The steps of opening a folder comparison window and selecting the folders to compare are similar to the steps involved in initiating a File Comparison.
The slight differences are in the specific
menu & toolbar items as well as the shortcut key, in this case
toolbar button, the
Understanding the Comparison Results
The result of the comparison will vary wildly depending on input and settings, but in a very general sense, it would look something like this:
This screenshot illustrates the three types of differences: additions, deletions, and changes - when a block of text that exists in both side has been changed.
The following visual design elements work in unison to communicate clearly and effectively the text comparison results.
The difference colors are the same as elsewhere : for deletions, for additions, for changes, and for conflicts (three-way comparison only.)
In three-way comparison, as in two-way comparison, changes are defined in relation to the Reference content area.
The birds-eye view is a vertical color strip located on the right-hand side of a comparison window, immediately next to the scrollbar. As in the case of text comparison, the birds-eye view tells an interesting story.
Using small rectangles, known as markers, the birds-eye view renders a scaled-down visual map of all differences between the text files or folders being compared. Each marker communicates the following information about its corresponding difference:
- type - deletion, addition, change, or conflict (three-way comparison only)
- selection, if any
- the actual change. In text comparison this is the text of the lines involved, stacked one on top of each other, together with their line numbers; in folder comparison it shows the resources involved, together with the differencing information available for those resources.
For instance, the birds-eye view depicted on the image above shows 2 changes, 1 deletion, 1 addition, and 1 conflict.
It also shows the location of these changes as well as the currently selected difference.
Clicking on a birds-view marker scrolls the text editors to the location of the actual difference and selects it. With large files, containing hundreds or thousands of differences, a single marker often represents more than one difference. Clicking on such a marker scrolls the editors to the first of these differences and selects it.
Comparing Selected Files
DeltaWalker folder and file comparison integration is designed to offer both a big-picture view and a deltailed view. This empowers you to analyze folder comparison results and launch file comparisons for the files of interest—typically these are matching, but different files. It's difficult to overstate the importance of this from usability perspective—using the powerful file-system browser metaphor, you get to see both the forest and the trees. There is no need to switch windows nor to scroll tabs back and forth—it's all there, in context.
Selecting files for comparison
There are many ways you can select one of more pairs or triplets of files for comparison:
- Click on a file to select a single pair/triplet of files.
- Hold down the Cmd key while selecting files of interest.
- Use the folder comparison context sensitive menu or local
menu to select all pairs/triplets of files of a given type, i.e. all
added, deleted, or changed. Use the Invert Selection menu item to
deselect the currently selected files and select all others. Note
that only files, not folders, are selected using the
Select Xyzmenu items.
- Click on a file you want to compare and drag the mouse spanning other files you want to select and compare.
Comparing selected files
Once you've selected the files you want to open file comparisons for,
click on the
It's not uncommon, particularly when using one of the
Folder Comparison Summary
A summary of the results of a particular text comparison is available in two places:
- The folder comparison summary dialog represents the numbers of text blocks that are same, deleted, added, and differentin the modified file relative to the reference. Additionally, in three-way comparison, the comparison summary shows the number of conflicting differences.
- The three status bar comparison summary panels, four in three-way comparison, on the
right-hand-side of status bar represent the numbers of deleted, added, and
changed blocks blocks of text in a modified file relative to its
reference. The '-' and '+' icons drawn in the first two panels, aided
by the consistent use of colors, and the tooltips, reinforce and
communicate the difference types.
You can navigate differences in one of several ways:
Nextand PreviousDifference toolbar buttons
Navigate> Next Difference& Navigate> Previous Differencemenu items
Ctrl+ Mouse Wheel
- the mini difference navigation buttons at the bottom of the common scrollbar