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Joel on Software

.NET XML editor

So I recently did a project where I actually *had* to use the MSXML3 COM library, and all was nifty and fun.  In editing files, I had access to both the VS.NET XML editor and an eval copy of XML Spy... and while I found the familiarity of the VS.NET editor, I wound up doing most of my raw XML editing in XML Spy.

Why?  XML Spy provided IntelliSense-like typeahead, and VS.NET didn't.  Why?  Because VS.NET apparently doesn't do DTD validation, and the recursive data structure I was using apparently can't be represented in an XML Schema.

Anybody know why VS.NET doesn't speak DTD?  Seems like implementing it would've been a no-brainer after all the other work that clearly went into the software.

Sam Gray
Friday, October 25, 2002

Microsoft is very firmly in the "XML as data" camp, represented as XML Schema. DTD's don't play at all in that world (no support for namespaces is just one of DTD's sins). I'm willing to bet that if you went to Redmond and asked a random sampling of Microsofties, 87.2% [1] of them would say "DTDs? Nobody uses those anymore."

As far as what to do - well, learn schema I guess. :-) Although XML Spy is a really kick ass program anyway.


[1] Percentange determined by making it up. But I think you get my point.

Chris Tavares
Friday, October 25, 2002

I'd love to learn XML Schema, but as far as I could tell, it wasn't able to cope with an element being allowed to have child elements of the same name.  (That'd be the recursive thing I mentioned earlier.)  Maybe there is a way to do it, but I didn't have a lot of time to look.

XML Spy is pretty cool except for that useless "enhanced" grid view, but I don't want to have to drop $100 of my own money on the disparagingly-titled "Home" version if I don't have to.  (=

Sam Gray
Friday, October 25, 2002

Recursive XML schema:

VS.NET's schema editor seems perfectly pleased with either of the alternative versions on that page.

Mike Gunderloy
Friday, October 25, 2002

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