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Tools for Schemas


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I hope this qualifies as a schema question.I am taking over a project that involves multiple parties (30) all trying to define a generic master set of schemas. To abstract the technical stuff, each party submits their changes using excel spreadsheets (I know) to indicate changes they are requesting. These spreadsheets (containing over 10000 rows) are then run through macros to generate the schemas. Everything works fine if the parties do not make any typos and follow the color guidelines for their change requests (e.g red to delete, green to change, yellow to add new...). Of course, that is why I have been brought on the project... because it does not work fine. So, my question... I am looking to see if there are any tools that help abstract the technical part of xml schemas, yet preserve the core data. I am being told that even XML Spy's schema viewer is too complex and we also don't want 30 different schemas coming to us on release dates. Any known "schema abstraction collaboration tools" that anyone knows of? Can this be done with stylesheet tranformations to html files or something? Thanks

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Well, the problem here is that the Excel is first transformed to XML. If that XML can't be generated (I mean AT ALL) there's nothing a schema can cure. If an XML is generated anyway, but just not the one needed, then the XML Schema could help.Take one valid XML file and generate a Schema from it. Most XML editors have this option. I think Stylus Studio does, but I'm not sure. XMLSpy should also have a generator.Anyway... after you generate the Schema, you can simply validate files against it.XML Schema only defines what's valid, so if the XML is invalid, you can generate an error message (how to do so is another question) and promt the user to re-enter an input file. If the file is valid, you can then proceed. The data is always preserved, but the user will be forced to readjust it to fit the Schema.Or have I not understood you correctly and you have something else in mind?

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I don't think I was very clear in my problem.I am only working with Schemas at this point. Let's take one schema for an example. Income.xsd> Currently there is a Income.xls file that contains it's own representation of the schema file. > 30 different people make changes to this xls file and send it back to me> I cut and paste and merge these files back into a single xls file> I then run macros that create the Income.xsd file from the single xls file> I don't deal with the individual xml files that these schemas validate at any time. Problems:> People make typos in Excel and it causes extra fields to be created in the .xsd> Cut and pasting of numerous Excel files is uglyQuestion:> Does anyone know of any XML Schema collaboration tool (where people can get together and design/define a schema from numerous locations... without having a strong background in schema language)? If not, does anyone have any ideas of how to streamline this schema design process? My initial thought is to load the excel file in a database and create a web front end that forces restrictions on what can and can't be changed. I just don't want to reinvent the wheel if someone already knows of a tool that will help do this kind of thing. Hope I made more sense this time. Thanks for the input.

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The whole excel thing is a little confusing. Schema is only applicable on XML files. That's why I'm saying that you must generate a valid XML once and then generate a Schema from it. The next time, instead of validating against Excel generated Schemas, you'll validate against your previously defined Schema. You can generate a Schema from XML with almost any XML editor. I'm currently using Stylus Studio (really a great tool btw) and I'm now sure it can do this.

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Thanks for the input. I agree that Excel adds a layer of "What the ..." to the whole concept. I guess I will search ways of doing this myself from scratch. The whole problem is that 30 people without much technical knowledge need to add/remove fields from this master schema we are creating and I need to think of a good way to manage it. It is probably much more of a process question than a technical question. I was just hoping that somebody may have heard of some sort of application that would help facilitate this schema design project. Unfortunately there are many xml files that go into making this master schema. To add to the complexity, each client has their own (more restrictive) set of schemas that are based on this master. Again, thanks for the input. Have a good one.

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