TesterHQ - The Evil Tester Blog Aggregator

Sep 27, 2013 - 2 minute read - Evil Tester Tools

WinMerge Revisited - my default file and directory comparison tool

Original Blog Posting on [blog.eviltester.com]

I seem to default to WinMerge for my file and directory comparisons.

Whenever I need to:

  • compare two directories
  • compare two files for differences
  • copy a set of files between directories
  • compare contents of zip files or rar files

When you install WinMerge:

  • You can choose to use it as the merge view in Tortoise SVN. I tend not to do this because the built in Tortoise SVN diff works fine for me.
  • Add WinMerge to your system path, which allows you to call it from the command line easily and use the command line options. I choose this option.
  • Enable explorer context menu integration - an essential option.

Read the online documentation, or the help file.

When you install. Have a quick flick through the quick tour to get you up to speed quickly.

If you download the .zip file then you essentially have a portable install so can use it from a USB stick.

A few things I especially like:

  • You can drag and drop like a crazy man
    • drag and drop folders on to the desktop icon for comparison
    • drag and drop on to the main pane to start a compare
    • drag and drop into the input fields
  • If you install 7-zip and the7-zip plugin¬†you can compare rar and zip files
    • 7-zip acts as my default archive management tool

A few things to note:

  • The tree mode makes life excellent, just make sure you enable it
  • Look through the options and switch on all the “Shell Integration” options - particularly the “Include subfolders by default”

Why would I use this?

  • I create a backup folder before testing. I test. I can compare and see what changed.
  • I want to revert back to previous files selectively, so I compare dirs and selectively move changed files
  • I have an oracle file and want to compare results

What do you use for your comparison tools? In built version control tools? Commercial tools? Leave a comment if you want to share your secret weapon of choice.