I'm both pleased and relieved to announce that Version 4.0 of CoherentWeb,
is now available from Qutoric, at:
CoherentWeb is an XSLT-based batch-processing desktop-tool for
Windows. This release marks a fundamental addition to CoherentWeb's,
capabilties, it's now also an XML/XSLT Editor.
CoherentWeb's XML Editor signals a rethink of many established
principles in XML Editor design. One highlight is how closely the editor
is integrated with the batch-processing and validation system, with
instant input/output switching. However, I've picked out another
innovation to describe here in a bit more detail:
Virtual Formatting for the XML Editor
This XML text rendering concept is where the left-margin for each
line of XML adjusts to the XML context. The resulting indentation helps
improve the readability of XML, but critically, without any padding
Within the Editor ( See also: screencast  )
An XML text editor using Virtual Formatting keeps XML formatting
correct at all times: as you type, use clipboard features, or initiate XML
operations like adding container elements. Auto-completion helps reduce
unwanted re-formatting whilst editing. If XML is not well-balanced, the
formatting will reflect where the issue lies.
Different indentation schemes can be used (or none at all) to suit the
requirement. The position of new line characters determines all indentation,
attribute names, values and namespace declarations are all aligned.
Indentation of lines is also preserved when they are word-wrapped.
Leading whitespace characters are still used for indentation
outside the XML context, e.g. to lend text formatting to attribute
values, preformatted text nodes and XML comments.
Working with other tools
A complex issue with Virtual Formatting is trimming pre-existing
padding characters in an XML source so as not to interfere with
indentation; the difficulty encountered in doing this safely
(when there's no schema), helps underline why alternatives to
padding characters at least require consideration.
The approach taken with CoherentWeb, is to err on the side of caution
when automatically trimming XML, and then provide the user with more
agressive trimming options.
The editor does not insert padding characters when XML is saved,
relying on XML-aware tools possessing the capability to add these
when required; using options aligned with a specific users needs.
It would be tempting to list the problems that redundant whitespace
brings to the XML development lifecycle, and why Virtual Formatting
helps alleviate these. The truth, however, is that any benefits will
be down to individual use cases, and these need to be considered
alongside potential issues associated with the change. The only way
therefore to realistically assess whether this will benefit you is to
try it out (so, I hope you will).
I hope that those not yet ready for a Virtual Formatting editor can still
benefit from Coherentweb in its primary role: a mult-threaded XSLT
batch-processing system, with flexible ZIP-processing for EPUB, OOXML,
ODF etc. through a fully integrated EXPath ZIP implementation.
(Director) Qutoric Limited
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