4 Choosing and installing an editor

You can edit XML documents in many ways. Since they are essentially text documents with a special file extension, you can edit XML in any plain text editor, e.g. any plain text editor (like Notepad) that comes by default on your machine. This is an easy but quite painful way to edit XML, because the editor gives you no help in completing tags, is not context-aware and cannot check to see that your XML is valid or well-formed.

Dedicated XML editors vary quite a lot in approach but try to make the process easier by providing XML-aware functionality. Bare in mind that XML is platform independent, therefore you can always change your mind and switch to another editor at anytime: your XML document wont lose any of its characteristics.

Each XML editor has its own advantages and disadvantages, but in editing XML-like documents, the chief functions you will need initially are the following:

XML editors can look deceptively like Microsoft Word or other mainstream text processing programs. It can be useful for them to have some similar functionality (e.g. dictionaries), but it is important to understand that they are quite different, and that a good XML editor will concentrate on the features that XML makes possible.

Discuss a number of editors: .... Mention, but discourage from, option of using plain text editor. 10 p

Date: 2013-03-21