Review: XMLFox

XMLFox 1.00

XML, of course, is ubiquitous these days. You probably run across XML in your daily development tasks on a more-or-less frequent basis. But unless you're really mired in it, you're unlikely to be an expert in all of the myriad XML standards out there. Take XSD, for example. You may know that XSD allows you to define the schema of an XML file containing data -- but what would you do if you needed to create an XSD file?

XMLFox offers a free and graphical answer to that question. This editor is divided into two panes. The left presents the structure of an XSD file as a treeview. The right pane shows the XML of the schema, or of an XML file being validated by the schema. You can edit in either pane, and have the results picked up by the other. In addition, the XML pane can display data in a grid or treeview as well as raw or formatted XML.

The result is that you can easily put together an XSD file with only a minimal knowledge of how XML schemas work. If you know you want a complex type containing a sequence of elements, you can put together the treeview just by clicking a few times and making choices, and then copy the XML you like from the right pane. XMLFox is also good for looking at the structure of an existing schema file.

There are definitely some rough edges in this first release: I had parts of the UI become disabled or out of synch with other parts, the toolbar buttons lack tooltips, and so on. But for its core use case, creating a new schema file, it's quite usable, and very affordable. Worth remembering just in case you ever run up against that use case in your own work.

About the Author

Mike Gunderloy has been developing software for a quarter-century now, and writing about it for nearly as long. He walked away from a .NET development career in 2006 and has been a happy Rails user ever since. Mike blogs at A Fresh Cup.


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