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Monday, January 18, 2010

ExamDiff Pro 5.0 Beta!

We are pleased to announce that we've just released a beta of ExamDiff Pro 5.0!

The most important features that we added to the beta are a Line Inspector panel for easy recognition of differences within lines in file comparison and synchronization buttons in directory comparison. Both of these features greatly improve ExamDiff Pro's merging functionality by making it easier than ever to reconcile specific differences. More new features in 5.0 that can help users find and reconcile differences include Hide and Hide All But These commands in directory comparison, a Copy Line to Other File context menu command in file comparison, and a Split Block command in file comparison that breaks apart a single Changed diff block into an Added block and a Deleted block.

ExamDiff Pro 5.0 Beta adds plenty of other features and improvements as well. Sorting in directory comparison can now combine results from both panes, resulting in a more logical pattern. A new Use Comparison Filters command can enable or disable the use of all filters in the Options | Dir Comparison | Filters panel with a single click. A new option causes the drop-down boxes in the Compare dialog to only show second items that have already been compared to the first item. Unicode files without BOMs can now be detected automatically, and plug-ins can now be matched by wildcard and not just extensions. You can find more details about the 5.0 beta, including an even larger list of new features, and a download link, here.

Over the course of the next few months I will be posting more articles on how to use the new features in this beta.

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

ExamDiff Pro 4.5 Beta!

We are pleased to announce that we've just released a beta of ExamDiff Pro 4.5!

The most important features that we added to the beta are fuzzy line matching and the ability to recognize moved blocks, both of which I have described in previous blog entries. ExamDiff Pro 4.5 Beta also introduces a revamped diff bar interface, and a number of improvements for file editing, including line modification marks, improved block operations, resolved block recognition, and smarter Undo/Redo.

ExamDiff Pro 4.5 Beta also adds a number of smaller features. File encoding (ASCII, UTF-8, UTF-16LE or UTF-16BE) can now be specified for opening or saving files. Linebreaks are now highlighted when they are different, and word wrap can now fit to window. Finally, ExamDiff Pro 4.5 Beta introduces many usability improvements: daylight savings time differences can be ignored, items can be quickly deleted from drop-down lists, and status bars for files now display file size and number of lines.

You can find more details about the 4.5 beta, and a download link, here.

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Saturday, January 05, 2008

FtpVC 2.5 Beta!

We are excited to announce that we have just released a beta of FtpVC 2.5! In addition to a cosmetic makeover, this beta features improved Find Checkouts and Find By Status behavior, the option to minimize FtpVC to the system tray, and complete Windows Vista Support.

You can find more details about the 2.5 beta, and a download link, here.

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

ExamDiff Pro 4.0 Beta!

At last, we have released a beta of ExamDiff Pro 4.0!

We were originally going to title this release ExamDiff Pro 3.6, but due to the numerous features that we added and the overhaul of the default toolbars, we decided to release it as ExamDiff Pro 4.0.

The key features in this release involve filters, which now have an Options panel of their own. In addition to the addition of size and date filters, which I explained in a previous post, the capability of name filters has been greatly increased. Name filters can now be organized into filter sets and edited in a graphical dialog. ExamDiff Pro 4.0 also comes with 10 preinstalled include filters and 4 preinstalled exclude filters, for everything from C++ to Delphi to XML development.

Other features in this this release include an option to perform quick full comparison of selected files in directory comparison without performing a full recompare of all files, improved default toolbars, a "Compare To..." option in the Shell extension, and many more features. Expect more posts soon in which I describe the numerous improvements that the beta of ExamDiff Pro 4.0 offers over version 3.5.

You can find more details about the 4.0 beta, and a download link, here.

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Friday, March 02, 2007

HTML Diff Report Navigation

The final new feature to make it to the ExamDiff Pro 3.5 beta (we plan to have the full 3.5 release ready within a month) is difference navigation in HTML diff reports. In this blog entry I will describe how this feature works. (You can view a sample diff report here.)

Difference navigation requires Javascript, so first make sure that you have the Use Javascript option checked in View | Options | HTML. Now, go to Files (or Directories) | Report | View HTML Diff Report. (If you wish to save the resulting diff report, use Files (or Directories) | Report | Save HTML Diff Report instead.) A browser window should open, and you should see something like this:

Note that at the bottom right corner, there are four buttons and a diff combobox, that you can use to navigate through the differences: The << button takes you to the first difference, < to the previous difference, > to the next difference, and >> to the last difference. Alternatively, you can jump to any difference by selecting its diff number in the combobox.

Early on in the development of this feature, we used images instead of buttons, images similar to toolbar buttons found in ExamDiff Pro - we felt this gave the diff report a more "authentic" feel. However, one of our guiding principles in making diff reports is that they should be accessible for anyone to use, whether or not they have a copy of ExamDiff Pro. We could find no good solution for where to keep the images: leaving them available as a free download on our website still made sharing diff reports a bit awkward, and using Javascript to embed images directly into the file proved incompatible with many browsers. Finally, we decided to simply use HTML buttons instead of images. We felt that this is the best solution, because this way, HTML diff reports are compatible with all major browsers, and can be shared with anyone, with no additional download required.

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Balloon Messages for Plug-ins in ExamDiff Pro 3.5 Beta

The latest addition to the ExamDIff Pro 3.5 beta is a feature that we've wanted to implement for a long time now: balloon messages that display whether or not plug-ins are successful.

If plug-ins execute successfully, you get a balloon message similar to the one below. If you click on the balloon, or double-click on the Plug-in status bar area, the Options | Plug-ins dialog will pop up, displaying all of the current plug-ins.

On the other hand, if plug-ins return errors or warnings, you get a slightly different balloon message, like the one below, and the Plug-in status bar area turns pink. If you click on the balloon, or double-click on the pink Plug-in status bar area, the errors or warnings, which ExamDiff Pro obtains through the standard error output of the plug-in (stderr), will be displayed in an external editor.

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

Session Files in ExamDiff Pro 3.5 Beta

The latest feature that we've added to the ExamDiff Pro 3.5 Beta is session files. You can now export ExamDiff Pro sessions - options and the last file/directory pair compared - into a standalone file. This offers many benefits:
  • You can share your sessions with your colleagues so that everyone working on the comparison project has the same options.
  • You can save comparisons for later viewing.
  • If you have many sessions but do not need to use all of them at the same time, you can save them to session files to organize them.

As you can see in the screenshot above, you can load and save session files from the Compare dialog, as explained here. In addition, you can load and save session files from the Files or Directories menu, as shown below. As you can see, ExamDiff Pro also stores recent session files and auto sessions (sessions within ExamDiff Pro) for quick re-use.

The screenshot below shows what ExamDiff Pro session files look like in Windows Explorer. When you open a session file by double-clicking on it, ExamDiff Pro automatically starts the comparison that was stored in the file, importing the session file's options into a new auto session.

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

New plug-in features in ExamDiff Pro 3.5 Beta

In our latest beta release of ExamDiff Pro 3.5, the biggest change is the addition of many new features concerning plug-ins. In this blog post, I will go over four new plug-in features.

The biggest, and most noticeable, of these is the option to install 10 plug-ins automatically. When you install ExamDiff Pro, at one point you will come to a message box asking your permission to install plug-ins, as shown below; if you say yes, ten of the most important plug-ins available (see our list of ExamDiff Pro plugins) will automatically be downloaded and installed. Neat!

Note: All of the plug-ins that are installed with ExamDiff Pro are free to use, and some are open-source; we provide the source code for those plug-ins whose license (most notably, GPL) requires it.

Two more improvements are the ability to compare archives (i.e. ZIP files) with directories, and the ability to specify default remote file and directory plug-ins (these are set by default if you choose to automatically install plug-ins). Now, whenever ExamDiff Pro sees that you are trying to compare a remote (i.e. HTTP or FTP) file or directory, it will automatically use the appropriate default remote plug-in. The Compare dialog screenshot below shows both of these features in action.

Last, but not least, you are now given the option to cancel a plug-in in operation: the following dialog is displayed whenever a plug-in takes longer than a second to complete its task. Clicking Cancel will stop the plug-in immediately and attempt to compare the files or directories without plug-ins. This comes in handy when a plug-in takes a long time, and you decide to stop comparison.

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Sunday, November 12, 2006

ExamDiff Pro 3.5 Beta!

At last, we have released a beta of ExamDiff Pro 3.5! This beta contains all the features that I have discussed in this blog, such as Autopick, extensive drag and drop, and, most importantly, manual synchronization links.

You can find more details about the 3.5 beta, and a download link, here.

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