4. Mike Kamermans

    Andy Dingley Guest

    On Sun, 15 Aug 2004 18:44:01 -0500, "clintonG"
    <> 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.
    Andy Dingley, Aug 16, 2004
    #4
  5. Mike Kamermans

    clintonG Guest

    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
    URL http://www.metromilwaukee.com/clintongallagher/


    "Andy Dingley" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > On Sun, 15 Aug 2004 18:44:01 -0500, "clintonG"
    > <> 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.
    >
    clintonG, Aug 16, 2004
    #5
  6. 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
    Mike Kamermans, Aug 16, 2004
    #6
  7. Mike Kamermans

    Andy Dingley Guest

    On 16 Aug 2004 22:11:13 GMT, Mike Kamermans <>
    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
    Andy Dingley, Aug 17, 2004
    #7
  8. Mike Kamermans

    clintonG Guest

    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
    URL http://www.metromilwaukee.com/clintongallagher/





    "Andy Dingley" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > On 16 Aug 2004 22:11:13 GMT, Mike Kamermans <>
    > 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
    clintonG, Aug 17, 2004
    #8
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