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  • Request for Folder Merge feedback

    As we work on our final polishing in preparation for an official release of Beyond Compare 4, the one new feature we haven't had a lot of feedback on is the Folder Merge.

    Is anyone out there using the BC4 beta Folder Merge for productive work?

    If so, please tell us about your experience.

    This forum thread or an email to support@scootersoftware.com are both great ways to provide us with feedback.
    Chris K Scooter Software

  • #2
    Slow Folder Merge

    I have not seriously used Folder Merge feature - the main reason being that I could not much understand it initially, and whenever I tried to experiment with this new feature and open an existing Folder Compare session as Folder Merge, the initial comparison would seem to take infinity (the "Terminates Comparison" icon on toolbar would keep on blinking).

    Today, I seem to have realized the cause of this problem - while in the "Factory Defaults" of Folder Compare and Folder Sync Comparison > Requires Opening Files > Compare Contents is UNCHECKED, in case of folder Merge this setting is CHECKED - that is why the initial comparison takes so much time and the user might lose interest in even experimenting with the feature.

    Please guide if there is any particular reason for keeping this Checkbox Filled in folder Merge.

    With Regards

    Sanjiv Bansal

    Comment


    • #3
      Changed "Both Sides" to "All Sides" - What about ICON ?

      In a recent Beta (18509) you changed Up One Level feature from "Both Sides" to "All Sides" in Folder Merge - Have you considered Updating (a new) icon for "ALL Sides" so that user is better aware of what to expect.

      With Regards

      Sanjiv Bansal

      Comment


      • #4
        Browsing to BCSS file as Ancestor

        I think using a BCSS file (BC Snapshot File) as an Ancestor location will be a wonderful usage pattern for Folder Merge (Please guide - Am I correct) - I could even drag and drop a BCSS file in the Ancestor Path and it worked fine.

        However, if you find it not a forbidden usage pattern and find this usage pattern to be useful - then you may want to explicitly provide feature to select a BCSS file as folder location - may be third option along with Browse File Systems... and Browse Using Profile...

        With Regards

        Sanjiv Bansal

        PS: I could use the BCSS file in Left, Right and Merge to Other fields also - but could not figure out, will these usage patterns serve any purpose. Please guide will there be any benefit of using BCSS file in these paths.
        Last edited by sumangalam; 01-Aug-2014, 09:36 AM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Hello,

          The content comparison is enabled by default since to perform a merge, the text content of the files should be evaluated. The timestamps alone are likely not enough, especially if they are not accurately provided by the VCS.
          Aaron P Scooter Software

          Comment


          • #6
            Hello,

            We can consider that. The basic action is still 'Up a level', which is represented by the icon. The text hint was updated to be a more detailed, accurate description.
            Aaron P Scooter Software

            Comment


            • #7
              Hello,

              Using a snapshot is not encouraged (see previous reply about merging the text content) but isn't discouraged either. You could load a snapshot as the Ancestor, though I would recommend generating a snapshot with CRC values, which would allow a CRC content comparison to run.

              Does this meet your needs? Where does it fall short? How would you like to use it in a workflow?
              Aaron P Scooter Software

              Comment


              • #8
                I have tried a few times to use this feature but find the labelling and interface very confusing.

                If you scan your eye across the path row you see text hints:

                [Enter path here]…. [Enter ancestor here]…..[Enter path here]

                then you see on next row,

                MERGE TO: ()Left ()Right ()Other: Enter path here

                If I focus on this part of the interface for feedback, here's where I get stuck:

                1. You seem to be able to choose three folder paths… a left path, right path and middle path folder - Yes?
                This therefore suggests you can merge the contents of 3 folders, into a fourth folder path if you combine these three path selections with the MERGE TO: ()Other path option. - YES???

                2. But, the middle path seems to have a different role as it has a special hint text that differs from the left and right folder path definition. It says "Ancestor"…. huh??? what does that mean?

                3. If the middle path is meant to show the contents of the merge itself then the lack of "MIDDLE" in the MERGE TO: () left ()right ()other line section makes sense. If the middle path isn't special then why show a hint that differs from the others.

                Why don't you show hint 'first source folder', 'second source path/folder', 'optional third path/folder'

                4. Now, if I add in the confusion conveyed by only the leftmost column showing icon symbols next to the file rows themselves … why aren't similar icons also appearing at the left of files in my rightmost column?

                I would have expected these file-action icons would be showing me what was going to happen during the merge with each file in each folder path… confusing


                On a suggestion note it would be better if the interface looked a bit more like a funnel… why not show a visual watermark arrow underneath each folder column to depict the funnel flow? That way you can see which is the source and which is destination...

                Comment


                • #9
                  Folder Merge Screen Layout

                  Hello,

                  You may want to consider the layout of the Folder Merge Sessions as per the image attached. I think it might have been easier for me to understand the thing a bit better (though not completely as yet) if it was organized this way. The changes I have done in the image are:

                  1. The "Ancestor Pane" ToolBar Icon has been repositioned from the ToolBar to the Address Bar. (It might be preferable that facility to customize "Centre Pane" in Options > ToolBars, etc. is removed altogether, it should always remain there in the View Menu and Address Bar as Icon)

                  2. you may consider to use the term "Ancestor Pane" EVERYWHERE in the application; and "Centre Pane"/"Centre Folder" is replaced appropriately - that will help in better understanding the feature.

                  3. Previously there were Two instances of "Up one level on all sides", now there is just ONE instance and it is positioned at the extreme left - Just above the icons that give information about all sides.

                  4. The placeholders on address bar for addresses of various sides/panes have resized and repositioned so that they perfectly align with their respective panes below.

                  5. Now you take decision appropriately - if you want to let the address bar of "Ancestor Pane" remain visible when the user toggles the "Ancestor Pane" Button on the address bar - the Button should always remain visible in appropriately toggled state - but you may want to hide the address bar of Ancestor Pane also along with the pane when the user wants so.

                  With Regards

                  Sanjiv Bansal

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Even Better - Folder Merge Screen Layout

                    Hello,

                    Continuing with my previous feedback, you may want to consider polishing the "Merge to: Left/Right/Other" also as shown in the image below.

                    With Regards

                    Sanjiv Bansal

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Though I have mentioned this thing above, based on my experience, may I stress it again?

                      "you may consider to use the term "Ancestor Pane" EVERYWHERE in the application; and "Centre Pane"/"Centre Folder" is replaced appropriately - that will help in better understanding the feature."

                      Had there never been the terms "Centre Pane"/"Centre Folder" in the betas, and only "Ancestor Pane"/"Ancestor Folder" term been used since very beginning, my learning time for the new feature would have been lot less. Centre Pane gives impression that this pane also behaves similar to Left or right panes, just location is different. While "Ancestor Pane" gives impression that this pane will behave differently.

                      With Regards

                      Sanjiv Bansal

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Three way Folder Merge & Three way Folder Compare

                        Hello,

                        While I am trying to make sense of Three way Folder Merge, I was wondering if you have considered to provide Three way Folder Compare also : where all three panes have equal behavior - where action can be performed to/from all panes similarly.

                        With Regards

                        Sanjiv Bansal

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Arrows Panel on Extreme Left

                          Hello,

                          When I show/Hide the "Ancestor Pane", the panel on the extreme left that has colorful Arrows etc. also shows/Hides. Is it by design? I was thinking that it should always remain visible.

                          With Regards

                          Sanjiv Bansal

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Hello,

                            Thanks for the feedback. I think the main point of confusion is that the center/Ancestor pane is the common, past ancestor, and is the opposite of the target of the output. The Left and Right are decedents of the common Ancestor. In a working scenario, the center pane is the code base at the time you checked it out before edits. The Left is how you then edited that code. The Right is how another co-worker edited the code since the time of your checkout. You are then merging your work and theirs from the common Ancestor/Root point in order to check back in. The left and right sides are interchangeable (yours and theirs can be left or right), but the center is always the common Ancestor.

                            The coloring in the left and right are all some people need to help process the merge, so the visibility of the center items is optional.

                            The Coloring is used to indicate the funnel and preview the merge. The icons are on the left side but aren't specific to the left column: they are icons for that row. The color and direction indicate which file is going to be placed in the output. Their left-most position is a GUI choice, similar to a Line Number appearing on the left side of a text view.

                            Does this help clear up how the Folder Merge can be used?
                            Aaron P Scooter Software

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              As is the point of the beta, Center pane proved confusing so we updated the text to say "Ancestor"

                              The pane does behave differently. As the Ancestor, it controls the logic of the merge. The Left and Right are assumed to be common descendants, similar to the Text Merge session. The Folder Merge does not work as a "3 way folder compare"; the 3 panes are not equal. The left and right are equal, but the center Ancestor pane is a common point in history the left and right were edited from.

                              Update: I misread your original suggestion. Yes, that is a good idea to change our "Center" labels elsewhere to also be "Ancestor". I'll open a tracker entry for that.
                              Last edited by Aaron; 11-Aug-2014, 11:38 AM. Reason: Update
                              Aaron P Scooter Software

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