Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Hidden features in Oxygen (that you likely don't know about)

I made a list with a couple of hidden features that I find useful when working with Oxygen. If you have other suggestions, features that you use very often, we will be happy if you share them with us.
  1. Quick find toolbar
    A reduced version of the Find / Replace dialog is available as a toolbar, displayed at the bottom of the Oxygen window. Press Alt + Shift + F to display it, and ESC to close it and give the focus in editor.

  2. Wrap/unwrap selected text in an element
    To wrap some text in an element use Surround with Tags(Ctrl+E) action. To unwrap just delete the start tag or the end tag, or use the Delete Element Tags(Alt+Shift+X) action.

  3. Context Sensitive Help/Dynamic Help View
    Dynamic Help view is a help window that changes its content to display the help section referring to the currently selected view from Oxygen.

    Also the help system is context sensitive: press F1 in any dialog to quickly access the relevant help section of the User Manual.










  4. Ctrl+Click Navigation
    By holding down Ctrl (CMD on Mac) in the Text editing mode some components become links that you can follow to get to the definition of those components. For example, in an XML document, an element name becomes a link to that element definition in the associated schema or DTD. In an XSL stylesheet, a variable reference becomes a link to that variable definition, and so on.

  5. Component dependencies
    The Component Dependencies view presents a tree of component dependencies starting with a specified component. Allows you to spot the dependencies for the selected component of an XSLT stylesheet, an XML Schema, a Relax NG schema, or a NVDL schema.
    For example you can quickly see from where an XSLT variable is called, and if called from other variables, functions or named templates, you can expand further to see where they are called from.




  6. Learn structure
    When working with documents that do not specify a schema, or for which the schema is not known or does not exist, Oxygen is able to learn and translate the document structure to a DTD.

  7. Modify all matches
    Allows you to easily modify the occurrences of the text found through executing a find operation or an XPath expression. When you use this action, a thin rectangle replaces the highlights and lets you start editing.

  8. Layout specific for each project
    If you work on multiple projects or multiple XML vocabularies, you can choose to keep a separate layout for each project. Thus when you move between projects you get not only the last opened files specific to that project restored but also the exact layout of views, editors and toolbars.. Enable Options->Preferences-> Perspectives Layout, the "Remember layout changes for each project" option and then Oxygen will remember the exact layout for each project.

  9. Memory status
    Enable "Show memory status" option to view the memory Oxygen XML Editor uses. To free memory, click the Run Garbage Collector button located in the bottom right corner of the screen. The memory status bar has a light blue background which turns yellow or red when Oxygen XML Editor uses too much memory.

  10. Show/Hide Element Names in Outline View
    You are able to control the visibility of the element names in the Outline View. Hiding element names allows you to focus more on the document content.

  11. XML Master Files support
    Oxygen helps you edit XML modules referred using XInclude or External Entities. By setting the XML Master File, Oxygen provides a context to solve issues like module validation, editing using the content completion assistant, ID referencing or XML module connection overview (understanding how modules are connected with each other).

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Oxygen Authoring Tips and Tricks

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When I started writing on the Oxygen XML Blog, back in 2013 I wanted to have my first blog post about Oxygen Tips and Tricks but I somehow never got around to it. Now the time has come.
These are a few of the minor (and sometimes hidden) features which might bring significant usability features when editing in the visual Author editing mode:
  1. [General Editing]: Triple click to select. Triple click the text content of a certain XML element to select the entire element. Afterwards you can easily cut/copy or move it.
  2. [General Editing]: Move up and down to re-arrange content. Use the [Alt-UP] and [Alt-Down] keyboard shortcuts to move paragraphs, list items or any other kind of block like elements up or down in the parent container.
  3. [General Editing]: Code Templates. In the Oxygen Preferences->Editor / Templates / Code Templates page you can define code templates for inserting small and often used pieces of XML inside the XML document (either in the Text or in the Author editing modes). A code template can have inside it a wide selection of editor variables among which the special ${caret} and ${selection} editor variables which allow you to define where the caret will be placed after the template is inserted and how the existing selection will be placed in the newly inserted XML fragment.
  4. [General Editing]: Symbols toolbar. Go to the Window menu->Configure Toolbars... and show the Symbols toolbar in order to define and easily insert a set of most used character symbols.
  5. [General Editing]: Middle mouse button click to close editor tab. Click using the middle mouse button on an opened editor's tab to close it.
  6. [General Editing]: Edit Attributes in-place. Use ALT-ENTER to show the in-place attributes editing dialog and avoid using the Attributes view to modify or add/remove a new attribute.
  7. [DITA/Docbook/TEI/XHTML]: Copy/paste resources to create links. Copy a resource (XML file, binary/image file) in the Project view or in the DITA Maps Manager view or in the operating system's file system browser (Windows Explorer on Windows or Finder on Mac OSX) and then paste it in an XML document opened in the Author visual editing mode in Oxygen. A proper link (or image reference if it is the case) to that resource will be inserted. The same functionality applies to drag and drop.
  8. [DITA/Docbook/TEI/XHTML]: Convert content on paste (Smart paste). Paste content from an office application (MS Office, Libre or Open Office), a web browser or from a spreadsheet (Excel, Calc) and then paste it inside an XML document opened in Oxygen in the Author visual editing mode. The content will be converted to the proper target XML vocabulary and inserted inside.
  9. [DITA]: Paste as link/keyref or as content (key) reference. Assign an ID to an XML element from a DITA topic. Select and copy that element. Then open the referencing topic, right click inside and look in the Paste special menu.
  10. [DITA]: Use Subject Scheme Maps to control attribute values. You can control profiling attributes (and any other kind of attribute) values by associating a Subject Scheme Map to the DITA Map you are editing. More details... Video demonstration...
Off the top of my head, these are the tips I can up with so far. Do you have any other features that you've discovered and use daily when editing with Oxygen?