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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Email HTML Diff Report

Diff reports are useful for collaboration, and ExamDiff Pro 5.0 will make sharing diff reports easier than ever with an Email HTML Diff Report command.

To e-mail a diff report, you can simply click on Files | Report | Email HTML Diff Report. ExamDiff Pro will create an HTML diff report for the current comparison, compress it in a ZIP file, and attach it to a new email message in your default mail client:

For example, this is what you'll see if you're using Thunderbird as your default email client. I only had to add the recipient email and my signature - the rest was filled in by ExamDiff Pro.

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Match Plugins by Wildcard

ExamDiff Pro 5.0 will feature a more sophisticated way to match plug-ins: rather than being matched to files based on extensions, plug-ins will now be matched against filenames with wildcards. All existing plug-ins will be automatically converted: for instance, the PDF to TXT plug-in will have its Extension parameter of "pdf" converted to a Name Filter parameter of "*.pdf" upon installation of ExamDiff Pro 5.0.

This feature can be useful in many contexts, especially when working with text-based plug-ins such as Sort. For example, suppose that you're test several different programs that produce an output (in this case, the prime numbers between 100 and 300) in a different order, and you wish to ensure that their output is identical.

Here are two of the output files compared to each other:

You could manually sort both files by right-clicking within the diff panes and selecting Apply Plug-in | Sort from the context menu, but this is an unwieldy approach if there are a lot of output files that must be compared in this way. Using wildcards for plug-ins presents a cleverer solution: if all the output files are of the form "output_??.txt", where ?? is a two-digit number, you can create a name filter for the Sort plug-in like this:

Now, hit Re-Compare, and voila! The two files are automatically sorted based on their filenames.

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Samples Coming Soon to Blog Posts

We've received a suggestion from a user to make our ExamDiff Pro blog entries more interactive by including samples of files and directories that can be downloaded so that our users can test out new features themselves. I'll try to implement this as soon as possible, so that future blog posts will include file samples, directory samples, and/or sample options files illustrating new ExamDiff Pro features.

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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Improved File Change Notifications

ExamDiff Pro 5.0 will feature improved file change notifications for directory comparison: in addition to balloon messages being shown, files that have been edited will now become italicized and have their attributes updated in the comparison panes, and diff blocks will automatically change type as appropriate.

Let me illustrate this feature with some examples. To make the screenshots in this blog post easier to understand, I'm outlining files that I'm about to modify in blue and files that I've just modified in red.

To begin, I compare these two directories:

Now, I open up the file Test\1\1.edpi in an external editor, modify it, and save it. Immediately, ExamDiff Pro italicizes this file and updates its date and size, as well as showing a balloon message and underlining the directory name at the top of the pane:

Next, I modify and save Test\2\2_CRLF. Note that, in addition to the modified file being italicized and its attributes updated, the file in the right pane is now shown as being newer:

Finally, I modify and save Test\1\_test1. Likewise, the file in the left pane is now shown as being newer rather than older:

This feature can be especially useful when combined with the also-upcoming Hide feature: if you wish to monitor changes for several files in a directory, simply compare the directory to another and hide all irrelevant files. Now, seeing which files are changed is simply a matter of checking which files become italicized in the comparison pane.

One particular helpful application of this feature occurs when you are dealing with source control. Whenever you check out files in a source control system, they will be italicized in ExamDiff Pro to show, in this case, that they are no longer read-only. This is handy when you need to know which files you are able to modify with copy commands, for instance.

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