Product Reviews

Quick Review: XML Spy 4.0

One of the best XML editors out there, hands down.

Assuming that you haven't been doing your development in a cave, you've run across XML by now. Or possibly it's run over you. Whether you're working with databases, help files, e-commerce, or web services, XML files have become pervasive on today's development landscape. What you may not have run across is a good way to work with those files. If that's your situation, you can stop looking: XMLSpy is here. This is simply the best editor I've yet seen for XML files of all types.

One of the hallmarks of XMLSpy is its flexibility. It can handle XML, XSL, XSLT, DTD, XSD, and many other types of files. Depending on what you're doing you can edit in color-coded text, or in a table, or via a tree view of your document. There's a document editor view that lets you see an XML file as massaged by an XSL file -- and still keeps it editable! The richness of the editing tool set reminds me of Word or Excel; expect to spend some time learning all the bells and whistles of this product, although you can pick up the basics almost instantly.

The XMLSpy Suite also includes an excellent XSLT designer, and the document editor is available as a browser plug-in. Integration with other applications includes database import and export and source code control. XMLSpy even includes its own form editor, automation and event model, and VBScript or JavaScript based scripting environment to let you extend and automate the editing interface. The help files also deserve special mention; not only are they an excellent guide to the product, but they offer a good tutorial on the ins and outs of XML for the beginner as well.

If XML has crept into your development life, this product will definitely make things easier. You can download a fully-functional trial version from the XMLSpy web site if you'd like to take it for a spin.

About the Author

Mike Gunderloy, MCSE, MCSD, MCDBA, is a former MCP columnist and the author of numerous development books.

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