View Full Version : Comparing files and directories

4th February 2009, 12:59
When coding it is often needed to compare different versions of the same code/script. For example, when a new version of some online software is released, if you have customised the files from the last version you need to compare the new release's files against your existing ones so you can update your files with the new code, without losing your custom code.

Another form of comparison is for files and directories. Anyone who collects rom collections such as MAME or TOSEC and ISO sets knows that it can be a nightmare having to compare files between two different sets of the same files.

Until now I've used two different tools for this.

ExamDiff - http://www.prestosoft.com/edp_examdiff.asp

The free version of this tool can quickly compare two files and display the results side by side, highlighting the differences, showing it in one colour for new content, and another colour for different content.

ViceVersa - http://www.tgrmn.com/

This software can very quickly compare files in different directories and locations (different HDs, network locations, ftp servers etc) and show the differences in a side by side view.

This tool is great for web developers to see what files are different or missing from a remote server and need uploading or updating. And also great for a rom collector when saving a backup copy of their files. It allows you to save just the differences, rather than needed to back the whole lot up each time.

I have now however found a couple more similar tools that do the same thing.

WinMerge - http://winmerge.org/

This free tool seems to be able to do both jobs of the two tools already mentioned. It can compare differences between the contents of a file, and can also compare directory structures and file dates; displaying the results side by side and colour highlighted. It can also perform merge operations between different versions of directories and files being compared.

Beyond Compare - http://www.scootersoftware.com

This is a commercial tool that does a very similar job to WinMerge. Allowing the comparison of both files and folders, and the merging and synchronization of folders.

I haven't yet tested these last two tools, but they look good so i will be giving them a try later today.

Demon Cleaner
5th February 2009, 05:59
Perhaps I will give them a try too, but I have been happy with Vice Versa so far, it always did the taks I needed, which was in most cases mirroring and replicating directories. Of course it's commercial, but you know...