I've been hearing about ActiveState's Visual XSLT tool quite a bit, and I was quite intrigued by it, but never found the time to give it a through test. This weekend finally the opportunity presented itself, so I downloaded the trial version and gave it a go.

Well, I must admit I'm quite impressed by it. My favourite features were:

  • Intellisense for XSLT files: It rocks; makes dealing with the XSLT syntax a snap.
  • Debugging: The debugger is very nice, although it worked a little quirky for me. Basically, I had to press F10 twice each time to step-by-step through the transformation.
  • The XPath Workshop window: most definitely my favourite feature of all; just point to an XML file, type in the XPath expression, and the results are displayed on the window. Über cool!

Although I did run into a few gotchas, I did get a feel for the power of the tool (it even works with includes and all). Most definitely, this is a tool I'd love to have on my arsenal, so I guess it's savings time so that I can afford it in a few months... not very soon, though :(

Tomas Restrepo

Software developer located in Colombia.