Archive for the ‘Vex’ Category

Happy New Vex!

January 16, 2015

Late last year, Eclipse Vex 1.1 was released. Vex, the Visual Editor for XML, provides a word processor-like interface for editing XML. Here are the new and noteworthy of version 1.1:

New Outline View of Vex 1.1

For installing Vex 1.1 you can use one of the following update sites or install buttons:

In addition to new features and bug fixes, we improved our processes by using HIPP (Hudson Instance Per Project) in combination with Git and Gerrit and by supporting Oomph. We also added a 4-minute video about Vex – Getting Started to the website, which is viewed on average 10 times a day.

More than two years have passed since version 1.0. The main development is currently done by Florian Thienel and Carsten Hiesserich in their spare time. Because of this Vex evolves slowly but steadily. Without the pressure of a company driving this project, which started 12 years ago as a Swing application, the core of Vex is being redesigned. This redesign will bring a better performance and a cleaner API to make it easier to extend Vex and to use Vex not only as an XML editor. Based on the new core, which is still work in progress, Florian created a prototype with a cursor showing the position of block elements directly at the cursor instead of in the status line (see this video for details).

Probably, some results of this work will be in Vex 1.2, which hopefully will not take as long as Vex 1.1.

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New Vex Committer and Vex 1.1 M3

October 3, 2013

The first milestone of Vex 1.1 was published some months ago (if you don’t know Vex yet: it stands for Visual Editor for XML and is an Eclipse XML editor with a word processor like interface). Since then Carsten Hiesserich has joined the project team and mainly works on Vex’s built-in support for DocBook.

One month ago, with the second milestone we switched to Kepler. Unfortunately, the Eclipse Marketplace showed a couple of “one or more required items could not be found” errors and the number of milestone installations fell below 100 per month for the first time. So we decided to switch back to Juno (Eclipse 3.x) only for Vex 1.1, which is scheduled to be released in June 2014.

A couple of bugs have been fixed for DocBook support. In addition, in the Outline View there are now buttons to toggle the visibility of inline elements (block element block elements are always shown), of processing instructions, of comments and of the first part of the contained text:

Outline View of Vex 1.1 M3

The Vex project has started to use Gerrit, a code review system which is used by other Eclipse projects, too. Vex also has a new separate Hudson instance which is required by Gerrit to veto a commit on failing JUnit tests. And this is Gerry, not to be confused with Gerrit, a young tomcat loafing around and vetoing my coding by walking over the keyboard from time to tim111111111111klllllllllllllll

Gerry (a young tomcat) chilling out

Don’t be a fraidy-cat and get Vex 1.1 M3 with the new features and maybe new bugs! 😉

Drag to install: (or use Update Site

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Vex 1.1M1

February 5, 2013

Have you ever seen Eclipse Vex, a Visual Editor for XML, in action? The following video will give you a short impression of how to create an XML document like XHTML with Vex:

Video: Vex – Getting Started

Last week the first milestone of Eclipse Vex 1.1 has become available. A core API should make it easier to use Vex as a widget in RCP or SWT applications. A lot of refactorings and clean-ups have been carried out by our project lead Florian for this new API. In Vex 1.1M1 XML comments can be added everywhere (even before or after the root element) and a couple of bugs have been fixed (see also New and Noteworthy).

To install Vex 1.1M1 drag to your running Eclipse application window (this requires the Marketplace client, which is included in all Eclipse packages except Eclipse Classic).

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Out of the Egg – Eclipse Vex 1.0

September 9, 2012

Today, Eclipse Vex 1.0 (drag to install), the Visual Editor for XML, has been released. The release and graduation review has been successfully passed. No egg anymore, which indicates incubation project phase.

John Krasnay started the Vex project at SourceForge in 2002. In December 2002 Vex 0.1 was released as a Java Swing application (see screenshot below) that provides a word processor-like interface for editing XML documents. The first Eclipse-based version was Vex 1.0, which was released in July 2004. In April 2005 version 1.2.1 was released. Then the project became inactive.

In 2008 David Carver migrated the project to Eclipse or – to be more precise – into the Eclipse Web Tools Platform (WTP) Incubator Project. In 2009 I became committer and Florian Thienel joined in 2010. In 2011 Vex became a project on its own in Mylyn Docs led by Florian, the most active developer.

In the last 10 years many people have contributed to Vex. Thanks to all those people Vex is reborn in version 1.0 again. Happy birthday Vex!

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How to use Vex as a Widget – Article in Eclipse Magazine

January 28, 2012

Florian’s article on how to use Vex as an editor widget has just been published in the German Eclipse Magazin 2.12. In a sample dialog Vex is used to enter Wiki text in the WYSIWYG way.

Vex is a pure SWT widget and doesn’t require any web browser. It’s an alternative to the solution FCKEditor in a browser widget which Thomas Kratz recently described in his post.

Vex is an acronym for Visual Editor for XML. With Florian’s WYSIWYG Wiki editor we have to rename Vex into Vest: Visual Editor for structured text. 😉

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Moving Forward – Vex 1.0.0 M8

January 10, 2012

Vex has moved from being a component in the WTP Incubator project to being a project on its own in Mylyn Docs. Like all other Eclipse projects Vex has its own home page: Our project lead is Florian Thienel, currently the 99% of Vex (only you can change this).

1.0.0 M8

Last week milestone 8 was released. If you already use Vex then you have to migrate your vex-plugin.xml files. Otherwise you should give Vex a try to edit XML files word processor like.

The next big thing is XML Schema support in addition to the good old DTDs. Already 1.0.0 M8 contains basic support for it. At the moment you have to register the XML Schema manually by editing the vex-plugin.xml file – the UI to do this is under development. So stay tuned. Vex is moving forward slowly but surely.

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Vex 1.0.0 M6 – Is Less More?

March 18, 2011

(Based on this Air France ad by Renluc, 1949)

Vex 1.0.0 M6 (an editor for XML with a word processor-like interface) has just come out. The change with the most impact might be the (temporary) removal of the multi-page editor. For a long time the multi-page editor has been marked as experimental because the synchronization between visual and textual editor page was only partially implemented: changes made in the visual editor page were propagated to the textual page, but the visual editor model was not updated after a change in the textual page. We have decided to remove it for now because we prefer quality to half finished features – but maybe also because we wanted to elicit some reactions. Even though Vex is installed, via the Marketplace Client only, about 150 times per month there are only few bug reports and practically no questions in the forum and mailing list.

More than 150 installations per month since DemoCamp Stuttgart, November 2010

The next things to come will be the long-awaited support for namespaces and XML schema, along with a better integration of DITA. So stay tuned!

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Viva Vex

December 18, 2010

No doubt Vex, the Eclipse Visual Editor for XML (for editing XML files like in a word processor), is back. 1.0.0 M4 (new and noteworthy) was released this week. Moreover, last month Florian and I demonstrated Vex at the DemoCamp Stuttgart.

If you attended this full-day DemoCamp then hopefully you stayed long enough and enjoyed the story about Vex and MeMaMeMi and how to edit XML without angle brackets. We said that Vex is shipped with built-in support for two XML formats, DITA and DocBook, but that’s not true anymore. Since Vex 1.0.0 M4, you can edit XHTML files out of the box as well. For all other XML formats Vex requires the corresponding DTD and CSS.

This autumn, a couple of Eclipse projects died. I agreed that archiving such projects makes it clear that the development has stopped. A frightening end is better than endless fright. But I also grieve for the projects which have assisted me so often. For example, TPTP, which was my choice after the Eclipse Profiler Plugin died at SourceForge, profiled a couple of my applications. I remember that I wasted a lot of time by often looking for updates for the Eclipse Profiler Plugin before I found TPTP. Maybe the CodePro Profiler recently donated by Google or MAT will step into TPTP’s shoes.

I also worry about the Visual Editor (VE) which taught me SWT and which has a similar name and similar story to Vex: VE was or is going to be reborn. But now, VE is on the verge of being cannibalised by the WindowBuilder, the second recent gift of Google. Hopefully, there will be a future for both VE and WindowsBuilder (as well as for CodePro Profiler and MAT) or – even better – a common future. Viva Ve(x)!

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Vex on the Road again

October 29, 2010

Since Mylyn has become a top-level project, it is going to be restructured into the subprojects Tasks, Context, Versions, Builds, Reviews, Docs, Commons, and Incubator. Docs will contain WikiText, which can convert Wiki pages into Eclipse Help. What’s more, Vex, currently a component of WTP Incubator and a SourceForge project since two years, has been proposed to become a component of the Docs subproject. Vex provides a word-processor-like interface for editing XML files. Maybe this is the first case of self-proposing: Dave wrote the proposal with Vex in XML and then converted it via XSLT into the recommended HTML file. 😉

Even though there are a lot of Vex users, contributions are very rare (not even changes are published/contributed back according to the license). Probably, one reason for this is that Vex is mainly for non-developers. Hopefully, this will change as soon as Vex becomes a WikiText editor.

Currently, Vex is in the incubator phase but our plan is to publish Vex 1.0.0 simultaneously with Indigo in the summer of 2011. If you’d like to see Vex in action you could download and try it yourself or attend the DemoCamp in Stuttgart, Germany, on November 23th: Florian, currently the most active developer and I will give a short presentation of Vex.

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Vex Article online

March 20, 2010

For all of you who want to know what Vex is and who want to get started with Vex: my article about Vex which was published in the German Eclipse Magazin 1.2010 two months ago is now online:

Thanks to the JAXenter and especially to Hartmut Schlosser for making this and other Eclipse and Java articles and sample code freely available. 🙂