xml custom interface program?

Discussion in 'XML' started by smokeyd, Nov 15, 2006.

  1. smokeyd

    smokeyd Guest

    i am trying to find an easy way for non technical people to edit an xml
    file. ideally this would mean that i could create a really simple
    interface with fields for users to complete which would then ammend an
    xml file. for example if this was a telephone message it would be
    something like:

    enter name [name textbox]
    enter tel number [tel number]
    enter message [phone message]
    [submit]

    does anyone know of any software that would make this possible?
    ideally this would be free for use on mac and pc.. your help is much
    appreciated.
    smokeyd, Nov 15, 2006
    #1
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  2. smokeyd wrote:

    > i am trying to find an easy way for non technical people to edit an xml
    > file. ideally this would mean that i could create a really simple
    > interface with fields for users to complete which would then ammend an


    This question has come up here some months ago.
    At that time, nobody knew a tool. The problem
    can be re-stated as a compiler construction
    problem.

    INPUT: DTD or a Schema or an example XML file
    OUTPUT: Source code of a GUI application

    The GUI application is expected to support the
    user in creating a valid file. Hints about correct
    usage should be given.
    =?ISO-8859-1?Q?J=FCrgen_Kahrs?=, Nov 15, 2006
    #2
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  3. smokeyd

    Peter Flynn Guest

    smokeyd wrote:
    > i am trying to find an easy way for non technical people to edit an xml
    > file.


    For normal text documents this doesn't exist. All the editors require
    far too much foreknowledge of XML. See my paper at Extreme Markup this
    summer which goes into this in detail (http://epu.ucc.ie/articles/extreme06)

    > ideally this would mean that i could create a really simple
    > interface with fields for users to complete which would then ammend an
    > xml file.


    Have a look at Microsoft's InfoPath.

    > does anyone know of any software that would make this possible?
    > ideally this would be free for use on mac and pc..


    XForms will eventually help here. But it's early days.

    ///Peter
    Peter Flynn, Nov 15, 2006
    #3
  4. smokeyd

    Peter Flynn Guest

    � wrote:
    > smokeyd wrote:
    >
    >> i am trying to find an easy way for non technical people to edit an xml
    >> file. ideally this would mean that i could create a really simple
    >> interface with fields for users to complete which would then ammend an

    >
    > This question has come up here some months ago.
    > At that time, nobody knew a tool. The problem
    > can be re-stated as a compiler construction
    > problem.
    >
    > INPUT: DTD or a Schema or an example XML file
    > OUTPUT: Source code of a GUI application
    >
    > The GUI application is expected to support the
    > user in creating a valid file. Hints about correct
    > usage should be given.


    One of the problems is that there is no accepted standard for expressing
    the necessary hints. Various manufacturers have tried various methods at
    various times from the beginning of SGML to the present day, but no-one
    has yet hit on an acceptable method.

    In any case, for "data" XML the problem is just one of screen-painting:
    all the other tools exist, and something like Tcl/Tk's "pack" algorithm
    should be useful. For "document" XML the field is still wide open.

    ///Peter
    --
    XML FAQ: http://xml.silmaril.ie/
    Peter Flynn, Nov 15, 2006
    #4
  5. There have been tools that have tried to read a schema and generate a
    set of interactions for creating documents that conform to that schema,
    but those can't keep track of constraints that aren't expressed directly
    in the schema (and, realistically, there always are some), nor do they
    know enough about the intent of the data to provide useful prompting.
    Some folks have tried to solve this by annotating schemas with
    additional information to drive these tools, but generally it hasn't
    been very successful. At best, you get an interaction which is suitable
    for someone who already understands the XML.

    The more common solution is to throw together a really simple program
    that gathers the data and then generates XML output. Or to use an
    existing program, and then export or convert its output into the XML
    representation. Some things really are easier to do than to automate.

    --
    () ASCII Ribbon Campaign | Joe Kesselman
    /\ Stamp out HTML e-mail! | System architexture and kinetic poetry
    Joe Kesselman, Nov 16, 2006
    #5
  6. Peter Flynn escribió:
    > smokeyd wrote:
    >> i am trying to find an easy way for non technical people to edit an xml
    >> file.

    > ...
    >> ideally this would mean that i could create a really simple
    >> interface with fields for users to complete which would then ammend an
    >> xml file.

    >
    > Have a look at Microsoft's InfoPath.


    Or Altova's Authentic/StyleVision.

    Regards.
    --
    Manuel Collado - http://lml.ls.fi.upm.es/~mcollado
    Manuel Collado, Nov 16, 2006
    #6
  7. Manuel Collado wrote:

    >> Have a look at Microsoft's InfoPath.

    >
    > Or Altova's Authentic/StyleVision.


    Can you recommend any of these ?
    Can someone who is really only a user work with it ?
    =?UTF-8?B?SsO8cmdlbiBLYWhycw==?=, Nov 16, 2006
    #7
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