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The Eclipse IDE can be used to assist a user in the authoring of DFDL schemas.

See also Installing Eclipse.

DFDL extends a subset of XML Schema. Note however: an XML Schema is an XML document.

There are XML-Schema-Aware editors. So, if you have an editor that is aware of the XML Schema of an XML document, then that editor can provide intelligent assistance in authoring the XML document. It can show you the XML source code, or can show you diagrammatic ways of examining the document.

Now, turns out there is an XML Schema for DFDL Schemas. It was created by taking the XML Schema for XML Schemas, and subsetting it to just what DFDL uses, and then adding into it the XML Schema for DFDL's annotation objects.

Since there is an XML Schema for the XML Documents that just happen to be DFDL Schemas, an XML aware editor can provide assistance in authoring DFDL Schemas.

This page contains instructions for setting up the Eclipse Integrated-Development-Environment (IDE), and to configure it's XML editing features so that they provide some level of support for authoring DFDL schemas. In theory, based on this, if you have some other favorite XML-Schema-Aware editing environment, you could figure out how to enable it to provide you similar DFDL schema authoring assistance.

Installing Eclipse XML Features

The XML settings all assume you have installed Eclipse's XML support. Given an Eclipse update site for your version of Eclipse, the  "Eclipse XML Editors and Tools" software is what you need, and what this page is referring to for XML settings.

Eclipse XML Settings

(Caveat: The menu locations often vary from one Eclipse release to the next.)

Following are steps to modify the eclipse XML settings to aid in the creation of DFDL schemas:


  1. turn off XML Schema Validator
  2. turn off DTD Validator
  3. click the ... settings box to the right of XML Validator
    1. Select Include Group
    2. Click Add Rule
    3. Select File Extension
    4. Click Next
    5. Add extensions tdml
    6. Click Finish
    7. Repeat steps i-vi, replacing tdml with dfdl.xsd


  1. Select Text > XML
  2. Click Add...
  3. Set Content type to *.dfdl.xsd
  4. Repeat steps b-c with content type set to *.tdml


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