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Revision as of 12:47, 29 August 2008 by D a (Talk | contribs) (Goal)


The Visual XML Editor is a proposed project under the Web Tools Project.

According to the Eclipse Development Process, this proposal is intended to declare the intent and scope of the Visual XML Editor project as well as to gather input from the Eclipse community. You are invited to comment on and/or join the project.


XML is being used more and more in document file formats. Such formats as Docbook, and DITA have been used to help provide a common format for document meta data. It helps separate the content from the presentation. As word processor formats move to XML like OpenOfficeXML and OpenDocument, it becomes more critical to have a WYSIWYG interface for these file formats. Most users that have to write books, articles, and other print related material don't want to deal with the tag markups for the files, but they want the convience and separation of presentation that these formats provide.


The Visual XML Editor is a set of plugins that provide WYSIWYG editing ability for XML files. This can be used regardless of the XML involved, and uses CSS stylesheets to provide the formatting for the presentation layer. All that is needed is an stylesheet and an appropriate XML file to edit. It hides the XML tags from the user, allow them to have a word processor like experience but store the information in the native XML format.

Project Description

The Visual XML Editor will be based off of a contribution from the VEX (Visual Editor for XML) project, originally created by John Krasnay. The goal of the project is to provide a WYSIWYG XML Editor primarily targeted for those using XML authoring file formats. It will be leverage existing XML support and frameworks from the Web Developers Tools project. Particularly, the Structure Source Editor, as well as the WTP validation frameworks. It will also make use of the DTD and possibly the XML schema support for the files as well.

It's main focus though is to provide a word processor like feel for working with XML files.


Provide WYSIWYG authoring for XML files. This will provide a editor that is specifically designed for this functionality. There is no current plan to add this as a multipage editor to the existing WTP XML Editor.



Perspectives and Views

Extension Points

Project Organization

We propose this project should be undertaken as an incubator project with the Web Tools project.


Need WTP Mentors.


  • John Krasnay - VEX creator - need background
  • Ed Burnette - VEX committer - need background
  • John Austin - VEX committer - need background
  • David Carver (XSL Tooling Committer) - David is an XML Data Architect at Standards for Technology in Automotive Retail. He is also an eclipse committer on the XSL Tooling project.

Initial Code Contribution

The initial code contribution comes from the sourceforge project, Visual Editor for XML.

Licensing and Intellectual property

All code is being relicensed under the terms of the Eclipse Public License. All committers have agreed to these relicensing terms.

Interested Parties

  • Standards for Technogoy in Automotive Retail is interested in adopting a potential Visual XML Editor. This would provide a more users friendly mode of working with Docbook related files.

User community

Visual Editor for XML already has a large user community that covers mainly the document authoring side of the XML community. It already has the ability to edit Docbook and DITA files in a WYSIWYG editing mode. This also has other potential users from the eclipse community, particularly those that have to create the eclipse standardized project plan format, as the editor has the ability to visually edit any XML. Other XML document formats can be supported like Open Office XML, and Open Document Text. There is wide potential for this community to increase as potential with in the eclipse community.

With in Eclipse, Eclipse Corner articles could benefit from the visual XML editor project as it would provide a nice user friendly way to write and create eclipse corner articles.

Tentative Development plan

Relation to other Eclipse projects and other open source projects

  • XSL Tools (incubator) - the output of the XML can be run through XSL Tools stylesheets for transformations into HTML, PDF, or other dita or docbook formats.
  • DITA Open Toolkit - - Output can be run through the DITA open toolkit to generate HTML, PDF or other dita support formats.
  • DocBook Project - - Maintains a set of stylesheets that can be used to generate the final documentation.

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