ExamDiff Pro provides an ability to preprocess files prior to comparison via the use of plug-ins. Any console application that converts files can be used as an ExamDiff Pro plug-in. A list of ExamDiff Pro-compatible plug-ins, along with setup instructions and download links (where applicable), can be found here.
Plug-ins can be executed in three different ways:
- If a plug-in is enabled for a certain name filter, it will be used to preprocess files matching that filter prior to comparison. If '*' is given as a plug-in's name filter, all files will be pre-processed by it. If more that one plug-in is enabled for a particular file, all of them will be executed one-by-one in top-down order.
- Plug-ins can also be explicitly specified, either in File Open dialog invoked from the Compare dialog, or inline in file/directory names (see Compare New Pair of Files/Directories for more information). If <inline> is set as a plug-in's extension or if no extension is set, the plug-in can only be used explicitly. A plug-in does not have to be enabled to be used explicitly.
- If a file or directory is in the form of a URL (such as http://www.serve.com/file.asp, ftp://ftp.server.com/test.txt or ftp://user:email@example.com:21/dir), the default remote file or directory comparison plug-in, respectively, will automatically used. These plug-ins are defined by setting their extension to <default-remote-file> or <default-remote-directory>, respectively. A plug-in has to be enabled to be used in this manner. There can only be one remote file and only one remote directory plug-in, and an error message will be given if you try to set more than one of either.
Plug-ins can also convert files to directories, in which case directory comparison will be eventually used instead of file comparison. One possible use is decompressing archive files so that they can be compared as directories. When a plug-in like this is used, you can compare the files in either the File or the Directory pane of the Compare dialog, and can you even choose to compare a file against a directory - no matter what pane you use, directory comparison will be used.
To view all plug-ins that you have installed, go to Plug-in Options (View | Options | Plug-ins) . To add a new plug-in, click on New.... Also, when you install ExamDiff Pro, you can choose to automatically install common plug-ins that are shipped with ExamDiff Pro.