Vex User Guide
What is Vex?
Vex is a Visual Editor for XML that hides the raw XML tags from the user, providing instead a word processor like interface. Vex uses standard DTD files to define document types and CSS stylesheets to define document layout. Vex contains definitions for DocBook and DITA. To edit other XML formats only a DTD and a CSS are needed.
Who Uses Vex?
Create a new Document
- Other XML Formats
Vex provides several commands to edit a XML document.
Copy and Paste
To insert a new element at the current cursor position or - in the case if something is selected - to surround the selected text or fragment with a new element:
- Choose Document | Add | Element... (or hit Ctrl+Space)
- In the content assist which pops up choose the element to add by one of the following possibilities:
- Use Up and Down keys to select element and hit Return
- Click on the element to add
- To filter the list of elements type the name or a part of the name and hit Return to add the topmost element
Tip: To place the cursor at the proper position (e.g. a new chapter between two existing chapters in DocBook) see the path which is shown in the status bar.
This command duplicates the currently selected elements and inserts them at the beginning of the current selection. If there is nothing selected, 'Duplicate Selection' duplicates the element that surrounds the current cursor position.
The document's root element can, of course, not be duplicated.
This command allows you to change the surrounding element of the current selection. A popup dialog shows a list of all elements that could replace the element. An element A can be replaced by another element B, if B can contain all the content of A and B is allowed at A's position in the document structure. If you select one of the list items, the popup dialog is closed and the element, which surrounds the current selection is replaced by the selected element.
This command removes the element that surrounds the current selection:
<emph>The element's content<emph/>
will result in
The element's content
The main purpose of this command is to remove inline elements from text. If you use 'Remove Tag' to remove structural elements (e.g. <para> or <section>), the content of the element might also be removed. The current implementation does not handle this case properly. This might change in the future.
The option Scope is inoperable.
Vex Plug-in Project: Configure your own XML format
A Vex Plug-in Project contains information about a custom document type accompanied with (at least one) style definition. This is one way to make a custom document type usable in Vex.
The Vex Plug-in consist of a file named vex-plugin.xml, which contains the configuration, plus all files needed for the document type definition (DTD) and style (CSS).
The following steps describe how the creation of such a Vex Plug-in Project works currently:
- Choose File | New | Project...
- Choose XML Authoring | Vex Plug-in Project
- Add the DTD and CSS file into the project
- Open the properties dialog for the main *.dtd file
- Choose Vex Document Type
- Enter all information about the document type and select the allowed root elements
- Open the properties dialog for each *.css file
- Choose Vex Style
- Give the style a name and select all document types for which this style should be available
The style can be selected in the Document menu or in the context menu of the Vex editor.
The file vex-plugin.xml can also be edited directly.
Vex Plug-in: Deploy your XML Format Configuration
- inline (default)
- Not supported values: none, marker, run-in, compact, inline-table, table-caption
- Not supported values: double, groove, ridge, inset, outset
Numeric value (e.g. 3px or:
- Not (yet) supported:
visibility, position, top, left, bottom, right, width, min-width, max-width, height, min-height, max-height, overflow, direction, float, clear, clip, z-index
Example: font-family: Arial, sans-serif, message-box;
- Something like 1.2em, 14px or 12pt or:
Bold or not bold:
- bolder (same as bold)
- lighter (not supported)
- Integer value from 100 to 900: greater or equal to 551 is bold otherwise normal
Combines styles above: values separted by blanks in following given order (empty values can be skipped): font-style, font-weight, font-size, and font-family. Example: font: italic bold 1.5em Verdana;
Not supported: blink, but:
- underline (may not be correct)
Something like #FFCC99, red or rgb(255,96,0).
- Not (yet) supported:
font-variant, font-stretch, word-spacing, letter-spacing, text-transform