Beyond Compare

The best text compare and merge tool: Beyond Compare.

Comparing files and folders is a breeze with Beyond Compare. Yes, I know, the website looks like it was built in 2006 (and probably was) but Beyond Compare is just too good, I keep trying new compare tooling but Beyond Compare just gives me the most useful and clean overview.

In order to save you some time tweaking all the settings, make sure to import my exported settings.

After importing those, try to compare two files and then tap the "Ignore unimportant differences" button, this will hide whitespace difference and in most programming languages I work with those are indeed not important.

Screenshot of Beyond Compare, comparing the content of two folders and highlighting the "Ignore unimportant differences button"

Of course, I also use Beyond Compare as my git merge tool as well, again it makes it easy to see the real differences that I want to focus on and, in fact, gives me really good, automated suggestions. Often, I just need to accept what Beyond Compare has found for me and that merge conflict goes away easily.

My other favourite use is to compare directories. I often take a completely clean Umbraco install as the "left" directory and a customized Umbraco install as the "right" directory so I can easily figure out which settings have been tweaked, if all the dll files match, which extra dll files have been added and so on. This really helps debug mysterious problems faster, I can tell you: often the problem comes from settings being tweaked incorrectly.

 And finally, Beyond Compare also has a fun bitmap comparing tool which I will leave as an exercise to you, dear reader.

Sebastiaan Janssen
Sebastiaan Janssen