oXygen XML Editor — Bringing Consistency, Collaboration, and Structure to Content Production

oXygen XML EditorA Profile of Syncro Soft & oXygen XML Editor

Companies today face a wide range of challenges when aiming for great content that meets customers’ needs. Barriers between departments with content creation duties, lack of consistent workflows, and entrenched processes inhibit collaboration. Structured authoring and XML development offer enormous potential for a comprehensive, enterprise-level approach to content production that works across the board. But getting started can be a daunting challenge for organizations steeped in traditional word processing and widely separated teams. Tech pubs, marketing and support groups all need to produce content, and they need tools that make collaboration easier and consistency standard.

For years, oXygen XML Editor has been the XML development and structured authoring platform of choice for teams that must produce complex, lengthy, and accurate content. Developed by Syncro Soft, oXygen XML Editor consists of XML Author and XML Developer applications, and is the only XML tool that combines XML authoring and development capabilities. oXygen XML Author can be used to create XML documents and XML Developer to help with applications using any XML related technologies such as XSLT, XQuery and XML schemas. oXygen supports all XML schema languages available today along with web services, XML databases, etc. This combination allows content authors and developers to work on XML products together.

In a typical oXygen workflow, a subject matter expert (SME) adds information, and then a technical communicator processes the information, configures it correctly for publishing to one or more outputs, and sends for review. Multiple people can create, refine, and publish content.

Syncro Soft worked with technical communication and XML developers to build a platform that addresses requirements shared by many organizations tasked with producing content:

  • Customizable word processor-like user interface (UI)
  • Form controls and inline actions to create UIs for non-technical people
  • Review and version control
  • Schema-based and rule-based XML validation
  • Visual editing and bidirectional language support
  • Content reuse at the document or element level
  • XML publishing to different output formats
  • Integration with third-party plugins

Because of its word processor-like UI, oXygen XML Author offers a short learning curve, so that beginners can jump right into being productive and experts can customize and use advanced features. Form-based controls and custom actions in oXygen allow users to create UIs for specific tasks that can be used by non-technical people without previous training. Watch this video of George Bina of Syncro Soft and Mark Baker of Analecta Communications to learn more about the business case for forms-based authoring.

On the collaboration front, technical communicators are often challenged by review cycles that involve multiple reviewers. The oXygen platform utilizes views so that content authors can easily review and accept or reject changes from multiple reviewers, while version control ensures that reviews do not overwrite previous or current versions. All changes and annotations are created and recorded directly in the XML documents, which eliminates additional steps, increases accuracy, and reduces review costs.

oXygen XML integrates the Syncro Subversion Repository Client (Syncro SVN Client), so that users can browse Subversion repositories to check for or commit changes, update content, or review revision history. oXygen does not provide a CMS itself but there are many CMS vendors that provide oXygen integrations. oXygen supports editing remote resources over WebDAV, FTP, and XML databases.

oXygen XML Editor is available on all the major operating systems (Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Solaris) and can be used either standalone or as an Eclipse plugin. It has a powerful integrated development environment (IDE) based on Java technology. With the rich set of features in XML Editor, content teams can set schemas, validate the XML, include document parts for large document, view dependencies between different files, edit CSS and more, bringing consistency to all published outputs.

oXygen XML Editor supports content teams that need to publish from a single source to PDF, ePUB, HTML, WebHelp, Eclipse Help, or CHM. In fact, users can publish multiple versions and transform documents to other types by triggering a single transformation action. oXygen XML Editor allows teams to reuse content with single elements or entire ranges of elements, streamlining the development, review, and publishing process.

The oXygen XML Editing interface

The oXygen XML Editing interface

Now in version 15.1, XML Editor features intelligent search and refactoring actions, hierarchy and dependency views, context-aware editing assistance, and support for generating documentation. Syncro Soft also made improvements in working with XML databases and validation support, and many additions to the DITA functionality. DITA improvements include integration of “The DITA Style Guide” by Tony Self, which provides immediate access to the relevant style guide topic depending on the current editing context, and DITA for Publishing plugin suite. The latest version also provides DocBook support.

Syncro Soft is a privately held software company with extensive expertise in XML technologies and single source publishing. oXygen XML Editor, the company’s flagship product, provides the best coverage of today’s XML technologies. It complies with the established standards of WC3 and other organizations and it enhances developers’ and content authors’ productivity. Founded in 1998, Syncro Soft is headquartered in Craiova, Romania and operates a subsidiary, Syncro Soft Ltd in London, UK.

Syncro Soft offers trial downloads and multiple purchase options. For more information, including detailed product brochures and user manuals, visit http://www.oxygenxml.com/.

Readers can follow @oxygenxml on Twitter to find out about upcoming webinars, or ask specific support questions.

Jill Parman

Jill is the owner of ForWord Consulting, LLC, which provides instructional design, technical communication, and business analysis services. She is a master of useless trivia, has a slight obsession with Pilot fine tip pens, and spends her free time chasing around a toddler and two dogs.

Read more articles from Jill Parman

Connect with her on Twitter