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Best folder / file comparison options for text files

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  • Best folder / file comparison options for text files

    Hi, after reading the documentation I am still not sure what are the best folder / file comparison options.
    Lets say I want to compare two project folders that contain same files, in the second folders some files have been modified just a little bit, so that there is no file size change, for example, one txt file has content: "Welcome", same file in second folder has content "WeLcome ". 1 letter change and space added.

    I have "Ignore unimportant differences" turned ON, so the extra space at the end will not trigger as difference, that's good,
    that's what I want, but the "L" letter is uppercase and I want to catch that as a difference, what are my best options?

    Timestamps - dont care, not important
    Filename case - dont care, not important

    If I dont turn on "Compare content" - the file will not be marked as different, not good.

    So, "Compare contents" - I do care:

    But what option - CRC, Binary or Rules-based ?
    What is the meaning of "Compare versions"?
    What is the meaning of "Override quick test results"?

    I am only talking about source code text files. Thank you!

    Click image for larger version

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  • #2
    Hello,

    For the Folder Compare, you do want to run a Rules-based scan, which ignores whitespace and case differences as unimportant by default, but those defaults can be changed.

    From the Home screen, on the left side saved Sessions list, expand the New folder and select the Text Compare. Then click Edit defaults. In the Importance tab, unchecked items are unimportant, checked items are important. Here you can leave Embedded, Trailing, and Leading Whitespace as unchecked, but check "Character case" to make it important. Then click Save to update the global defaults for all future text compare sessions (and rules-based scans). Back in your Folder Compare, the Rules-based scan will then use these global defaults.

    You can also configure a specific, saved Folder Compare to run with a specific set of importance rules, but it sounds more like you just want to update the default for all future comparisons. Let us know if you need this workflow, and I can help with that setup instead.

    Compare versions: compare the version metadata (which requires downloading/opening the file, so it can be more intensive and slow compared to just looking at timestamp and size metadata, which is readily available and fast).

    Override Quick Test Results: notice the dialog is cut into two parts: the top half are Quick tests which don't require downloading or opening the file, so they are the defaults and can be performed much more quickly. Below are 'Slow' tests, which require opening the file, and downloading it first from a remote source if dealing with a server. These can take a lot longer, but offer a more detailed and customizable scan. Override allows things like timestamp to be in the comparison (Newer or Older) while the Content scan can override the results (if the files are Binary Equal exact copies, show as Equal even if the Timestamp is different). This is useful for files that are content equal but differing timestamps, but also in scenarios where files are content different and you still want to know which is Newer or Older based on that information.
    Aaron P Scooter Software

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    • #3
      Thank you very much!
      And what's exactly CRC Comparison, considering I am comparing source code text files?

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      • #4
        CRC scans the file and builds a CRC code, which is then compared CRC code to CRC code. It's useful in scenarios where a remote destination (FTP with xCRC) can generate the code for you, without transferring the whole file. Otherwise, Binary is faster, since it can stop scanning the file as soon as it hits the first difference. Both of these scan types scan the file bit by bit, and everything is important (even non-visible data) to help tell if a file is an exact copy.

        Only rules-based can ignore whitespace differences. It is the same results as double clicking and comparing the viewable data in one of our file viewers, using the appropriate session settings to compare or ignore important or unimportant differences.
        Aaron P Scooter Software

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        • #5
          Perfect! Thanks a lot.

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