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XML Spy 3.5

  • February 13, 2001
  • By Developer.com Staff
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Editing and Validating XML Schemas/DTDs

XML Spy also can edit and validate DTD's. XML Spy has support for a number of the XML Schema variants including DTD's, BizTalk, XML-Data and the W3C XML Schema Definition draft April 7, 2000 and CR Oct. 24 2000. The tool has a number of useful capabilities for working with schemas including conversion between the schema variants, generating a schema for an XML file and assigning a schema file to an XML file.

XML Spy Support for XSL

In the same vein as the functionality provided for use with XML files and schemas, XML Spy allows the user to view and edit XSL documents. XML Spy also supports assignment of an XSL style sheet to an XML file.

The tool has support for doing XSL transforms with transform processor implementations that comply with the XSL transform recommendation.

Other Features

Given the huge amount of information stored in relational databases it's not surprising that a number of tools have been written by various vendors to support exchanging data between XML documents and relational databases. Reflecting their provenance, many of these tools only work with a single vendor's database. XML Spy improves on this by providing support for importing data from and exporting data to any ODBC compliant database. The tool allows the user to state which database table the data should be selected from or inserted into, the SQL statement to use, passwords, date format conversions if required and so on. Database import/export is a very useful feature but it would be nice to see this support also offered for JDBC compliant databases. There's considerably more to data on the Net than ODBC!

XML Spy has support for importing data from delimited files as well. It can cope with all that data fluffing around corporate applications in comma separated variable (CSV) format, tab separated, space separated, or virtually any other separator. If you absolutely have to export data in a delimited format to satisfy some legacy application's requirements, XML Spy supports a variety of delimiters.

It is interesting to note that XML Spy can also import from Microsoft Word. Remember there's an awful lot of content out there in Microsoft Word format. Getting this information into XML creates all sorts of possibilities for document processing. With some dependencies on the version of Microsoft Office or Word you have installed, if you have a Word document using paragraph styles you can generate an XML file (with a CSS style sheet) where each paragraph is an XML element.


XML Spy is a well put together tool with a lot of useful functionality that could help developers and other staff working with XML files. Having the tool support JDBC and run on other platforms would be great but if your primary environment is Windows this won't be an issue.

At a glance



Main features

XML file editing and validation, XML Schema and DTD editing and validation, XSL editing and transformation.

Version reviewed

Premium 3.5


Single user US$199 with costs ranging to  a 500-user license at US$64,990.

Server version (multi-user run-time access to XML Spy functionality using COM) available at US$1990 for a single server through to US$16,990 for a 10-server license.

Platforms supported

Microsoft Windows 95, 98, NT 4 and Windows 2000

Evaluation copy available

Downloadable from Web site. 30 day evaluation license.




Altova GmbH

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