if I were writing an XML editor

There is a number of XML-editors, but there are no user-friendly ones (except FraemMaker). A standard XML editor is a tool for programmers, to play with XML. But technical writers need an user-centric XML editor, to play with a document, not with XML.

If I were writing an user-friendly XML editor, my specification would cover the following.

WYSIWYG, real or pseudo.

CALS tables support.

Entities support: if an XML document contains entities, the editor must retain them. More, the editor should easily fold/unfold/edit nested entities on demand:

* an entity can appear as some visual symbol
* an entity content can be diplayed in full
* an user can edit an entity separately

Implicit transformations: for editing and formatting purposes, it could be useful to modify the document’s structure while loading XML.

Advanced, hidden from an usual user: support of concurrent markup (multiple overlapping XML trees in one document).

Only basic DTD/Schema support, no need for an XSLT debugger and other programmer-centric tools.

Structure islands: allow to write as in Word, without any structure. Allow using XML only in parts of the document.

6 Responses to “if I were writing an XML editor”

  1. pterray Says:

    Well, there are good news for you:
    I know at least 4 editors that approach tour needs, and are way friendlier than FrameMaker: XMetaL, Epic, XXE and Serna.

    The trick is you have to look for technical publication editors, where they are really used. They are however quite expensive.

  2. Liz Andrews Says:

    You also may want to take a look at Authentic by Altova… The tool itself is free for any amount of users and only requires one license of StyleVision (stylesheet designer) to set up the WYSIWYG interface.

  3. olpa Says:

    A few years ago (and probably now), XMetal, XXE and Serna didn’t have such good support for entities as in Epic. And for some unknown reason, I dislike Epic very much

  4. nicity Says:

    Spending some time developing XML editing in IntelliJ IDEA, would like to receive constructive feedback for, say, IntelliJ IDEA 8

  5. olpa Says:

    IntelliJ IDEA and others are for programmers, not for technical writers. It’s not bad, but it’s for another target group.

  6. olpa Says:

    Probably the perfect match to my ideas: Serna XML Editor

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