Comercial XML editor recommendations

Michael Leventhal michael at
Thu May 29 05:53:10 BST 1997

Peter Murray-Rust wrote:
> > I'm surveying the market for XML editors for my project.
> I think that there are two extremes to the spectrum  (A) the 'traditional' 
> which is the one that I think you allude to - writing and editing text,
> sformatting, spellchecking, etc. and (B) the new opportunities, so 
> bringing in a graphics, adding an image map, adding some maths, creating a
> link database, importing and converting legacy files on the fly.  (B) is
> where I am aiming JUMBO at - at present it will edit the structure tree,
> import new legacy data and convert on the fly but it doesn't edit text.
> It will also be aimed at using NXP to validate vs the DTD.
> Can't help in detail, but there were several promising prototypes at SGML97,
> Stilo, Balise, Frame,  etc. Maybe these vendors would like to say something?

I'd like to, but I am very concerned about misusing this list for commercial 
purposes, despite the invitation.  I think I can mention that Grif did demo
_two_ XML editors at SGML '97 Europe and WWW6.

I also think I can pursue Peter's point about there being two types
of editors, A and B above, from a technological/philosphical/cultural 
perspective.  Grif also has an A and B which are not exactly what Peter 
describes but sort of close.  The origin was not intended to delineate a 
philosophical distinction although the currents of history may have in fact 
made it so.

Grif's XML editor A is a knock-off from its traditional SGML with
"WYSIWYG to the max" product.  It requires a DTD, enforces structure,
and controls the presentation through a high-end style sheet mechanism.  
XML editor B is a knock-off of Grif's HTML editor, Symposia, and does 
not enforce structure, allows you to add tags at will, is CSS-based
and does the usual HTML-related stuff like allow you to create
(XML) links and image maps, add math, etc.

I initially found the idea of having two XML editors to be possibly 
schizophrenic so I am intrigued by Peter being already in possession of
a two editor world-view, essentially the SGML and the HTML
approaches, DTD-required vs well-formed.  I guess I always assumed
that you'd combine the two, change modes at the flick of a switch,
but somehow encourage more rather than less structure by always
having the capability of showing the user his or her structural
failings.  Of course, the code bases have, by now, divurged greatly
though companies like Grif certainly leveraged their SGML experience
in entering the HTML fray.  But I thought the perspectives were coalescing.  
Is this two editor approach a transitional stage on the way to a more 
glorious evolutionary stage or have we, in fact, distinguished different
types of tasks to which different types of tools have been precisely tailored
to exact nature of the task?

Michael Leventhal

Michael Leventhal  1800 Lake Shore Ave, Ste 14  V (510) 444-2962
VP Technology      Oakland, CA  94606           F (510) 444-1672
GRIF, SA           michael at

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