Product Reviews

XMLSpy 5

XML has become a widely used method to make data more accessible, used by hard-core web designers and now home hobbyists alike. As XML is being used in more and more creative ways, developers have begun releasing tools to make the job easier. XMLSpy 5 from Altova is more like a suite of tools that handles all aspects of XML, from defining the schema (that specify the layout of the XML files) to collecting the data (that will be stored in the XML file) to designing stylesheets (that will transform the XML file to something more human-friendly).

The suite installed easily. One surprising feature of the installer was the option to include a number of third party plug-ins. This opened doors I didn't even know existed, such as a Microsoft tool that enables you to apply stylesheets directly to a SQL Server database, bypassing the XML step altogether. Other companies have similar niche solutions that may make your life much simpler.

Until now, my approach to XML was crude at best. I had been hand-writing my XML and XSL stylesheet files in a text editor, not even bothering with schema. I then combined the two using fop (a tool released by the Apache group) to produce PDF documents. At first I was intimidated by the power of XMLSpy, but I quickly saw (after installing the provided fop plug-in) that I could keep working just as before within XMLSpy. When I wanted to utilize more of the potential XML has to offer, XMLSpy's in-depth tutorials made learning the tools easy. The suite comes with fully populated examples and step-by-step instructions on how to reproduce them from the ground up. I found these to be almost as useful as O'Reilly's XML book for grasping what could be done with XML.

No matter what you're using XML for, as a dabbler or a SOAP developer, you'd benefit from Altova's top-notch toolset. Even if you create your XML by hand, XMLSpy's ability to create HTML or Word documentation, complete with easily understood diagrams, from your files may alone be worth the purchase price.

About the Author

This is Eric's first review for Developer Central.

Featured

  • SharePoint Framework 1.8 Now Generally Available

    Microsoft this week announced that SharePoint Framework 1.8 had reached "general availability" status, although some features are still at the preview stage.

  • How To Create Office 365 User Accounts in Bulk

    Manual account creation can be tedious, time-consuming and prone to human error, especially if you have more than a handful of Office 365 users to set up. Brien shows you a better way.

  • System Center 2019 Reaches General Availability

    System Center 2019 has now reached the "general availability" product stage, Microsoft indicated in a Thursday update.

  • SharePoint Online Users Getting News Improvements This Month

    Microsoft plans to roll out new capabilities for SharePoint Online users this month that will add greater control over how News articles appear in SharePoint sites, according to a Wednesday announcement.

comments powered by Disqus

Office 365 Watch

Sign up for our newsletter.

Terms and Privacy Policy consent

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.