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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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