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Software Review: XMLSpy 2010 from Altova

XMLSpy 2010 is the newest version of Altova's integrated development environment (IDE) for XML. XMLSpy allows programmers to create XML-based applications and Web services in a more dynamic and visual environment. The version that I am reviewing is XMLSpy 2010 and it is based on the Enterprise version. There are also Professional and Standard versions available. If you would like to view the differences, you can check out the feature comparison list.

XMLSpy 2010 is an XML development environment for designing, editing, and debugging enterprise class applications that involve XML, XML Schema, XSL/XSLT, XQuery, SOAP, WSDL, and Web service technologies. Along with being an XML editor, it offers a code generator, file converters, a debugger, a profiler, and integration into Visual Studio .NET, and the Java Eclipse IDE.

Some of the other main features of XMLSpy are its ability to edit XML documents in multiple formats. You can look at your XML document as a text doc, a grid format, and as a WYSIWYG view. It will check to see if your XML is valid saving you the trouble of waiting till it fails and then trying to figure out what is wrong with it.

XMLSpy 2010Along with strong validation, there is also auto completion, context sensitive help, entry helpers, syntax coloring, and other tools to ensure well-formed, valid XML documents. There are structural editing features like line numbering, indentation, bookmarks, as well as expandable and collapsible element to aid in navigation.

You have debuggers, project management, database import, and the ability to compare XML files. XMLSpy also has the ability for automatic code generation for Java, C++, or C# class files based on elements defined in a schema. It also supports the most popular relational databases in their native interface languages.

So with all this, what's new with XMLSpy 2010?

• WSDL 2.0 editing and conversion now gives developers the choice by supporting both WSDL 1.1 as well as WSDL 2.0 specifications. The graphical editor lets you edit your files using a graphic user interface with drag-and-drop ability and context sensitive entry helpers to offer relevant choices based on the WSDL version selected. If you want to convert from 1.1 to 2, XMLSpy supports one-click conversion.

• XBRL documentation generation has been added further supporting XBRL taxonomy development. XMLSpy gives you multiple options for what information to include in the documentation as well as the ability to generate in HTML, Microsoft Word, or RTF.

XMLSpy 2010• XBRL Taxonomy Wizard is a new complement to the graphical XBRL Taxonomy Editor giving users a jump up when extending an industry standard XBRL taxonomy, or even when starting from scratch. Simply select the base taxonomy (say US-GAAP) that you wish to extend, and XMLSpy creates new files in the XBRL view where you can continue editing and refining in a graphical manner.

• Find in XBRL using the Ctrl-F key allows you to search an entire XBRL taxonomy or document with advanced options for narrowing your results. The results are listed in the output window where multiple tabs let you store numerous queries. Clicking on an item will let you navigate to that specific location in the document. You can also use XBRL Sorting to order your results.

• JSON editor lets you work with JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) which is a lightweight text-based language used for data interchange. In XMLSpy 2010, users can edit JSON files using the same text and grid views available for XML editing. You can even convert between JSON and XML.

• JSON <=> XML conversion is supported using one-click conversion allowing you to convert quickly an XML file to JSON for transport with JavaScript, or convert JSON format to valid XML.

• New scripting environment and forms editor has been redesigned and optimized with improvements that include access to most of the .NET framework, new form editor controls, testing and debugging of macro in the script editor, execution of macros directly through the XMLSpy menu, and improved entry-helpers.

• Printing graphical XBRL View allows you to print the graphical representation of your XBRL taxonomy as it is displayed in the XBRL graphical view.

XMLSpy 2010XMLSpy 2010 is available from Altova. It is $1190.00 USD for the Enterprise version, $599 for the Professional version, and $159 for the Standard version. It also comes as part of one of the Altova Missionkits as well. Still unsure? You can download a 30-day trial version as well.

XMLSpy is an essential product if you work with XML on any kind of regular basis. It has a lot of power behind it if you need it, and even when working with basic file functionality and manipulation, the amount of time you will save makes it worth the price. When you consider that the whole Enterprise version comes in at the price of two of the individual Pro products, makes it even more of a no-brainer.

If you work with XML with any regularity then you need to do yourself a favor and check out XMLSpy 2010. Right out of the box it will begin to save you time and money in making sure that your data is correct and allowing you to see your data in a whole new way. I highly recommend XMLSpy 2010.

About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.

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