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Enhanced Text Compare Support in BC

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  • Enhanced Text Compare Support in BC

    Hi, I noticed the other day that when we're doing file comparisons in the built-in TFS diff tool (diffmerge.exe), we get clear indication (via color coding) of which text was inserted, which text was modified, and which text was deleted. In BC, on the other hand, we only have important difference vs. unimportant difference.

    Is there any way we can get the same enhanced support in BC as well?

    For reference, we're using TFS 2010 and VS 2010 with BC 3 configured as a diff tool in VS 2010.

  • #2

    Thanks for the suggestion. If you go to the Session menu -> Text Compare Report, and select the Interleaved report. Do the Strikeout left/right difference options (Depending on if the left or right is the "older" file) display the information you are looking for?
    Aaron P Scooter Software


    • #3
      No, actually by doing that all I get is a report which does highlight deleted text by striking it out. I need the functionality in BC itself while doing comparisons so that I can modify text on either side as needed.

      The same thing can be achieved already via BC in the form of important vs. unimportant differences (and its left/right orphans). It's just that it would be awesome if it could somehow distinguish b/w deleted, inserted, and changed text.


      • #4

        One of our developers has pointed out the Align Details bar that you can add to the bottom of the display. This would show you a character by character alignment of the text in each line. Does that help with your current comparison?

        You can also enable the use of Merge colors in the Text compare in the Tools menu -> Options, Files Views -> Compare Colors, enable "Use merge colors for compares." to get sided coloring.
        Aaron P Scooter Software


        • #5
          Yes, the "Use merge colors for compares" option works for me. Thanks for the tip. I also want to try out the Align Details bar. Can you please tell me where do I enable it?


          • #6
            It is in the Text Compare, in the View menu. You can also right click in the details bar at the bottom (normally showing Line Details) and switch to Aligned Details or Hex Details. You will need to be running the latest version of BC3 (3.2.4) or the 3.3.0 beta. All BC3.x updates are free for 3.x users.
            Beyond Compare is a multi-platform utility that combines directory compare and file compare functions in one package. Use it to manage source code, keep directories in sync, compare program output, etc.
            Aaron P Scooter Software


            • #7
              Got it. That is pretty much exactly what I was looking for. Thanks a ton for the help.


              • #8
                I used the "Use merge colors for compares" feature with BC3 and it worked fine.
                Now I have BC4, and I can't find this feature anywhere!
                Without it, BC4 is a big step backward.
                Can I access this feature in BC4?


                • #9

                  To turn on BC4's equivalent to BC3's "Use merge colors for compares" setting:

                  Open "Tools > Options".
                  Go to the "Tweaks" section.
                  Scroll down to "Editor Display".
                  Check "Use orphan color".
                  Chris K Scooter Software


                  • #10
                    Thanks very much, Chris!
                    This is an improvement, and it really helps.

                    However, BC3 allowed the use of different colors for "left-only" and "right-only" changes.
                    I could color "left-only" changes red (deleted) and "right-only" changes green (inserted).
                    This was really nice.

                    The "orphan color" idea is fine, but it only allows one color for both cases.

                    Still, it is an improvement over not using it. Thanks!



                    • #11
                      We appreciate the feedback. We wanted to decouple the Text Compare's Orphan color from the Text Merge color settings, to allow users to customize different colors for each, but also didn't want to create too many extra options so it was trimmed down to a single "Orphan" concept, similar to the Folder Compare and other Compare types. If there are any specific workflows, screenshots, or feedback you or other customers would like to leave, please feel free and we can consider expanding it.
                      Aaron P Scooter Software