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Unwanted Spontaneous "Comparing"

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  • Unwanted Spontaneous "Comparing"

    ( Also applies to other compare situations, not only for text : )

    Could you please do a setting / toggle for two states within text comparing :

    1 ) As it is : If you do "Open File on File System" (for new content in one of two panes), BC starts to do the comparison immediately after you'll have selected the new file. Of course, this behaviour makes a lot of sense whenever you do several comparisons of files b, c, d... to a file a and should thus be preserved for such tasks.

    2 ) By addition to 1), this alternative behaviour : If you do that "Open File on File System" command, BC does NOT start to do the comparison on its own, but :

    a ) only on request perhaps (while indicating the current non-comparison state by coloring the background of the panes in some special light color, perhaps in beige or something), or

    b ) (would be best, but again the special coloring in the meantime would be a good thing) only when the user will have loaded the second file to compare, to the other pane.

    Why this ? Because my comparison needs, for most of the time, are not 1), i.e. comparing a bunch of files to a "fixed" file, one after another, but to compare 2 files, and when they are ok, another 2 files, then another 2, and so on, and it seems to be given that for many a user, it's the same task (while for some users, 1) is the normal task day in, day out, hence the addition of 2) instead of me wishing to replace 1) by 2)).

    So, in task 2), as it is today, BC always and immediately starts to "compare" the first of the two new files to the remaining one of the two old files, whilst you don't want BC to do anything within those 20 seconds you'll need to do the second "Open File" command in order for BC to compare your two NEW files (only).

    This false and totally unwanted "comparing" intrigues me to a point I even started to trial Araxis Merge, i.e. at each new comparison, I'm disturbed in my workflow by BC's unwanted starting a "comparison" that's devoid of any sense - and even, on my slow computer, gets in the way of me being able to load the second one of my two new files quickly, since it way of blocks the processor, be it even for "just" 1 or 2 seconds.

    Since many users use BC in that 2) way, not in the 1) way, be it for text or folder or whatever comparison, such a setting / toggle "Start new comparison spontaneously after even only 1 new file loaded" vs. "Start comparison only after loading of 2 new files" would certainly be most welcome by 90 p.c. of users.

  • #2

    Once two files are loaded in the compare, we do trigger the comparison right away. There are a couple of other methods of opening files that would not trigger this immediately:

    1) Drag and Drop both files at the same time. If you drag and drop two files onto an existing text compare, it will open both at the same time and compare them.

    2) Typing into the file path. If you type the file paths into the text box, the comparison does not trigger until you hit enter. This way you can type one path, then tab over to the other and hit enter. The paths auto-complete as you type.

    3) Use a new tab. If you hit Ctrl+T and then click Text Compare (or Alt+S, Enter, T, Enter), it will bring you to a new tab where you can use the Browse button on one side then the other. Loading a new tab should be near instantaneous.
    Aaron P Scooter Software


    • #3
      Hello Aaron,

      Thank you for your answer; I'm rather unhappy with it:

      1. I almost never drag n drop, so doing that for 2 different files... Wouldn't do it.

      3. New tab. Thought that might be acceptable to me, but it isn't: It clutters the screen with unwanted tabs (20 comparisons, 20 tabs, etc.), and which is more, it forces you to deal with the selection page for what you want to do now, when in fact you just want to do 20 or more similar comparisons in a row and with the least interference possible.

      2. Typing in the file path; that works but badly:

      - Autocompletion is not that smart since there will NO file be opened if you type in the name but not the suffix, even when in that folder no other file of that name is present, with another suffix, or even when NO other suffix is present in that folder, with whatever name.

      - I need files with the same suffix - .rtf - and within the same folder - c:\rtf\ -, and if it was possible to enter something like "abc.rtf", that would do, but BC does NOT presume you want to open a file from the same folder then you had used recently, but it does nothing then, just as it does nothing when you don't enter the suffix. Which is to say, BC needs the full path for opening a file, and to enter the full path, each time... well, no, please! Is there a way to set a default path / folder, to spare manual entering the "path" of the file name?

      - Of course, in this scenario of all new files being in the same path and having the same suffix, you could edit just the file name which is already entered in the field, by your previous comparison, but that implies working with the arrow key, the delete / backspace keys, and then only can you replace the old file name by the new one. Of course, if the core file name, without the path part and the suffix part, was highlighted so that simple entering the new name would erase and replace the previous file name...

      4. Back to my proposal to do a preset: Would that be too much programming effort? As it is, on a new session, BC even starts a comparison against NOTHING, when the second pane is empty yet! (That looks so un-professional, for such a fine program!)


      • #4

        BC3 only starts 'comparing' once both sides are loaded. It will 'load' one side if just one side is loaded. I could understand the issue when you had two old locations, wanted to replace both, and replaced just one (which triggers the comparison), and then tried to replace the other. This can cause unnecessary cycles in some cases.

        But BC3 shouldn't be performing anything intensive when blank and just loading one side (and the second pane is empty). It will just load the first loaded pane.
        Aaron P Scooter Software


        • #5
          I'm afraid I'm positive about my assertion, the first filled-up pane immediately starts with "comparing" to the second, blank and empty pane where nothing's loaded, not new, not old.

          Why not take my suggestion and make a technically very fine program less annoying? Couldn't any of my observations (in point 3, and 4 = the original one) be realized?


          • #6

            BC3 is designed to begin comparing as soon as two items are loaded in both panes. It is unlikely we would change this in a minor version of BC3, but we'll discuss some of your ideas around the office.

            If you are seeing a large performance hit when loading a single pane (and nothing has been loaded on the other side), how large are the files you are opening? Again, loading a single side will load/show the file, but we aren't running any comparison algorithms and it should not take longer than loading it in a normal text editor (like notepad or editpad pro).
            Aaron P Scooter Software


            • #7
              Hello Aaron,

              I see the "comparing to nothing" by goings-on within the vertical strip an the left, I'm speaking about it because I think BC should be "neat" and "clean" in its apperance, not because of excessive loading times, and you're right, even with rtf files in the 50 to 100 mb range, loading times are NOT a problem.

              When there is an unwanted file in the second pane left, the unwanted comparing of the newly loaded file (in pane 1) to that old one (in pane 2, or vice versa of course) can take some seconds (only, even for big files), and can hold back your loading efforts for some seconds, but here again, we're speaking of just SOME seconds, below 5 sec, so it's the "un-neat" aspect of all this that bothers me that much, not "real, big problems". ;-)

              As I indicated some solutions to the above-mentioned ways to open files, I'm glad you're willing to consider one or several for development. Anything that improves the professional LOOK of a program, and renders daily use of it more smooth, is very helpful in the marketplace.

              Again, Araxis Merge (= considering taxes, 6 times the price of BC) is much more professionally LOOKING only for me, whilst it does nothing in any better way as I'm concerned.

              At this time, doing a lot of NEW 2-way compares is perfectly possible with BC, and is perfectly well done by it, but it's not smooth, it's fiddling, etc., as explained above.

              It's even very injust a situation if you want: Whilst bugs normally are not discovered on first try and hence do not withheld people from buying a program - all those severe exporting bugs in Ultra Recall I didn't discover but by leaving that program (and hence checking the results with BC, by fear of my own handling these things, originally not by fear of UR mixing up things!), whilst they might have affected, unknown by me, a lot of other exports from that program in the meanwhile, thereby crippling the results of my work -, on the other hand these GUI quirks in BC (whilst BC WORKS without fault!) are immediately shown on first try and make it appear less powerful and professional than it really is! ;-)


              • #8

                For the time being, for any new comparison, I've adopted the version 2 = editing the file path (then tab, then the one of pane 2). My main problem is, I cannot directly access the file path of pane 1, but by mouse click there. It's also possible to do it with the tab key, but that will first get you to the button "Sessions", so you'll have to press it 2 times in order to get to the file path of pane 1. I looked into the "Customize Commands" command, but in that very long list, there seems to be NO command allowing for accessing that file path.

                Is there such a command, or could you consider implementing such a command?

                As for further means (see above), I think accessing the file path of a pane = selecting its content, should come with the highlighting = selecting NOT of the whole path, but just the "file name" path of it, i.e. the file name without path and without suffix: That way, editing multiple, rather similar files there would become more easy: One key to access pane 1, where just abc is highligthed, you just type xyy instead, then a tab, the same procedure in pane 2, then Enter, and you're done. It seems evident that this is an elegant and smooth way to do it.


                • #9

                  Thanks for the suggestion. I don't believe we will be changing this behavior in BC3. Where is your cursor at the time you press tab? You can press Shift+Tab to tab one step backwards, which will bring you to the current file path of the pane you are in (assuming you have disabled Full Edit mode and are running in the BC2-like view mode).

                  Selecting the full path is also intentional behavior. A couple tips here could be to double click the file name (which selects it) if you were using a mouse. Or you can hit End or Right Arrow, then Ctrl+Shift+Left to quickly select the filename that way.

                  How do these tips work for you?
                  Aaron P Scooter Software


                  • #10
                    Hello Aaron,

                    That last hint supposes another macro, but indeed works not badly.

                    In general, I must say that the "spontaneous comparing" is the sole thing that bothers me endlessly with and in BC; a toggle would be a real relief. My current asking for pane identification is partly due to this spontaneous comparing here, since I don't want just avoid switching back and forth, and break up my macros, but also, such a necessary switching in order to check visually for the given focus pane would also bring this spontaneous comparing to my vision, and really hate this, "comparing" to a file I don't want my text to compare with, but which is only "left there", not being replaced yet, etc.

                    All the advantages of BC make me "bear" that behavior, but it's difficult.

                    So, "sending" texts to be compared, to BC (= in fact, into a clipboard manager), but in the background, and switching to BC only when both texts are to be inserted there immediately, doesn't avoid that "visual clutter" problem (= "comparing" a text to another one it's not meant to be compared to), but at least minimizes it.

                    Please have such a toggle (= for me it's "NO", but other users might like that feature, hence the interest of a toggle / of an option) in the next major release at least, I would be happy to pay for the update.


                    • #11

                      I believe we've started talking about this in greater detail in one of the other threads you started recently. The summary of the suggestion there was to generate temp files in the %temp% directory and launch a file comparison from there. We can continue discussion in that thread if you'd like.
                      Aaron P Scooter Software