In November 2005, XML tool and technology vendor Altova announced support for Visual Studio 2005 in its XMLSpy 2006 product offerings. XMLSpy is a well-liked and widely-used XML development environment that includes advanced features to model, edit, debug and transform XML-related markup, and can also automatically generate runtime code from schemas for various XML applications.
XMLSpy also offers support for updated XSLT 2.0, XPath 2.0 and XQuery, all of which comply with current W3C Working Drafts for those technologies released in September 2005. In addition, XMLSpy's XSLT 2.0 and XQuery engines are schema aware.
Because support for Visual Studio 2005 in XMLSpy 2006 is both deep and thorough, Microsoft developers gain access to native editing views and development tools from XMLSpy 2006 in the same visual environment they use to build applications around the .NET Framework.
This means that many of XMLSpy's advanced XML editing and authoring capabilities become instantly available in the Visual Studio .NET environment once licensed XMLSpy 2006 users download and install the free XMLSpy 2006 integration module for Visual Studio .NET, including:
Issues involved in making this integration work, include climbing a learning curve that's equivalent to learning Visual Studio itself (XMLSpy is a pretty formidable "kitchen-sink" environment much like Visual Studio) and in cost. Altova offers training classes to help companies and developers deal with the former, but pricing for Professional and Enterprise editions start at $499 and $999 per seat respectively (volume discounts are available to bulk purchasers, but costs remain pretty high even by comparison with Visual Studio).
However, organizations or enterprises willing to jump these hurdles will find their investments amply repaid. XMLSpy's popularity and widespread usage are well-earned and the combination of XMLSpy 2006 and Visual Studio 2005 brings a lot more XML clout to the party than Visual Studio developers otherwise have at their disposal.
About the author
Ed Tittel is a full-time writer and trainer whose interests include XML and development topics, along with IT Certification and information security topics. E-mail Ed with comments, questions, or suggested topics or tools for review.