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New XML Tools in Visual Studio 2005 (by Ken Levy)

To make sure subscribers of the VS Data team blog don't miss it, I just made a detailed entry in my blog. I copied here here so those who subscribe to this blog don't miss it. The VS Data team in the Visual Studio group sponsors the XML tools being created by the WebData team in the SQL Server group. We are seeking feedback on the features and experiences with the XML tools in beta 1 of Visual Studio 2005, please send us feedback.

There is a new An Introduction to the XML Tools in Visual Studio 2005 whitepaper on For more information about XML and XML tools, visit the XML Dev Center web site on While the XSLT editor/debugger features are only included in the Professional and higher levels of Visual Studio 2005, the XML Editor is fully featured and included in all of the Visual Studio Express Products. We are working on some additional enhancements for the XML tools beyond what is in the beta. Below is a feature and summary list for what is included in beta 1.

This new XML Editor allows editing XML files with full XML 1.0 syntax checking, support for DTD's, and full XSD intellisense and validation while you type. The new editor also provides some useful integrated tools like XSD inference, DTD to XSD conversion and XDR to XSD conversion, and XSD based IntelliSense. The following features are available in this release:

  • Editing XML - The XML Editor supports native XML rules compliance checking, schema based validation, auto-completion, IntelliSense, and document outlining. 

  • Validation - The XML Editor checks XML 1.0 syntax, and performs DTD, XSD or XDR validation while you type. Red squiggles are used to highlight any XML 1.0 well-formed errors. Blue squiggles are used to show semantic errors based on DTD, XDR or XSD schema validation. Each error has an associated entry in the error list. Double clicking on an error in this list would place the cursor at the location of the error. The error message displays in a tool tip when hovering the mouse over the squiggly.

  • Auto-completion - Auto-completion takes place when the user selects an item from an IntelliSense drop down or invokes the word completion command (ALT-Right-Arrow).

  • IntelliSense - Provides help in completing XML elements based on schemas or DTD's associated with that document.

  • Reformat - Automatically reformats the entire XML document or only what is selected based on optional settings for the XML Editor.

  • Smart Indenting - Used to adjust for the right indentation for the next XML element when you press ENTER.

  • Syntax Coloring - The XML syntax is colorized for various elements and attributes in the document, configured using Environment/Fonts and Colors.

  • Tool Tips - When the mouse hovers over an XML element or attribute, a tool tip window appears over the element providing information from the XSD schema if one is specified.

  • Document Outlining - Each XML element that contains child markup content, or multiple lines of text, there is an expandable/collapsible region with little [+] and [-] boxes on the left hand side of the editor document window.

  • Create Schema - This command allows the creation of an XSD schema from an XML, XDR, or DTD document.

  • Editing XSL - When editing XSL, the XML Editor supports all the features for XML files but also includes additional features and color-coding specific to editing XSL documents.

  • View XSL - This command brings up a new document window so that the user can view the output of the XSL transformation.

  • Debug XSL  - Allows debugging of XSL document when editing an XML document that has an associated XSL stylesheet or when editing an XSL stylesheet and an associated input document can be found either via project or document property.
Posted on Wednesday, July 28, 2004 11:13 PM .Net | Back to top

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