xmlformat is a formatter (or "pretty-printer") for XML documents. It is useful when you want XML documents to have a standard format. This includes situations such as the following:
XML documents that are maintained in a version control system, where people who use different XML editors work on the documents. XML editors typically impose their own style conventions on files. The application of different style conventions to successive document revisions can result in large version diffs where most of the bulk is related only to changes in format rather than content. This can be a problem if, for example, the version control system automatically sends the diffs to a committer's mailing list that people read. If documents are rewritten to a common format before they are committed, these diffs become smaller. They better reflect content changes and are easier for people to scan and understand.
Similarly, if you send an XML document to someone who edits it and sends it back, it's easier to see what was changed by putting the before and after versions in a common format. This is a simple alternative to using a more sophisticated semantic XML diff utility.
Of course, these benefits can be obtained by using any XML pretty printer. So why does xmlformat exist? Because most XML formatters reformat documents using a set of built-in rules that determine the output style. Some allow you to select from one of several predefined output styles. That's fine if the style you want is the style produced by one of these tools. If not, you're stuck. That's where xmlformat comes in, because it's configurable. You can specify formatting options in a file and xmlformat will apply them to your documents. If you have different applications for which you want different styles, you can select the style by using the appropriate configuration file.
xmlformat has a default overall output style, but you can redefine the default style, and you can override the default on a per-element basis. For example, you can indicate whether the element should be treated as a block element, an inline element, or a verbatim element. For any block element, you can control several formatting properties:
Spacing (line breaks) between nested sub-elements. You can also control spacing between the element's opening and closing tags and its content. (The general assumption is that if a block element has non-inline sub-elements, you'll want to space those sub-elements evenly within the enclosing block, though possibly with different spacing between the opening tag and the first child, or between the last child and the closing tag.)
Indentation of nested sub-elements.
Whitespace normalization and line-wrapping of text within the element.
xmlformat is free software. You can redistribute it
or modify it under the terms specified in the
For installation instructions, see the