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An Architect's View

Is oXygenXML worth it?

September 24, 2007 ·

Serious question! I've been using the free version of XML Buddy for ages with Eclipse and it mostly works really well but it also kind of annoys me with its quirkiness. Some people I respect love oXygenXML and have gone ahead and paid good money for it. So, my questions to y'all are: Are you using oXygenXML? If not, what are you using to edit XML? If yes, what license did you buy and how much did you actually pay? (pro seems to be $225 which seems awfully expensive just for an XML editor!)

Tags: cfeclipse · coldfusion

30 responses

  • 1 Terrence Ryan // Sep 24, 2007 at 9:41 PM

    I think I tried OxygenXML out when I was searching out a solution I needed, but settled for XMLbuddy too.

    Granted I don't have to do anything other than tweak XML files that I create through other processes. So I imagine that one's mileage varies.
  • 2 John Bampton // Sep 24, 2007 at 10:49 PM

    oXygen XML IDE is currently the best XML editor on the market. I have used the Altova XML suite and it doesn't match up. I have also tried XSLfast and Scriptura and both of these are second rate to oXygen. oXygen provides one self contained IDE that includes debuggers for both XSL and XQUERY, intellisense and a huge range of documention both in the help menus. It has all the built in XSLT transformers that you need including Saxon6, saxon8b, Xalan, MSXML. It also has support for native XML databases and relational databases and has support for NVDL. Multiple validation engines can be used to validate your code. What more can i say - throw out your other packages and dive in to oXygen, you'll never look back. Cheers
  • 3 Rob Meidal // Sep 24, 2007 at 10:58 PM

    Not sure what kind of features you are looking for. But the free Aptana plugin has an XML editor built in. The most full featured XML editor I have used is XML spy but I don't think that runs on OS X.
  • 4 George Bridgeman // Sep 25, 2007 at 2:05 AM

    I bought OxygenXML a long time ago (version 4, I think) as I was using XML Spy a lot at work but wanted a Mac equivalent for developing at home. I regretted it soon after, as it was no-where near as powerful as XML Spy and lacked some of the features I'd class as basic; generating example XML documents from an XSD for testing, for example.

    It was reasonably cheap back then (about £60... $120 ish) but I ended up ditching it after a short while. I didn't like the interface and it felt very clunky. It was slow and didn't do everything I needed it to.

    I imagine things have moved on a lot since version 4. I keep getting the emails asking me to upgrade to the latest version but I just can't justify it now. I don't do enough work with XML these days.

    When I was using XML a lot, I just developed a few hacks for doing what I needed. If I need to do anything too swanky (XSL transformations, testing XPaths, and the like) I'll normally just knock up a quick CF template to deal with it. Find/replace operations can be done with perl -e and a regex - all XML editors I've used choke on large (500MB or so, even less in some cases) files.

    I'll have to try XML Buddy at some point!
  • 5 Rob Wilkerson // Sep 25, 2007 at 4:22 AM

    Like Terrence, I don't have to do a LOT of XML work, but I've been perfectly happy using Aptana's XML editor. I've even used it for a few projects with heavy XML/XSLT work and been satisfied.

    $225 is a steep price to pay for a unitasking editor. I got sticker shock just reading it in print.

    That said, I've never tried OXygenXML. Maybe it's the bee's knees, but at that'd better be.
  • 6 John Farrar // Sep 25, 2007 at 4:36 AM

    I used to own XML Spy... but they figured out they could get some people to pay more and more. They "repackaged" their products so I would have to upgrade to get the features that I wanted. So far this is one that I haven't tried. Have a full lisc. of another that as of yet is not a recommendation from me.

    XML Buddy... to feature poor

    ? What features do you use. (That would make a great survey!) Perhaps that would be something cool to add in to our developer tools suite. Than and I still dream of a UML tool for modeling the objects in a ColdFusion fashion.
  • 7 Russell Brown // Sep 25, 2007 at 4:45 AM

    I've been using OxygenXML since version 2.0.something and I think it's great. If you do anything with XSLT I think it's a must have. Their CSS and JS editors aren't bad either that come with it as a package. I have to admit to buying the standard academic license (crap here comes karm)...
  • 8 Kyle Hayes // Sep 25, 2007 at 5:03 AM

    The extent of my XML editing is Mach-II config files, ColdSpring config files, Ant build files, and the occasional navigation xml. None of which do I require any kind of "heavy-duty" application to help me out XMLBuddy being free has just the right features I need for everything that I need to do. Code-complete, code coloring, and outline.
  • 9 Jeff // Sep 25, 2007 at 5:15 AM

    $225 is too much if you just want to edit xml files. But if you want to write technical manuals and such, and don't like using DocBook manually, then I think oXygenXML is well worth the price.
  • 10 Dmitriy Goltseker // Sep 25, 2007 at 5:25 AM

    Take a look at "Altova XMLSpy" from

    Hope this helps.
  • 11 Brian Kotek // Sep 25, 2007 at 6:01 AM

    Sean, I've had good luck with the XML editor that comes with MyEclipse. MyEclipse is pretty cheap and gives you a ridiculous number of plugin options (mostly for Java but many are still useful for CF). You might have a look at that.
  • 12 Sean Corfield // Sep 25, 2007 at 8:31 AM

    I've tried the Aptana editor a few times but I really don't like it much. It doesn't seem as good as XML Buddy in terms of "code hinting" in my experience...

    Essentially has to be an Eclipse plugin for me...
  • 13 Ethan Estes // Sep 25, 2007 at 10:26 AM

    I find textmate with a couple of the free plugins from them to be a great lightweight editor.
  • 14 jacob // Sep 25, 2007 at 12:59 PM

    tried them all, nothings better especially cross-platform which the license covers. The student license is much less
  • 15 Marco Di Folco // Sep 25, 2007 at 1:23 PM


    Which free plugins are you using with TextMate?
  • 16 Adrian // Sep 25, 2007 at 2:32 PM

    I swapped to Stylus Studio from XML Spy because Stylus Studio offered everything that opens and closes (especially with regard to XSLT and XSL-FO) at a lower cost than an upgrade for XML Spy.

    For a low-cost, straightforward XML editor, I was very happy with XML Writer from Wattle Software.
  • 17 Ethan Estes // Sep 25, 2007 at 4:47 PM

    Also don't forget to pull down the optional bundles from SVN to help support the various languages-there is an xml one.
  • 18 Mark Mandel // Sep 25, 2007 at 6:53 PM

    I've been using the Web Tools Platform XML editor for aaaages, and I've not had any problem with it.

    I've not done any XSL work with it, so I don't know if it support transformations, and it also doesn't support XPath testing (which it would be nice if it did) but for general XML editing, it's been great.
  • 19 Michael Wolfe // Sep 26, 2007 at 11:27 AM

    If all you want is a nice XML editor, take a look at Komodo Edit ( It will understand your XML tags, as well as providing Intellisense for previously entered tags and attributes. And it's free...
  • 20 Jared Rypka-Hauer // Sep 26, 2007 at 8:39 PM

    There's a lot of free stuff out there that I like, but when it comes to my tools I don't want make-do or everything-but solutions. I live and die by oXygen because it's pretty much the best there is. I paid for it just the same as I paid for Aqua Data Studio (and Navicat for MySQL because it's simpler for simple jobs).

    I can't recommend oXygen enough.
  • 21 Robin Hilliard // Sep 27, 2007 at 5:09 AM

    Hey Sean,

    The reason the RocketBoots crew chose Oxygen way back when was because at the time it worked with the Flex 1.5 xsd schema and XML Buddy didn't. Otherwise I've never really used any other Oxygen features.
  • 22 Larry C. Lyons // Sep 28, 2007 at 1:39 PM

    I second Brian Kotek's myEclipse suggestion. The XML editor is very good. But the other stuff, such as the database editors, the UML diagramming plugins (unfortunately Windows and Linux only due to an Eclipse bug with OSX) and the java app server plug ins work very well with CF. In combination with CFEclipse and Aptana I've finally ditched Dreamweaver. Well worth the $30 per year subscription.

  • 23 Jerry Sheehan // Oct 15, 2007 at 3:38 PM

    I can only make one recommendation. Altova's XMLSpy is the best xml editor and nobody else even comes close! All the other editors came after XMLSpy!

    You better read between the lines when choosing the right editor.
  • 24 Steve Anderson // Nov 21, 2007 at 11:31 AM

    oxygen is, IMO, a great tool for XML related development. The debugger is excellent, IMO, better than any other offering. The diff tool is fantastic, too. I haven't used an XML aware diff tool that comes close to the quality of the oxygen offering.

    The Eclipse plug-in is very, very good.

    Another great feature is that the license is per-user, not, like XML Spy, per-computer. That means I am licensed when I am working in the office on my PC or at home on my Linux box. That'd be two licenses for XML Spy.

    If all you are doing is writing simple XML files, there are a lot of free tools. If you are doing serious development with XML, oxygen is the way to go.
  • 25 aligator // Feb 21, 2008 at 4:20 AM


    I used EditiX XMl Editor for two months and it is a very good for me. It is cheap price starting at $20. I create my XSD schema and generate an HTML document, with a pretty visual editor :

    Here the features from their web site :

    "EditiX is a powerful and easy to use XML editor, Visual Schema Editor and XSLT debugger for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X designed to help web authors and application programmers take advantage of the latest XML and XML-related technologies such as XSLT / FO, DocBook and XSD Schema. EditiX provides users with an extensive range of XML functionality within a refined IDE that guides you with intelligent entry helpers. EditiX has realtime XPath location and syntax error detection. Helpers are also provided with context syntax popup supporting DTD, Schema and RelaxNG. EditiX supports multiple templates and project management. User can apply XSLT or FO Transformation and show the result with a dedicated view. All the process can be managed by shortcuts. Working locally is managed with OASIS XML Catalogs. EditiX includes default templates with XML, DTD, XHTML, XSLT, XSD, XML RelaxNG, SVG, MathML and XML FO."

  • 26 dane // Mar 9, 2008 at 1:31 AM

    I prefer EditiX, I compare both for my job and this editor is fast and ergonomic, oxygen is a kind of great xml bazar, I just dislike it, but try both and compare yourself.
  • 27 dane // May 6, 2008 at 7:29 AM

    A free version of Editix is available here :
  • 28 theRaven // Jun 30, 2008 at 7:23 PM

    I had purchased oxygenXML at version 5.1 for just under ninety dollars (US). After that I had larger problems trying to find decent documentation on XML that was the other side of campy. I wound up finding the XML Pocket Reference by Microsoft Press which is my XML Bible more than a reference. In summation, I had learned everything I wanted to know about XML with these two devices.

    I still like to use Microsoft's XML Notepad for quicky prototypes and oxygenXML for the grunge development aspects of XML. The price of oxygenXML is pretty easy going, at the upgrade level once you tap in, with its depth of functionality compared to other co-branded products.

    Ultimately the price is only justifiable if you want or need the functionality that oxygenXML provides. It has facilities that enable an author to work with docBook, WSDL, XML, XML Schema and DTD's, as well as XSLT and an XSLT debugger. Some mechanical options for the tool include the ability to use different XML parsers like SAX at the users convenience. The features itemization is by no means exhausted but, I think you get the point here.

    The choice is up to you but, I'm sticking with oxygenXML myself. There are two other tools that I think deserve honorable mentions and both are free ironically. The two tools, or XML editors are: Microsoft's XML Notepad and WMHelp XMLPad. If you are unable to foot the license price, or just don't want to fork out the loot for oxygenXML, then these tools will certainly help you along the way with regards to a well rounded XML experience.
  • 29 Filip Dupanovi // Feb 19, 2009 at 2:53 PM

    I'm on a trial key currently and have to admit I'm not at all hesitant to buy it sometime later. I've previously worked with XML Spy and it was a grave experience. Aptana's XML editor wasn't as feature packed, but it's a nice experience when you look at it as a whole.

    I'd think it's mostly based on what you'd like to do. o2's XSL support has literally got me hooked up on the solution :)!
  • 30 Jeff Kesselman // Oct 13, 2009 at 8:43 AM

    I also highly recommend Oxygen. I'm designing schemae at work for a big data driven project and Oxygen's support for Schema editing is wonderful.

    IME Oxygen is really a tool you grow into. I started just by using it as a nice, smart, syntax aware WYSIWYG XML editor, but as my uses of XML have grown more sophisticated, Oxygen has been right there with me providing easy and intuitive ways to do it.