Protip: Viewing large XML files

There are lots of editors that can view large XML files, such as Visual Studio, Notepad++, UltraEdit and so on.  But all of these have one flaw – they try and do too much in viewing XML.  Things like coloring, expand/collapse widgets and so on.

One of the integration points in my current project is a large XML file (40MB or so), that consists of exactly two lines of text in the file – the XML header and then the actual content.  No matter what XML viewer I chose, it would pretty much barf or never respond.

Instead of viewing the file as XML, I just changed the extension to “.txt” for that file and voila, now any text editor worth a darn can open it.  Sometimes tools do too much to try and help, but there are always ways to fool them.

Case study in mixing system concerns