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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    5

    Question Beyond Compare against other compare tools

    All,

    I used to work for the software division of one company (which used BC2), and have since moved on to another company. I am now arguing my case for getting BC3 at the new company to speed up the efficiency of some of our development tasks.

    Not too long from now, I will have to go up in front of the entire building and argue my case. One point that I know I will be gutted on, is "why BC and not some other free tool, such as Meld". (we work in both a windows and Linux environment).

    I have come up with some of my own arguments for BC, listing features not commonly found in other diff tools (such as replacements, reports generation, manual realignment, etc), but was wondering if there was an official list somewhere or if anyone can help me compile a list of the strengths in BC that you can't find in other alternatives.

    Thanks!
    Justin

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Madison, WI
    Posts
    2,525

    Default

    Hi Justin,

    We don't have a big feature list on the website right now, but I was able to come up with a pretty hefty list of things we have over Meld and our other free competitors.

    • Windows support. I'm sure you can get Meld working on Windows, but I doubt it's easy, and our chief free Windows competitor, WinMerge, doesn't support Linux.
    • Dedicated output panel for merges. Meld uses the merge-to-center approach, which we don't think is as intuitive as ours. WinMerge doesn't support 3-way comparisons at all.
    • Our comparison algorithm can match up similar lines. Pretty much everyone else uses the same algorithm that GNU diff does, which can only do equals/not equals comparisons between lines. You can strip whitespace, or ignore case or a particular regular expression, but that's it. BC actually computes similarity scores for lines, so ones that have had non-trivial changes (renames, added parameters, etc) can be lined up correctly.
    • Saved sessions that you can setup and use later. Workspaces containing multiple sessions.
    • FTP, SFTP, FTP over SSL, including support for multiple simultaneous connections. I know numerous people who use BC as their primary FTP client. Meld may support something like this through Gnome's VFS layer, but it wasn't obvious to me.
    • Zip, Tar, GZip, Cab, Rar, 7-zip archives and BCSS snapshots. I don't know of any competitor that has archives files as well integrated as BC does.
    • Data compare (grid) for CSV and tab delimited files.
    • Hex compare for arbitrary binary files.
    • Image compare for most major image formats.
    • Replacements in text compare.
    • Manual align/isolate in text compare.
    • Alignment overrides (replacements) in folder compare.
    • Source control integration (Windows only). Adds check-in/check-out/undo checkout support directly to the file and folder viewers. Supports any version control system that integrates into Visual Studio (pretty much all of them). Meld's version control integration is different and won't support as many Windows vcs's.
    • Syntax highlighting, and file formats that define importance. A lot of competitors just have a single list of regular expressions that you ignore for all file types, without being able to have different ones for C++ files vs. HTML files.
    • Printed/html/plain text differences reports.
    • Command line scripting.
    • Directory comparison supports excluding files based on their names, paths, sizes, last modified times, attributes, and source control status. This combined with sessions is especially powerful.
    • Dedicated sync interface with mirror and update commands.
    • Directory compare includes Copy/Move/Delete/Rename/Touch/SetAttributes. Meld, at least, doesn't have much for manipulating directory compares.
    • Compares binary DFMs as text (only applicable for Delphi programmers).
    • Dedicated support staff available via email, phone, and forums.
    ZoŽ P Scooter Software

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    4

    Question Compare two similar (human) letters

    Hi Craig and forum,

    Quote Originally Posted by Craig View Post
    • Our comparison algorithm can match up similar lines. Pretty much everyone else uses the same algorithm that GNU diff does, which can only do equals/not equals comparisons between lines. You can strip whitespace, or ignore case or a particular regular expression, but that's it. BC actually computes similarity scores for lines, so ones that have had non-trivial changes (renames, added parameters, etc) can be lined up correctly.
    I have a question regarding this please. Suppose I have two long attorneys letters (like 30 pages) which relate to very similar but not identical cases. Suppose further that the text is not entirely clean because it has been extracted via OCR from PDF. Therefore, although the text is absolutely legible, there are some line breaks at places where there should be none (like at the end of some lines or pages, instead of only at the ends of paragraphs).

    The two letters are very similar in content because they relate to similar cases. Thus, many paragraphs will be VERY similar between the two letters (but never identical because of different numbers or citations used). However, in many cases, those almost identical paragraphs will be in totally different places within the two letters.

    Other paragraphs will be unique to any of the two letters.

    So the question is, is there a chance that BC (or ANY comparison software, for that matter) will be able to display where those SIMILAR, and where those UNIQUE paragraphs (or sentences, ending with a colon) are located within those two letters?

    Because this would save like hours and days of manual work in order to find and match the similarities and differences within the two letters.

    Thanks heaps for any help regarding this,

    Regards David.P

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    4

    Default

    I found that this probably is more a case for a plagiarism detection software:

    http://compare-files.org/index.php/how-does-it-work

    What do you guys think?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Madison, WI
    Posts
    11,908

    Default

    Hello,

    Our trial is fully featured, so I definitely recommend trying to compare the files in our Text Compare. The two points you might run into:
    - Line breaks in different places within the same lines would cause those to show as differences.
    - Moved paragraphs would not be sorted and aligned, depending on how often this occurs.

    Sorting the paragraphs could be done with an external application/script, and then compared within BC3, but we don't support the sorting out of the box.

    We should align and show the text similar to this:
    http://www.scootersoftware.com/morei...ot=TextCompare
    Aaron P Scooter Software

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