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Lemme get this straight, can I do this?

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  • Lemme get this straight, can I do this?

    I have just upgraded from 2.4.x (which I use constantly, but perhaps not to its fullest abilities) to 3.x Pro, and I see a LOT of new capabilities that are not well documented. I love this product, and I recommend it to everyone, but I really need to know how far these new capabilities go.

    In particular, I see that, now that I have installed all the extra file format stuff, I can now do compares on many file types that I was not able to compare before.

    The question is, how much other stuff can I do with these file formats? Some sample questions:
    • If I am comparing specially formatted files (e.g. two MS Word files) as text, can I copy lines of text from one side to the other?
    • If I can do that, what happens to the formatting that had been applied to the source text? I.e., does the formatting transfer over to the other side?
    • For special format files like MS Word, can I edit any lines of text?
    • As a further related question, can I do full screen editing of text when comparing files like MS Word?
    • Could somebody provide a table or a simple statement that indicates to what extent these editing and line copying capabilities extend to other special file formats like these:
      • PowerPoint files
      • PDF files
      • MS Write documents
      • Documents created in WordPad?
      • OpenOffice documents?
    • I now realize that I can compare the contents of two WinZip files, and see a session view that treats each WinZip file as a folder. (This may have been present in BC2, but if so, I never realized it.) When comparing two WinZip files in this way, can I do the sorts of stuff that I do when modifying actual file folders? I.e., can I:
      • Copy files from one side to the other and save the changed WinZip?
      • Use BC3's file comparison, line copying, and editing features to update files on one side, and save the changed WinZip?
      • Can I apply to specially formatted files (e.g. MS Word documents) the same sorts of capabilities I have asked about above, when these files are inside WinZip files?
    I am already an enthusiastic user and evangelist for WinZip, and have given several presentations about it at the Capital PC Users Group. It looks like there are some awesome new capabilities that have been added to BC3, but I'd like to be clear on them so I can use them without risking my files in the process, AND so I can tell others about them.

    In particular, I also recommend Beyond Compare to the users of my HIDmaker and TCPmaker software development products, and am about to write a visual tutorial for my new web site (not up yet) in the very friendly ScreenBooks format. So again, it would be highly useful if I knew how far these new capabilities go, so I can advise people correctly in my tutorial.

    As a general comment, it would be helpful if answers to these questions were included in the BC3 help file and on the Beyond Compare web site.

  • #2
    You can do anything in a zip that you can do with a regular folder, so editing files, copying files, deleting files, etc, all work.

    None of the binary document formats (Word, PDF, etc) support any sort of editing.
    Zoë P Scooter Software


    • #3
      OK, fair enough!

      First of all, thanks for replying on a Saturday of a 3-day holiday weekend!
      I guess I'm not the only one with his nose to the grindstone today.

      Frankly, I'd have been really surprised if BC3 could do edits inside of Word and PowerPoint and PDF files, but I thought I'd better ask...

      Still, the ability to do that stuff inside a WinZip file is news to me, and very helpful!

      Now if I could only get you guys to make 3-way merging clearer...


      • #4
        A 3-way merge is most often thought of in the context of version control software. Two developers are working on separate changes against the same code base. Both developers have a common source module checked out. One checks in changes, and the second later checks in a different set of changes. A 3-way merge will use a common ancestor (a version of the source module prior to either change being checked in) to compare with each checked in version to determine what modification each user made. It then uses this information to apply both sets of changes to a new merged version. If both developers made changes to the same line of code, then a conflict occurs, often requiring manual intervention to resolve the conflict. BC3 can perform 3-Way merges and can open the merge in the user interface when a conflict occurs.
        BC v4.0.7 build 19761


        • #5
          What's the confusion with 3-way merge? I find Beyond Compare's presentation of a 3-way merge to be the easiest to understand of any merge tool I've used.


          • #6
            Perhaps DrBob simply has never had need of a 3-way merge and is not familiar with the concept...hense my attempt at a high-level description. Perhaps I should have just pointed him to:

            BC v4.0.7 build 19761


            • #7
              Yeah, I'm sure that's true. I just don't work the same way you guys do, that's all.

              You see, I work alone. I do use CVS for source code version control, but I never have a conflict because I am the only developer.

              As a result, I do not do 3-way merges regularly. I will have some occasional use for this, and I just need to try it on some test files to make sure that I don't mess up a real set of files.

              It's just a matter of being inexperienced with the process, that's all.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Michael Bulgrien View Post
                Perhaps DrBob simply has never had need of a 3-way merge and is not familiar with the concept...hense my attempt at a high-level description. Perhaps I should have just pointed him to:

                Hi, Michael Bulgien -

                Thanks for the Wikipedia link. I was typing my reply about being inexperianced at 3-way merges at the same time you were sending your link!