Breathing Oxygen XML in Windows 7


Recently, in a previous post, I talked about my inevitable yet anticipated migration of my IBM-issued Lenovo ThinkPad laptop from Windows XP to Windows 7.

Well, guess what? I began the migration phase on Friday night, successfully completed it on Sunday night, then successfully completed the application updates and upgrades on Monday night.

Windows 7: Jay’s new work desktop (2013)

Windows 7: Jay’s new work desktop (2013)

Hi, my name is Jay, and I’m an IBM TRIRIGA information developer at IBM. During the entire 3-day process, the installation that I anticipated the most was that of the <oXygen/> XML Author by Syncro Soft. But for clarity and convenience, I’ll refer to it as the Oxygen XML Author, or Oxygen for short.

What is the Oxygen XML Author?

In another previous post, I mentioned the PTC Arbortext Editor as the dominant DITA-XML editor at IBM. I also mentioned its eventual replacement by the Oxygen XML Author. While there has been no official announcement to stop using Arbortext, IBM information developers like myself can start using Oxygen. In a nutshell, Oxygen is a more advanced DITA-XML editor.

PTC Arbortext Editor: Topic in green and map in blue

PTC Arbortext Editor: Topic in green and map in blue

How does Oxygen compare to Arbortext?

Over the last couple of years, I witnessed several Oxygen demos, and each time, I was impressed by the Oxygen interface. After all, the ease and efficiency of using any text or code editor depends primarily, if not entirely, on the power and flexibility of its interface.

Compared to Arbortext, Oxygen demonstrates a higher level of integration among multiple window panels, and a higher level of flexibility in layout arrangements, element color options, and alternate views for both formatted XML and plain text.

Oxygen XML Author: Topic XML view in green

Oxygen XML Author: Topic XML view in green

Oxygen XML Author: Topic text view in blue

Oxygen XML Author: Topic text view in blue

Oxygen XML Author: Map XML view in green

Oxygen XML Author: Map XML view in green

How does Oxygen compare to Flare?

Interestingly, when I attended my first local STC chapter meeting in September, I was exposed to Madcap Flare for the first time too. Not only did the Flare demo impress me more than the Oxygen demos, but ever since that presentation, I’ve thought about buying Flare for my own personal use. Something that Oxygen hasn’t inspired in me yet. Unfortunately, I don’t have Madcap Flare yet.

Actually, comparing Oxygen to Flare is unfair. While Oxygen is a powerful XML editor, it’s still only an editor that’s an integral part of a larger single-source publishing package. Meanwhile, Flare is a single-source publishing package that includes its XML editor. So instead, based on my brief exposure to both Oxygen and Flare, I’ll compare their respective XML editors on the same level.

While there are many negligible differences between the two editor interfaces, one difference stands out the most for me. Compared to the Flare editor, the Oxygen editor lacks the ability to display alternate views for both formatted XML and plain text simultaneously. Whether or not this lack translates into an actual inconvenience in my everyday work remains to be seen. Otherwise, the Oxygen editor remains impressive.

Madcap Flare: Topic XML view and text view

Madcap Flare: Topic XML view and text view

Madcap Flare: TOC (map) view

Madcap Flare: TOC (map) view

What are my final thoughts?

As an IBM TRIRIGA information developer, I have no complaints with the Oxygen XML Author so far and can’t wait to use it on my next project. Following the Arbortext Editor, Oxygen is clearly a step in the right direction. But outside of office work, I’d love to explore other directions with the full Madcap Flare package. If I only had enough spare cash. :)

Do I have an update?

Within the next 6 months, I found myself speeding with flare and accelerating with oxygen!

MadCap Flare 10: Trial Version

MadCap Flare 10: Trial Version

Syncro Soft Oxygen XML Author 15: Trial Version

Syncro Soft Oxygen XML Author 15: Trial Version

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