Being into writing XML documents as well as XML schema definitions once in a while during my work days, so far I’ve enjoyed playing around with the Eclipse XML authoring tools, and by now after moving elsewhere I had to find my home in NetBeans 6.0 also in terms of XML authoring and support.
Which, to draw a conclusion first, is exceptionally pleasant talking about the things usually involved in my case. First off, creating XML Schema descriptions: NetBeans does offer three more or less different editing views on .xsd file types, each one of them possibly made to meet different needs.
Obviously, there is a source code editor…
… letting you manually build your XSD file by hacking the right things to the right place and hoping for the best. On the other end of the scale, there is a fully-fledged visual XSD studio…
… allowing for editing the same description in a way both visually rather appealing and rather handy as well – adding attributes and elements using keybindings here is same as easy as using that pointing device of your choice. My favorite editor, however, is somewhere in between:
The “Schema” view sort of reminds me of good old NeXTStep / GNUStep / Mac OS file manager, which is possibly a good thing, and so far fits best my personal likes in terms of XML schema creation as it seems most concise to me. This way, creating (and actually maintaining…) more complex XSD rules becomes rather easy.
Creating an XML document from an XSD description is same as easy, though I have to mention that, in direct comparison, NetBeans does lack a visual XML editor… a shortcoming, however, which is compensated by offering XSL transformation support out of the box, a feature I just found in Eclipse using an old (unsupported) plugin which works just more or less in newer releases. This as well as the checking / validation features makes the NetBeans XML support overally a very handy and usable tool fulfilling most if not all of my daily XML authoring needs. Now if I only could figure out how to create XSD and XML files in an arbitrary folder using the “Favorites” view… 🙂
More on that, however, to be found in the NetBeans 6.0 knowledge base.