Friday, December 19, 2014

Oxygen XML Editor 17's Christmas List

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Ho, ho, ho. Merry Christmas boys and girls!

I heard you've been good little children, spreading the XML wisdom throughout the year and revealing your inner geeky nature. Santa Oxygen has read your wish lists, assigning priorities and is filling his big bag of toys for the version 17 release. As Santa is quite old and the toys need to be checked and rectified for defects, Oxygen 17 will arrive in Spring next year but if you want to test the latest toys, just drop us an email and we'll make a beta kit available for you.

Just to help you get into the Christmas spirit, here are some of the goodies we've worked on so far:
  1. The DITA Preferences page. Because we love DITA so much we decided to create a brand new DITA page in the Oxygen Preferences dialog. The most important setting in the new page allows you to change the default DITA OT directory used for validation and transformation.
  2. DITA Unreferenced Resources Finder. Use this handy new tool to find all resources (images, DITA topics) which are not referenced from your DITA Maps and topics. We've been using this check internally for years to delete unnecessary resources and now we are making it available for you.
  3. Publish DITA content to PDF using CSS and the Prince XML commercial processor. The first stable version of the new DITA Open Toolkit plugin we've also made public on GitHub will allow you to style PDF content by making CSS changes and avoid a lot of XSLT customizations.
  4. Fully re-designed DITA visual editing experience. Our head elf has been revising every element in the DITA specification and completely redesigned the CSSs used to edit DITA based on minimalism and closeness to the published XHTML and PDF outputs.
  5. CSS visual layouts for DITA editing. Besides the minimalist editing style you will be able to use the Styles drop-down to choose from a number of fun editing layouts. I'm not going to ruin the surprise, as an inside info, one of the new editing styles will be called Roboto.
  6. WebHelp output improvements. The WebHelp output obtained from DITA and Docbook content will have the search box which placed in the upper right corner for easier access. It will also feature navigation based on context IDs in order to be more easily integrated in an application contextual help system. And yes, it will also load faster.
  7. Predefined Color Themes. Speaking of enhanced visual appearance, you will have an array of predefined color schemes to choose in order to completely change the visual appearance of the application, starting with Graphite and ending with the exotic Sahara.
  8. Locking for shared files. Despite our recommendations of using version control systems or commercial CMSs, some of you are still naughty enough to collaborate on a project using shared network drives. We added a special setting (which must be enabled for everybody working on a shared network drive) to avoid overwriting other people's work when editing.
  9. Saxon 9.6 XSLT Processor. Oxygen 17 will be shipped with the latest Saxon 9.6 XSLT processor. So if you're into XSLT, XPath and XQuery 3.0, this will be a good component update for you.
The bag is almost full now but if time allows we might also have the time to look into adding these new toys as well:
  1. Better support for working with multiple selected cells in tables. Like support for multiple join and split cells, support for copy pasting of multiple cells.
  2. Auto correct support. Even Santa would find those useful to avoid teh most common editing mstakes when working on this Christmas list. Both in the Text and Author pages? I would like to have both. How about you?
  3. Toolbar Customization support. We finally want to allow you to remove the access and create the perfect toolbar layout, with only the buttons you need and use daily.
  4. Apply Batch Changes on a set of resources. A powerful engine based on XQuery will allow you to chose various change scripts to apply on a set of resources. For example remove certain attributes, add new elements and attributes, convert elements and so on. And if you are a power user, you will be able to edit your change scripts directly in XQuery.
  5. Redesigned DITA Insert Image actions. The newly redesigned Insert Image dialog should allow you to set the most common used attributes on an image like alignment, scaling, even to add directly a figure.
  6. Proper support for high DPI resolutions both on Windows and Mac OSX.

Well, that's about it. Santa's got to go and re-watch his favorite DITA OT Day Presentations then prepare for the upcoming XML Prague Oxygen Users Meetup Conference which is still opened for registration. The Oxygen office Christmas Party takes place tonight and I heard there will be lots of food and good spirits.

Happy holidays everyone. Ho, ho ho!