In-Depth

Integrate xmlspy 2004 Into VS.NET

Integrate Altova's new release of xmlspy 2004 into your existing Visual Studio .NET projects.

Technology Toolbox: XML

Altova's xmlspy has been one of the top XML editors for several years due to its support for XML document editing, schema design and validation, XSLT editing and debugging, and WSDL/SOAP capabilities. I've been a fan of xmlspy, but have often wished there were a way to integrate it into existing Visual Studio .NET projects. This capability is now possible with Altova's release of xmlspy 2004. You can use the product within Visual Studio .NET directly; this is a big win for .NET/XML and Web service developers.

You first must install the product onto your development machine. You can download a demo from Altova's Web site. Once you install xmlspy 2004, you can run a second install package called "xmlspy 2004 Integration for Visual Studio .NET." This installation package works with Visual Studio .NET versions 2002 and 2003.

After installing the integration package, you can access xmlspy 2004 menus and functionality from within VS.NET projects. You can use the menus to generate a schema for an existing XML document (see Figure 1). Once the schema is generated, you can show a visual representation of it within VS.NET (see Figure 2).

xmlspy's XSLT debugger is now available in VS.NET; it simplifies working with advanced XSLT stylesheets (see Figure 3 for an example of working with XSLT breakpoints). The visual WSDL file editor makes editing WSDL documents much more pleasant and productive (see Figure 4). The xmlspy SOAP debugger is also available within the VS.NET project environment.

The new xmlspy 2004 VS.NET integration package is a nice addition to your development toolbox; it can help you work with different XML technologies while developing .NET applications. The time you'll save in avoiding the annoying switch between the xmlspy and VS.NET editors (as in the past) makes it easy to justify the upgrade to the 2004 release.

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