XED: An XML document instance editor
Henry S. Thompson
HCRC Language Technology Group
University of Edinburgh

1 January 2000

1. XED Functionality

XED is a text editor for XML document instances. It is designed to support hand-authoring of small-to-medium size XML documents, and is optimised for keyboard input. It works very hard to ensure that you cannot produce a non-well-formed document. Although it does not validate, the results of offline validation can be accessed, and it does read DTDs and keep track of your document structure, and provides context-based accelerators to make element and attribute entry fast and easy.

XED keeps track of all the changes you make in your document, so that you can undo changes, as many as you need to, if you make a mistake. This makes it easy to learn: if you're not sure whether a particular command will do what you want, just try it! If the results are not what you wanted, you can Undo them.

2. XED features

A non-exhaustive inventory of features provided by XED:

  1. Single-window WYSIWYG presentation
  2. Detailed error messages with line and character position information in case of well-formedness errors on input
  3. Add, remove and rename balanced start/end tag pairs and empty elements
  4. Add, remove and rename attribute name/value pairs
  5. Add or remove comments, CDATA sections and processing instructions
  6. Context-sensitive tag and attribute menus
  7. 'Smart' diagnosis of mixed versus element-only content
  8. Filling of text content, indenting of element-only content
  9. Structure-sensitive point-and-sweep selection paradigm
  10. Structure-preserving cut and paste
  11. Multiple undo
  12. Single-key movement into, out of and around elements
  13. Key bindings based on xxxPad under WIN32; based on Emacs under Unix
  14. Full UNICODE support
3. A screen-shot of XED at work on the XML source for this web page

4. What XED does not do (yet)

XED is based on the LTG's LT XML toolkit, and uses Python and Tk to provide an efficient and portable user interface. Some of XED's limitations derive from limitations of this substrate:

5. Help

.HLP files are now distributed as part of the WIN32 release, and .html versions are in the UN*X release. If you're using the latter, the help is here. Otherwise, there's a (stale) version on the web.

6. XED availability

Beta versions of XED are available for trial evaluation and individual use. I will not be posting new release announcements as I fix bugs, but I will respond to all bug reports. This beta release, is available only as a self-extracting installation for WIN32 users.

A Macintosh version may be available in the medium term.

7. Feedback

Please send all bug reports, suggestions for changes and enhancements, etc. to ht@cogsci.ed.ac.uk.

8. A word from our sponsors

XED was produced in the Language Technology Group, part of the Human Communication Research Centre at the University of Edinburgh. Baseline funding for HCRC's work originally came from the UK Economic and Social Research Council: work on XED is now supported by LTG reserves.