Reviews

Review: <oXygen />

<oXygen /> 3.0
$74
www.oxygenxml.com

I'm always on the lookout for new tools, and XML editors definitely fall into that category. <oXygen /> is a Java-based XML editor that's tested and available on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and Solaris. I'd rank it in the middle range of XML editors I've looked at; more functional than simple color-coded Notepad replacements, not as full of bells and whistles as the high-cost products. If you need to edit XML files on a regular basis but don't have an unlimited budget, it's worth a look.

The program works as a multi-paneled color-coded editor. The main parts of the user interface include a project window that lets you organize a group of documents together, an editor window where you can work with the actual XML, an outline window which shows a treeview of XML nodes, and a transformation window that shows the results of applying some technology to the XML (for example, you can apply an XSLT stylesheet and see the results in this window). Clicking a node in the tree goes to that point in the editor window; if you change a node in the editor, the corresponding tree node will be highlighted. The tabbed editor also lets you easily work with multiple documents at the same time.

There are lots of nice features here. A partial list:

  • Editing from Web files via FTP or WebDAV
  • Validation by DTD, XML Schema, or Relax NG
  • A New Document Wizard to generate a document from a schema or DTD
  • Color-coding and pretty-printing
  • FOP support to turn your XML into PDFs
  • Automatic conversions between different types of schemas
  • Code completion for some editing tasks
  • A separate tree-based editor that combines editing and structure into one window
  • Explorer shell and Eclipse integration

What's not to like? As usual for Java applications, there are places where the fit with Windows isn't great; in particular, I wasn't impressed with the File Open dialog box, or with the bizarre highlight colors used by the help. But those are pretty minor nits to pick. Overall, <oXygen /> is a capable XML editor that goes beyond the basics, and its cross-platform availability is a definite boon for those who must work on a variety of operating systems.

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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