DocBook and XML editor recommendations
August 21, 2009 12:02 PM   Subscribe

DocBook/XML editor recommendations

I am looking for an XML editor to use for creating technical documentation with DocBook. I'd like to know if anyone has any recommendations. So far, I've looked at XML Mind, XML Copy Editor, Serna, and XMLPad. Next on my list to try is OxYgen. I've also looked at a few file type plugins for Vim.

My ideal XML editor would meet the following requirements:

1. Cross-platform - I switch between Mac/Windows/Linux depending on context

2. Able to handle the conversions from DocBook to HTML/PDF/RTF, etc in the editor itself, without having to use an external program

3. The ability for me to directly edit the content and XML tags with tag completion. A WYSIWYG function would be a nice benefit, but is not an absolute requirement.

Cost is somewhat of a factor, but will not limit my choices. I'm willing to pay for a good editor. Free is always a plus, but sometimes you do get what you pay for.

Any recommendations are welcome, though. I realize that my ideal editor may not actually exist. I also realize that some of the above editors may do exactly what I want, and that I haven't spent enough time with the application yet to figure it out.

As a side question, if there are any DocBook books or tutorials that you might have found useful, please feel free to share. I've found a few online tutorials, but I'm always looking for more so I can expand my knowledge.
posted by ralan to Technology (2 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I use Serna for both DITA and Docbook. But you have to use an external program for processing--I use RenderXEP for PDF and xsltproc for HTML. I think Serna has some deal with another processor, so you may be able to get a bundle from them. Serna is available for Mac, Windows, and Linux, but they are separate installs of course.

Serna is WYSIWYG, but can be a little clunky. I like it because I've been using it for years. You can cusotmize the interface pretty easily, which is a plus.

If you want to go budget, you could use XML Mind. And lots of folks like Arbortext and XMetal. XMetal is a very complete solution--too much for a one-man show like I am.

For Docbook, I recommend the essential Docbook XSL Stylesheets by Bob Stayton. Available on his site and printed.
posted by Kafkaesque at 12:33 PM on August 21, 2009

I was able to find what I wanted, by looking at this from the other side. Instead of looking for an "XML Editor", I started looking for an "Editor that can do XML". What I found was jEdit. It has most of what I want - it's cross-platform (I have it running on Mac OS X and Windows XP), and it lets me edit the XML directly and has tag hints and auto completion. It doesn't (or at least I haven't been able to find it yet) have a way to run the conversion programs from DocBook to other formats within the editor itself, but I have an SSH console window accessible via one of the many jEdit plugins that allows me to run those commands on my Linux server. There are also plugins for FTP/SFTP and SVN, so pretty much every thing I need is available.

Kafkaesque - I've ordered the Stayon book, and also a used copy of DocBook: The Definitive Guide. Thanks for the suggestion, I can see that the Stayton book will be very useful.
posted by ralan at 6:38 AM on August 22, 2009

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