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XML Spy vs. Stylus Studio

 
 
Grant Robertson
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      01-13-2007
I am considering purchasing either XML Spy or Stylus Studio soon. I can
get Stylus Studio Enterprise edition for $350 at academic pricing. The
enterprise edition of XML Spy is about $750 which is too much for me. I
can, however, afford the pro edition at about $400. So, as unfair as it
may seem, my comparison is between XML Spy Pro and Stylus Studio
Enterprise Edition.

My primary purpose is to design a new schema and properly document it. I
have seen examples of documentation generated by XML Spy and I like the
way it produces a summary at the top and that almost everything is a link
to drill down to more information. Unfortunately, Stylus Studio chooses
to only show a screen shot of the documentation generator and provides no
samples of the output. An e-mail to Stylus Studio has produced no reply.

My new schema will rely heavily on previously existing schemas such as
Dublin Core, Adobe's XMP, and many other standard schemas. I need my
schema design software to be able to import existing schemas and include
or reference them within my own. (I don't know exactly how this works but
I have read that it can be done. Whatever is the official way to do this,
that is the way I want my software to do it.)

I know that a lot of people will want to say that I should just install
the trial versions of both and compare them. Unfortunately I do not have
the time to spend days working with them both just to find out these
couple of things. I would really appreciate it if those who know these
products could tell me how well they perform at these tasks.

Thank You.
 
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Andy Dingley
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      01-15-2007

Grant Robertson wrote:

> I am considering purchasing either XML Spy or Stylus Studio soon.


What is this "purchase" of which you speak?

Look at Eclipse, jEdit and especially Protege

 
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Grant Robertson
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      01-15-2007
In article <(E-Mail Removed). com>,
http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/(E-Mail Removed) says...
> Look at Eclipse, jEdit and especially Protege


Isn't Eclipse a java based IDE for developing in Java, C++ etc? How can
that help me wrote an XML schema? jEdit is a fancy text editor. It cannot
edit the schema in tree form nor can it produce the kind of documentation
that XML Spy and Stylus Studio can. Protege looks nice but the one I
found at http://protege.stanford.edu/ is an ontology editor. That may
come in handy but I will primarily be relying on existing ontologies. Of
course those ontologies may not have be "XMLified" so this Protege may
help with that.

I have also looked at <oXygen/> but there are a couple of things it can't
do that I will really need. While it can import pre-existing schemas like
Dublin Core, it cannot do code completion for those imported schemas.

I fully understand that I COULD create this entire schema using a plain
text editor if I wanted to. However, this will be a really large and
involved schema. It would take me forever to do this with inadequate
tools. I would rather spend $400 of my student loans on a good, full-
featured editor and be able to get this done quickly and accurately.
Plus, really good documentation goes a long way towards getting a
standard accepted.

I am not opposed to free or open source software. If anyone knows of any
software or combination of software that will make the task of designing
a really large schema which incorporates many other existing schemas and
then can document that schema clearly, I would love to hear about them.

In the mean time: Does no one have any opinions about XML Spy or Stylus
Studio? I am starting to lean toward XML Spy because they have a rich set
of additional programs that could be used to build an incredible set of
tools. They aren't cheap but they do seem to be quite thorough.
 
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Tony Lavinio
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      01-15-2007
(disclaimer: I work on the Stylus Studio team)

As to the earlier question, we dropped support for the alternate
documentor because it was limited in the types of schemas that it
could support and the original authors took the project in other
directions. Before the project was forked, it had severe performance
limitations in handling of larger schemas.

As far as the existing documentation tool goes, the source is
actually included with Stylus Studio, and it can be changed if you
need to customize it.

Grant Robertson wrote:
> In the mean time: Does no one have any opinions about XML Spy or Stylus
> Studio? I am starting to lean toward XML Spy because they have a rich set
> of additional programs that could be used to build an incredible set of
> tools. They aren't cheap but they do seem to be quite thorough.


Most of those additional tools are already built in to Stylus Studio:
the visual mappers[1][2], the conversion tools[3], the XML diff tool[4],
the XML reporting/presentation tool[5] - they all are included in Stylus
Studio XML Enterprise.

One cool feature for learning XSLT and XQuery is that the visual mappers
show the source as you draw the connecting lines and insert the
functions, and if you change the source in the source pane, the graph
will update itself - all in real-time.

[1] http://www.stylusstudio.com/xslt_mapper.html
[2] http://www.stylusstudio.com/xquery_mapper.html
[3] http://www.stylusstudio.com/convert_to_xml.html
[4] http://www.stylusstudio.com/xml_differencing.html
[5] http://www.stylusstudio.com/xml/publishing.html

We also offer free support via http://www.stylusstudio.com/SSDN for all
users of our software, including eval versions.

--
Tony Lavinio <> DataDirect <> Stylus Studio XML <> (E-Mail Removed)
XQuery, XSLT, XML Schema and EDI Toolset <> http://www.stylusstudio.com/
<> There is no problem that brute force and ignorance cannot overcome <>
 
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Andy Dingley
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      01-15-2007

Grant Robertson wrote:

> > Look at Eclipse, jEdit and especially Protege

>
> Isn't Eclipse a java based IDE for developing in Java, C++ etc?


And the rest! I was thinking of <oXygen/> in particular, but there
are probably other plugins I don't know about. I'm sure Eclipse has a
kitchen-sink plugin in there somewhere.

You should be using Eclipse. I guess you're a student and that means
that the more hands-on Eclipse time you can log, the better employable
you are. It's not going to be time wasted, if you're not using it
already.

Personally I use Protege for schema work. OK, so really it's working
with an Owl ontology, but then that's pretty much all of what I'm
doing. The overlap is large anyway - treating XML schema as a subset of
OWL isn't a bad way to work anyway -- the minor tweaks later are
probably best done in raw-text editing anyway.


> jEdit is a fancy text editor.


So is everything. Spend a few weeks bored to tears going
click-point-drool in XML Spy's schema twiddler and you'll start wishing
for text mode too.

Editing XML in text mode needs bracket and tag matching, auto-closure
of tags and colour syntax highlighting. Anything less slows you down
over the trivia. Anything more just gets in the way as you try to
wrestle it to the big picture.



> In the mean time: Does no one have any opinions about XML Spy or Stylus
> Studio?


Haven't used Stylus Studio seriously. I'm not a great fan though - I'd
rather work with one IDE and plugins, rather than switching tools for
every task.

I did use XML Spy for some time, very seriously, with a large number of
people. On the basis of that experience, I would never spend my money
or anyone else's money on an Altova product again (It was buggy crap,
service was apalling, notions of telling us whether our bugs were fixed
or not involved us spending money on a whole set of full-price licences
and just hoping that teh bugs were fixed.)

 
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George Bina
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      01-16-2007
Hello Grant,

Grant Robertson wrote:
[...]
> I have also looked at <oXygen/> but there are a couple of things it can't
> do that I will really need. While it can import pre-existing schemas like
> Dublin Core, it cannot do code completion for those imported schemas.

[...]

Please note that while oXygen provides dynamic content completion
offering the components defined in the current schema file but with the
limitation that it does not look also inside included/imported schemas
other products do not provide any assistance.

Regards,
George
---------------------------------------------------------------------
George Cristian Bina
<oXygen/> XML Editor, Schema Editor and XSLT Editor/Debugger
http://www.oxygenxml.com

 
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Grant Robertson
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      01-16-2007
In article <(E-Mail Removed). com>,
(E-Mail Removed) says...
> Please note that while oXygen provides dynamic content completion
> offering the components defined in the current schema file but with the
> limitation that it does not look also inside included/imported schemas
> other products do not provide any assistance.


I'm sorry, but I can't quite tell what you just said. "Other products do
not provide any assistance" in what? Both XML Spy and Stylus Studio offer
code completion. Both products import external schemas. Are you saying
that neither of these competing products offer code completion for
imported schemas either? I will have to check into that.

However, there are still issues that prevent me from choosing <oXygen/>.
A graphical tree in which the user can directly edit the schema is
important to me. I think very visually and this is quite helpful to me. A
text based outline which is nothing more than code folding is not as
helpful to me. Finally, the beautiful documentation produced by XML Spy
is very important to me as well. Great documentation goes a long way
towards getting a standard accepted.

If by combining <oXygen/> with eclipse and or other tools I can still
accomplish my goals then I am willing to try but not if it is going to
take me weeks to figure out how to get them to work together.

Thanks for your assistance.
 
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Andy Dingley
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      01-16-2007

Grant Robertson wrote:

> XML Spy [...] offer[s] code completion.


Make sure you use XML Spy before you accept their claim for this. My
second biggest gripe with XML Spy was the downright nasty way in which
this worked (or rather it didn't). It's fine if you type in a
linearised document from the start, but it's a downright hindrance if
you're editing the middle of something that's already entered.


> Great documentation goes a long way towards getting a standard accepted.


Fortunately not with the W3C, they're smarter than that.

AFAIR, you're inventing yet another take on MPEG-7 / LOM et al. ?
(which is incidentally, yet another reason to look at Protege)

 
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George Bina
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      01-16-2007
oXygen provides content completion when you edit included or imported
schemas. The limitation I was talking about was that when you define an
element for instance and you want to insert its type the oXygen content
completion offers the types defined in the current schema document.
Other tools do not make any suggestion at this point.
oXygen also provides schema documentation in HTML including diagrams of
the schema components.
oXygen provides also a graphical representation of the schema and a
logical model view that presents the schema logical model, after all
the type derivations for instance are resolved.
oXygen is available not only as an Eclipse plugin but also as a
standalone application under the same license.

Best Regards,
George
---------------------------------------------------------------------
George Cristian Bina
<oXygen/> XML Editor, Schema Editor and XSLT Editor/Debugger
http://www.oxygenxml.com


Grant Robertson wrote:
> In article <(E-Mail Removed). com>,
> (E-Mail Removed) says...
> > Please note that while oXygen provides dynamic content completion
> > offering the components defined in the current schema file but with the
> > limitation that it does not look also inside included/imported schemas
> > other products do not provide any assistance.

>
> I'm sorry, but I can't quite tell what you just said. "Other products do
> not provide any assistance" in what? Both XML Spy and Stylus Studio offer
> code completion. Both products import external schemas. Are you saying
> that neither of these competing products offer code completion for
> imported schemas either? I will have to check into that.
>
> However, there are still issues that prevent me from choosing <oXygen/>.
> A graphical tree in which the user can directly edit the schema is
> important to me. I think very visually and this is quite helpful to me. A
> text based outline which is nothing more than code folding is not as
> helpful to me. Finally, the beautiful documentation produced by XML Spy
> is very important to me as well. Great documentation goes a long way
> towards getting a standard accepted.
>
> If by combining <oXygen/> with eclipse and or other tools I can still
> accomplish my goals then I am willing to try but not if it is going to
> take me weeks to figure out how to get them to work together.
>
> Thanks for your assistance.


 
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