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If XML is being used increasingly to describe business actions, then XML Schema is becoming the language that enables companies to actually communicate clearly with, and to understand, each other.

While XML has become the standard medium for exchanging data, it's XML Schema that defines the structure, content and semantics of the XML documents involved in transactions.

Imagine a shipping company sends an XML document to a client containing details on a cargo shipment. The client won't be able to interpret the XML document if it contains elements and attributes it's not used to. An XML Schema can make the contents understandable.

In this piece, I shall explain how you can create and register an XML Schema, and then create an XML document from your XML Schema, using Oracle's JDeveloper 10.1.3 development environment.

I've selected JDeveloper because I've found it to deliver the most comprehensive XML Schema tools of its peers in the Java market. JDeveloper 10.1.3 features XML Schema support without need for a separate plug in, there's an integrated design view and the ability to instantiate an XML document from an XML schema.

Creating a Schema

In this section we shall create an XML Schema, catalog.xsd, in JDeveloper's Schema Visual Editor. Before that, though, make sure you've got JDeveloper 10.1.3 installed and running on your machine, and then create an application and a project.

Now, add a Schema file to the JDeveloper project. Select the project node in Applications Navigator, and select File>New in the main menu. In the New Gallery window select the General>XML node in Categories. Subsequently select XML Schema in the Items listed. In the Create XML Schema window, specify a File Name. An XML Schema will be added to the project. In the Design view the different components of the schema are displayed in the schema visual editor. In the Source view, the schema document source is listed. The different schema components available to be added to the schema are listed in the Schema Components Component Palette.

You may add components to a schema from either the component palette or from a component node in the schema design view. As an example of adding a component from a component node, add root element,catalog. Right-click on <schema> node in Design view and select Insert inside schema> element.

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