3 Nice Looking Diff Tools and My Pick

1 Desire

I want a GUI diff/merge tool. Text-based diff is fine for easy stuff. I want a
tool that makes difficult merges easy. I want a single download,
install, and run. I want something with first class support. It should run
well on Windows, OSX, and Linux. This was my original goal.

2 Questions

  • Name
    • Product name : string
    • URL : string
  • Cross Platform
    • First-class support on Windows, Linux, and OSX : boolean
  • VC Configuration mentions
    • Git : boolean
    • SVN : boolean
  • Block Guide : boolean
    • Indicator to show you where blocks of code moved in the diff
  • Unicode support : boolean
  • Comparisons : structure
    • 3 way : boolean
    • visual diff : boolean
    • directory compare : boolean
    • image compare : boolean
  • Binary files : structure
    • MS Office : boolean
    • PDF : boolean
    • XLS : boolean
    • iWork : boolean
  • Reviews (1(00-40), 2(40-60), 3(60-80), 4(80-100))
    • SDWest : symbol
    • Jolt : symbol
    • Tucows : symbol
    • C/NET-Download.com : symbol
  • Gut feeling
    • Good/Bad : boolean
  • Overall feeling : symbol
    • Unacceptable, Acceptable, Wonderful
  • License cost
    • USD : integer
  • Comments
    • string

3 Steps

  • Make many observations
  • Discover preferences
    • Review observations
    • Refine observations
  • Separate observations into above and below the bar
    • Explain why

4 Observations

Four groupings

  • Top pics
  • Near top pics
  • Declined top pics with explanation
  • Can never be a top pic
Name Crx VC BGd Unc Comp Bin G O Lc Com
DeltaWalker tru ++ tru tru ++ ++ G W 90 Intelligent text-comparison between iWork and Office files. Same between archive files.
Guiffy tru ++ fls tru ++ + G W 75 Website covered all of the key stuff. Seems like “it just works”. Advanced 3-way merge algorithms is eye catching. Java based. Unicode and 150 other encoding support. 30 language syntax highlighting. Everything keeps sounding better. Great developer reviews. Included notes for .gitconfig settings so they are real developers.
BeyondCompare tru + fls tru ++ + G   80 Delimeted data file merging, very nice. Compare CSV, tab delimited, HTML tables, and Excel worksheets. Compare CSV, tab delimited, HTML tables, and Excel worksheets.
SmrtSyncnz tru ++ tru tru + ”” G A 40  
KDiff3 tru ++ fls tru + ”” G A    
DiffMerge tru ++ fls tr* + G A 0 Unicode files are normalized during load see.
ECMerge tru tru ? + +”? G A 50 Not developer focused. Not the end of the world. Hard to get a sense of this product’s flavor.
xxdiff tru     fls     G U   Looks like a stunnning tool, but primarily UNIX. Builds exist for Windows but are not first class.
Diffuse tru fls   ‘+” ”’ B     Not my cup of tea.
tkdiff tru           B     Not my cup of tea.
Vim (diff) tru + fls             Not my cup of tea.
Perforce tru               Probably works best with Perforce; that holds its tru focus.
AraxisMerge tr*                 No Linux support.
Tortoise Win                  
OpenDiff OSX                  
Changes OSX                  
DiffFork OSX ++ tru              
VisualDiffer OSX fls              
CompareMerge OSX                  
Kaleidoscope OSX                  

5 Conclusion

  • There are many options
  • They all have great strengths
  • By collecting observations the conclusion became obvious
  • There are three great options
  • One of them has block diffs
    • It has more, too, but not critical
  • DeltaWalker it is

6 Adoption

  • Read the Welcome document
  • Read the How Do I? section
  • Read about how to integrate Git
  • Read the Comparing Files section
  • Skimmed EverythingElse section
    • You may script DW using JS via Rhino
  • All you may only need to read are the Tips & Tricks as it covers all of the
    really useful productivity stuff and you can dig into detals in the main
  • Read the preferences section
    • Overview
      • You my customize the differencing algorithm, interesting
      • Per comparison preferences are forked and stored, interesting
    • All Comparisons
      • Must read this
      • Can choose the differencing algorithm
    • Also Image and Text Comparisons
  • Skimmed FolderComparisons and thye seem to be virtually identical
  • Bought the ORO

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