Advice on XML editor development

Matt Mower m.mower at
Mon Apr 27 12:20:44 BST 1998


I am looking for some advice on possible approaches, useful tools, and
helpful resources on developing an XML based editor.

Some general requirements for the editor are:

0.	It be simple enough to just "sit down and use"
1.	It require no knowledge of XML to use
2.	It be based entirely pre-prepared DTD's
3.	It only allow creation of documents conforming to a DTD
4.	It provides help to users converting existing documents*
5.	It be written in Java

(* this might be as simple as allowing them to copy&paste from another

What I generally envisage is a kind of toolbar/wizard oriented editor
where the user selects the type of document they want to edit by
choosing a DTD. Then at each stage of editing they are presented with
only the elements appropriate as children of the currently selected
element. A wizard should be able to help them build complex elements &
attributes. Basically at every stage of the editing process the document
should be valid.

To get an idea for the concept I have in here is a "sample editing
session". Outline notes appear inside [].

"I want to write a module outline so I select module.dtd. Fill out the
code, title and lecturer attributes. [Now we have a tree with just a
root object: module].

Right now I need some learning objectives so I click on learning objects
in the task bar [this appears dynamically in the task bar because it can
be added to a module]. Click and type in the text. [Learning objectives
have no sub-elements so the task bar is empty, it knows it contains
CDATA so it auto-magicaly allows the user to type text].

Now I want to add a lecture so I click on the module, then select
lecture from the task bar. Add the week number and lecturer attributes.
Now I add a learning objective to the lecture [Learning objective
appears under the task bar for a lecture element], type in the text.

Now I ...."

I would be grateful for any and all help that anyone in the XML-Dev
community can provide. In particular I would be interested in :-

1. helpful resources and/or technologies
2. estimates of how hard this might be to develop
3. existing projects or code
4. people willing to collaborate on such a development

Obviously if anyone has a strong opinion that this particular kind of
tool is going to be commercially available soon (e.g. Front page,
NetObjects Fusion, ...) I would be interested in those as well.

Best regards.


Matt Mower, Information Systems Team, University of North London
T: +44-(0)171-753-3288 F: +44-(0)171-753-5120 E: m.mower at

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