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Re: Open Source XML Editor

On Mon, 12 Feb 2001, Michael Smith wrote:

> Regarding a key point you make in the article:
>   What XML geeks really want to see is a free WYSIWYG XML editor like
>   XMetaL or Adept. And here it is. If we restrict ourselves (or our
>   customers) to using defined styles, OpenOffice can truly be a
>   structured XML editor, without ever knowing you are editing XML.
> Isn't the main value of a structured or so-called "validating" editor
> like XMetaL or Adept/Epic (or Emacs/PSGML, or a WYSIWYG editor like
> Morphon or epcEdit) that it enables validated editing against any
> _arbitrary_ DTD you plug into it, and gives you clear, direct access
> to the structural and semantic richness/complexity of that DTD?
> That is, what I think most people have in mind when they hear the
> phrase "structured XML editor" is an editor that constrains document
> authors to all rules of whatever DTD they want to author with --
> including restrictions on element order, on attribute values, and so
> on -- not just that it constrains them to a certain set of elements.

I guess I'm looking at it from an unusual perspective, and to that end,
maybe "structured XML editor" was the wrong term to use.

Just to kick off, I will say that OpenOffice *does* offer ways to guide
you what "tags" are valid at a particular point in your document. It does
this by defining style hierarchies. I'm not 100% sure if this is flexible
enough, but its a start for what you're after.

But the way I see it personally is that OpenOffice allows you to edit
arbitrary XML structures by modifying the *stylesheet* you apply to the
core OpenOffice XML format. So for example, I have stylesheets (and
accompanying OpenOffice templates) that allow you to generate either
DocBook or HTML directly. Other XML dialects are easy enough to add.

I'm not arguing with you though - I agree with what you're saying - its
not *exactly* what XMetaL or Adept give us. And it probably never will
be. But for many of us it hits that "good enough" spot, and in fact is
probably at a more intuitive level of usability than those other tools.

As usual, its a case of "right tool for the job". OpenOffice probably
isn't a good tool for authoring aircraft manuals, but it rocks for doing
technical documents to display on the web (note that the article in
question was authored using this technique).


    /||    ** Director and CTO **  **    http://axkit.com/    **
   //||    **  AxKit.com Ltd   **  ** XML Application Serving **
  // ||    ** http://axkit.org **  ** XSLT, XPathScript, XSP  **
 // \\| // 
    //  \\