A free alternative to XMLSpy

I really like Altova’s XMLSpy utility for browsing XML, creating XSDs and testing XPath queries. However Altova’s licensing model has made it difficult for me to use the tool.

The Altova licensing model is based on purchase plus annual support. If the annual support isn’t renewed, then you lose access to the utility, and there are frequent updates that require re installation of the tool.

Where I work now, there is a purchase authorization process for software tools and it’s a little bit onerous.

I had submitted the paperwork to purchase XMLSpy, and two years of renewals had been approved. This year, when the annual support expired, I decided not to bother, although XMLSpy is a useful tool.

Instead, I’m going to try to use Eclipse and a free XPath query plugin that is available.

Eclipse is not as sophisticated as XMLSpy, but it can do the basic functions, and it’s free.

 

There are a lot of XMLSpy features that can’t be found in Eclipse. My top three are:

  1. Validate an XML against an XSD
  2. Graphical XSD design
  3. XSLT construction/testing

However, for most of what I do, Eclipse will work just fine.

Here is how you can go about obtaining and installing Eclipse:

  1. You will need the Java runtime installed. And not just any Java runtime. You’ll need the Java runtime v8.
    https://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/javase/downloads/jdk8-downloads-2133151.html
  2. You will need to download and install eclipse:
    https://www.eclipse.org/downloads/download.php?file=/oomph/epp/2019-03/R/eclipse-inst-win64.exe
  3. You will need to download and install the XPath plugin:
    1. Help
    2. Eclipse Marketplace
    3. Find “xpath”
    4. install
  4. You will need to configure the XPath plugin:
    1. Open xml doc
    2. Go to window
    3. Go to show view
    4. Go to other
    5. Go to XML
    6. Select xpath

Happy xml editing!

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