I can write questions in plain text or XML. Why should I use ETS Editor to write questions?
You can certainly write questions in any format. It is very easy to import questions from any format into ETS Editor. Exporting questions out of ETS Editor is as easy so there is no lock in.
However, in our experience, editing a plain text or html/xml file that contains hundreds of questions is an absolute pain. We have written thousands of questions and we know how cumbersome it gets to deal with raw XML file. Effort required to organize a question's data such as options, option comments, explanation, images etc. in plain text soon balloons up.
Another issue is that after writing the question in xml, you will want to see how exactly it will be displayed to the end user with all the formatting that you have specified, which is not possible if you are managing questions in a raw file.
Further, writing questions is only a part of developing a question bank. You will also need to configure various kinds of Tests, Study Notes, and URLs. You will also want to move the questions between exam objectives, change toughness levels, check for common errors.
Writing a new question for the first time is a lot easier than managing it (i.e. enhancements/error corrections etc.) over the years.
We developed ETS Editor specifically for this purpose. It does have a little bit of a learning curve but it saves a lot of time in the long run. It contains lot of tools/shortcuts to make the job of writing and managing questions simple. We have developed thousands of questions using this tool and we are yet to see a better tool for this purpose. If you know any other tool better than ETS Editor, please do let us know :)
Please use this sample ETS file to get started. To use it, please start ETS Editor using command line: java -jar etseditor.jar first. Then use its File -> Open menu to open the ets file. It will pop up a dialog showing three users including "admin". Select "admin" and click OK. Enter "admin" (without quotes) as the password.
Here is a YouTube video that shows how to add questions. Most of the stuff is self explanatory. Play around with it and if you have any question, please let us know.