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Software Review: DiffDog 2008 from Altova

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DiffDog 2008 is a difference/merge tool for software and application development. It is a graphical differencing utility that will allow you to visually compare and merge text or source code and synchronize directories using a straightforward visual interface. It also provides advanced XML-aware differencing and editing capabilities.

What this really means is that this is a tool that can be used for quickly identifying the differences between files and directories. This is especially important when you have a large quantity of files and need to identify which ones have changed so that you can update them somewhere else.

For example, say if you are in a Web development department and you have a test site where you do all of your changes and testing, and you also have your live site. You have just spent the last six weeks making a bunch of changes to your test site, and now it is all ready to go live. You can't really do a straight copy because there are a lot files that are different because of connection strings and other server-based dependencies. So what you really need to do is figure out is which files are different between the two sites.

DiffDogThe file differencing of DiffDog will let you compare and merge any type of text-based file. It has support for Unicode, ASCII, MBCS, and other file formats. You just select the files that you want to compare and DiffDog will show you the changes. It even has some enhancements for working with the unique nature of XML files.

The same goes for directories. All you have to do is show DiffDog which ones you want to compare, and it will highlight the files that are different. If you regularly work with the same files or directories as in the example above, it will remember recently compared directories and let you reopen and run the comparison in one click.

New to this version is the ability to work with Open Office XML files (OOMXL) and Zip Archives. Now you can compare each of these types of files with the same ease as you can with text or directory of files.

DiffDog 2008 is a product that can be used by anyone who manages files and their changes, though this is foremost within the software design and development world. DiffDog 2008 is available from Altova for $149. It is also part of the combination MissionKits that are also available. Still unsure, you can download a 30-day trial version as well.

There is not much of a learning curve to using DiffDog, but if you need some help there is online help as well as a PDF User and Reference manual that is over 140 pages in length. If you spend a lot of time trying to figure out which files have changed, or what is the difference between individual files, then I think that DiffDog 2008 is for you.

About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.
  • stefano

    i tested product for xml comparision, i found it very slow, and not easy to undestund.. i never would advice it