What is the best Free XML text editor?

XML_Notepad3

notepade plus free xml text editorThis is an interesting question that people ask me quite frequently.  Yes, I know, who the heck would actually ask about the free XML text editor, let alone the BEST free XML text editor.  Well, if you are like me, you probably had to do some kind of work with XSLT.  XSLT is simply a language for transforming XML documents into other XML documents.  Or, according to Wikipedia, other objects such as HTML for web pages, plain test, or into XSL formatting of objects.  and so on.

The toughest thing about XML is that if you have an unclosed tag, or a case problem with a node name, you are certainly going to have issues when your XML actually gets implemented.  The biggest help for this is to use something other than Notepad to edit your XML.  Why not Notepad?  Well, Notepad does not provide color coding of nodes, collapsible node structures and other cool things.

Those two mentioned things are the most important to me when looking into an XML text editor.  There are quite a few out there that already do this kind of stuff, but which one is the best free XML text editor?  That, I cannot tell you.  You’ll find with any of them that one may be good at presented the code in an easy to read format, another may give you the option to wired into your source control, another may give you a nice FTP interface.  Those are just a few things to consider.

So, instead of telling you the best XML text editors, I will simply give you a list of a few, best free XML text editors that I have actually used and find them all to be “the best” for daily use:

  • Sublime Text Very popular with my Mac folks, but out of the box not very “friendly.”  However there are a number of plugins that you can add to make it be the XML text editor for you.
  • Notepad++ Considered to be Old Faithful in that out of the box it already contains some nice XML formatting features as well as a built-in ftp client. (no need to fuss with Filezilla)
  • UltraEdit – A very powerful tool, that used to be free but still contains a huge amount of customizations (tailor it to a developer, designer, coder, what eva…)
  • Microsoft Visual Studio Express Yeah, I said Microsoft.  If you haven’t been doing any .NET programming, then you don’t know that the majority of all of the configuration of .NET code is done via XML configuration files.  Therefore the IDE that used for .NET has a wonderful (and free) XML text editor.
  • Eclipse – The go-to editor for Java enthusiasts…  IBM loves it so much that they build Lotus Notes on top of it.  A great, extensible tool that can be used and an XML editor with major tweaking.

Ok, so there is your list, but I know, you were expecting to see what was the best XML text editor.  So with that, I will tell you from my personal experience, that Notepad++ is the best XML text editor out there.  Try it for yourself and let me know what think!

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