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Clipboard, Left Pane, Right Pane

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  • Clipboard, Left Pane, Right Pane

    There is a command "Open clipboard" which inserts the current clipboard content into the currently active pane. This way, you must first identify that currently active pane, or select it. So, this cannot be automated by scripts from "outside" BC since such a script would not know which pane is active. So, in reality, I manually switch forth and back, do a lot of mouse clickings... it drives me nuts.

    What would be needed are commands to select a given pane, not only the current "switch focus command": There is "F6" that toggles between two panes if you don't show but two panes, but it's not evident which pane will have focus after triggering the command, except by visual checking of the user himself, and things get worse when you have more than two panes open, e.g. the compare pane at the bottom of the screen.

    So I understand that you cannot introduce such commands for every single combination, i.e. 3-way comparison (but then, you could indeed, see below), but at least for normal 2-way comparison, it's just TWO NEW commands that would be needed: "Focus: left pane", and "Focus: right pane" (and why not, a third command, "Focus: middle pane", for people who do 3-way comparisons). Then, a macro could trigger "Focus: left pane" (independently if focus is there already or not, thus no visual checking needed), then, "Open clipboard", and the same with the right pane also.

    This would enable users to build 2 rather similar macros, anywhere where they are working, that would copy text, switch to BC, paste that text into an identified (!) pane there, and switch back to their "normal" application. Thus, it would enable them to choose a text and "send" it to BC in order to get compared, then (with the second macro), choose another such text, and perhaps (with that second macro), stay there, in order to do the real visual compare then.

    As it is, with not knowing which pane is the focus pane in BC, it's extremely difficult to do so, and many a times, I simply don't know which BC pane in the end contains which text I imported there, which is desastrous if in the end, in your original program, you discard the "right" text and preserve the wrong one.

    Of course, I would like to have additional commands in BC, "Open clipboard to left pane" and "Open clipboard to right pane" - perhaps you could introduce such additional commands also, but with the above-mentioned commands, it would be possible to first identify the wanted pane, THEN to paste the clipboard content into it: it would make me two steps instead of just one, but it would be working in a secure environment, which, at this time is not possible, and I so often end up with chaos, or even when not, I'm not sure if the pane that is presumed to contain a certain content really contents that content, or if I have mixed them up again: This is terrible.

    Thus, is is possible to have at the very least "focus: left/right pane" = 2 additional commands, and perhaps more of them? My workflow would be tenfold better than it is now!

    As it is now, I even avoid doing compares that ain't absolutely necessary, because it's such a fuss! Are there other possibilities that I don't see now? I even tried to identify the "basic control info" but the names are identical, it's just the "instances" that differ, and it's not that instance 1 is left, instance 2 is right, instance 3 is left again, instance 4 being right again, but it's aleatoric or I don't know: It's simply terrible - and then, most macro programs would not even be able to identify / put focus to given controls; similarly, identification of the caption content or the status line content will not help here, and as before, most macro programs ain't able to identify those.

    So, such commands (at least 2) are really very much needed!

  • #2

    The initial focus is controlled. If you are launching a new/blank Text Compare, it will always be in the left file path. You can always trigger an Open Clipboard command from here, or you can macro a solution that hits F6 once to go to the right side body. Is there a scenario where this macro is not working for you?

    Another alternative would be to macro or script a solution that creates a temporary file of your clipboard contents (outside of BC3), and then calls BC3 to compare the two temp files.
    Aaron P Scooter Software


    • #3
      Hello Aaron,

      Thank you very much for your hints. My problem is, I don't want to multiply new compares in BC's history, and clutter BC, all these comparisons should be done within the same 2-pane environment. Whenever I do such compares, I manually switch, here and then, from left to right pane and back, and don't want to bear in mind that before switching back to my main program, I absolutely MUST switch back to pane 1, or visually control if pane 1 has focus; it would be only then that I then would be certain, in my main program, that my macro "sending" a new thing would send it into pane 1.

      The same would apply when I like to compare a third text to the first one (instead of text 2): Currently, it's only by manually checking which BC's panes has focus first, that I can be sure, by macro or manually, that I won't overwrite text 1 but text 2.

      So I have always bear in mind to check first, visually, and this means, switching back and forth from my main program to BC, not only for comparing, but also for just preparing a compare, which is awful - as said, I avoid comparing for that reason whenever possible, and often that's not in my interest: Comparing must be QUICK in order to be really helpful. I mean, it should be possible to do a very quick command (macro), just looking for "all is ok" even when you are quite sure that all is ok - if every time it's so much fuss, when in doubt, you avoid checking, and that's not good.

      Your second hint isn't better for me either since even if I want to compare two new texts, instead of comparing a third text to the first one (and even if I use a clipboard manager in order to avoid switching back and forth), I then cannot control into which of the two panes, 1 or 2, my macro will then put the two texts: It will be aleatoric, depending on the current focus pane.

      So, even then, I must do three macros: First, for putting the first text into the clipboard. Second, for putting the second text into the clipboard, and for going to BC. Then, instead of having the second macro put both texts into pane 1 and pane 2, in order to start visual comparing, I must first visually check if focus is in pane 1, and if not, I have to switch manually; then only, I can start macro 3 that finally puts both texts into the panes.

      So whatever I try, it all reverts to the same problem: If I don't want to multiply panes sets, in my memory, on my screen (and then, those will clutter BC, even when reopened ("auto-saved sessions" and all that), etc.) I don't have any possibility to identify which pane is "active" / has focus, except for visual checking with my eyes, which means that instead of having "complete" macros for preparing comparisons, I must cut my macros up into pieces and must check with my eyes before I can proceed further, and this also means I have to do unnecessary switches forth and back, BEFORE any comparison will take place, just for checking.

      As said, this is really awful.

      Hence my question: Are there technical problems that prevent such commands in BC, i.e. is it difficulat for BC itself to check which focus has pane at a given moment? In fact, a command "Focus: pane 1" would not even have to check which pane has focus but would only need to make pane 1 the focus pane (if it has already focus or not being irrelevant) - so, is it difficult for BC to SET focus to one of these panes? Since my "AutoIt Window Checker" or what-it's-called wasn't able to distinguish these panes, the "control" being the same, but just the number being different, perhaps such a command that would apply to a given pane (but not the other) would be difficult to implement).

      I don't know if it's really aleatoric: When I open a new session for text compare, the field "enter path here" of pane TWO gets the number 1 (!), the same field of pane 1 gets the number 2, the text field of pane 2 gets number 3 (!), and the same field of pane 1 gets number 4, so it's kind of "mixed up", but if these number assignments remain stable, I could try to do a macro that would identify the number of some of these fields of the pane having focus, and if the field has number 2, current focus pane will be pane 1; if not, the macro would change focus to pane 1 first, before putting text 1 into the pane.

      I didn't try yet but this seems perhaps possible - or not, since identity numbers of controls normally are quite different from these "1, 2, 3, 4" of BC here, so I fear they couldn't be identified, the names being identical.

      But anyway, could such commands not be implememted into BC?

      In the past, I got aware that this forum is almost exclusively between the developers and users asking for help, but even so, it presents the big advantage that questions answered are available to other users which would not be the case by exchange of mails.

      But given that it is as described, the absence of other users' backing my request "means nothing" if I dare say, and I am CERTAIN that many users would be very thankful for having such commands as I am asking for. My problems with this ain't nothing so "exotic" as perhaps were some other problems I mentioned in the past, but are common to anybody using BC on a daily basis. The more you use (or want to use) BC, the more the current need of visual checking "which pane has focus" becomes a pain in your workflow (= rare use: ok, check visually, it's not practical but acceptable; frequent use: must be quick and reliable, so the need for visual check before you can do anything else is a real pain).

      Is there a chance for such commands? (I'm almost sure my script program won't identify the focus pane...)


      • #4
        I don't believe there is a technical limitation, but all of our projects have assigned priority. As a small company, we have limited resources and our developers are currently working on a few other large projects. I can add this to our Customer Wishlist, it is not likely we would be able to tackle this soon, so I would recommend using the macro solution to create temp files. If you are trying to avoid Auto-saved sessions, but don't want to disable auto-saved sessions, you could create a Portable Install specifically for these types of comparisons, so that installation would then have it's auto-saved list filled with these sessions.
        Aaron P Scooter Software


        • #5
          Also, if you make the temp files in the Windows %temp% directory, we won't auto-save the session in the sessions list.
          Aaron P Scooter Software