Ken (Chanoch) Bloom's Blog

12th October 2005

Ideas: A language like XSL for designing XML editors

So I have a lexicon I'm working on in XML, with about 2000 entries that each look kinda like this:

<lexeme>
  <phrase>no</phrase>
  <entry domain="appraisal">
    <constraints>
      <pos>RB</pos>
    </constraints>
    <set att="polarity" value="marked"/>
    <modify att="force" type="flip"/>
    <modify att="orientation" type="flip"/>
  </entry>
</lexeme>

and I have an XSL stylesheet to make it layout in a table that looks like this:

WordPOSAttitudeOrientationPolarityForceFocus
noRB-flipmarkedflip -

when I view it in Firefox. What I'd like is an XML editor interface that I can use to quickly knock together a tabular editor for this format. Ideally this should be pretty general. I should be able to specify my interface in an XSL like language, which I can knock together pretty quickly and easily, and load the interface language and the data into a program that can format the data according to the interface language.

Xample is an interesting idea, but not quite what I had in mind. XML Quick Editor by the now defunct netbryx might be closer, but I can't find any screenshots to see what it's like.

BixJ might be a good place to start.

In the true UNIX tradition, I've decided that a very easy to do this kind of XML editing on a schema-by-schema basis is to use XSH2. I've also found xmlstarlet to be very helpful for document editing and querying.

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