Tuesday, June 5, 2007

A Better Diff?

Eric Sink (founder of SourceGear) announced today that they have released a new free tool: SourceGear DiffMerge. I am a huge fan of free tools, and this one is definitely one to take a look at. For the past 3 or 4 years, I have been using Beyond Compare and it is an awesome tool for diffing files and folders. However, Beyond Compare does not have merge capabilities*.

I downloaded DiffMerge and played around with it for a bit. Its merge capabilities are spot on (well, I created a fake merge scenario - we'll see what happens later with a real one), and the interface is easy to use. One thing that Beyond Compare has that DiffMerge is lacking is context menu support in Explorer. Beyond Compare will let me right click on a file - Select Left Side to Compare, and then right click on another file - Compare to x. Or, I can highlight two directories/files and right click - Compare. That simple. Since I do all my source control operations in Explorer, this is a handy feature. In fact, I can't remember the last time I opened Beyond Compare via the Start Menu or a Desktop shortcut.

Another great thing about DiffMerge is that there is a version for Windows, as well as Linux and Mac OSX. I haven't had a chance to fully evaluate this tool, but it was good enough for me to change TortoiseCVS and TortoiseSVN to use it as the default for diff and merge operations. So, in the coming weeks I'll see how this FREE tool stacks up against the competition.

* Scooter Software has said that Beyond Compare will have merge capabilities in the next version. When that's coming out - who knows... towards the end of this year (per Chris from Scooter Software)

1 comment:

Chris said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts about diff and merge tools.

Merge support will be in Beyond Compare 3. We plan to release it towards the end of this year.

Scooter Software