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Comparing text files

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  • Marcelo Bastos
    I m _trying_ to wean myself out of Microsoft Word (for a number of reasons, including having all the most necessary stuff in a flash drive, and possibly moving
    Message 1 of 8 , Sep 18, 2009
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      I'm _trying_ to wean myself out of Microsoft Word (for a number of
      reasons, including having all the most necessary stuff in a flash drive,
      and possibly moving to Linux in the future), but I'm stumbling on one
      feature where I can't find a decent replacement:

      Text comparison. I tried OpenOffice.org. I tried a number of specialized
      text comparison tools. They all proved unsatisfactory -- mostly by an
      inability to pinpoint the exact difference. This is a feature in which
      MS-Word shines. I can open a HTML formatted file, run a compare with the
      original plain-text file and it will pinpoint the changed words, if any.

      Many of the tools I found, though, seem to be geared towards programmers
      -- thus, they tend to do line-by-line comparison, and are totally
      flummoxed by simple things like a different word-wrapping width. Others
      just can't handle insertions or deletions more than a few words long
      -- they can't seem to "resync" the text lower down. And few offer the
      option to display results in what Word calls the "legal blackline" format.

      Most will only work with plain text -- I would prefer one that is able
      to understand formatted HTML. I'm concerned about the text content first,
      formatting second.

      Any suggestions?

      Marcelo


      -=-=-
      For Sale: Slightly used message. Enquire within.
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    • sisterscape
      I use TextDiff to compare all sorts of text files including HTML.
      Message 2 of 8 , Sep 18, 2009
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        I use TextDiff to compare all sorts of text files including HTML.

        --- On Fri, 9/18/09, Marcelo Bastos <mcblista@...> wrote:

        > From: Marcelo Bastos <mcblista@...>
        > Subject: [NTB] Comparing text files
        > To: notetab@yahoogroups.com
        > Date: Friday, September 18, 2009, 9:03 AM
        > I'm _trying_ to wean myself out of
        > Microsoft Word (for a number of
        > reasons, including having all the most necessary stuff in a
        > flash drive,
        > and possibly moving to Linux in the future), but I'm
        > stumbling on one
        > feature where I can't find a decent replacement:
        >
        > Text comparison. I tried OpenOffice.org. I tried a number
        > of specialized
        > text comparison tools. They all proved unsatisfactory --
        > mostly by an
        > inability to pinpoint the exact difference. This is a
        > feature in which
        > MS-Word shines. I can open a HTML formatted file, run a
        > compare with the
        > original plain-text file and it will pinpoint the changed
        > words, if any.
        >
        > Many of the tools I found, though, seem to be geared
        > towards programmers
        > -- thus, they tend to do line-by-line comparison, and are
        > totally
        > flummoxed by simple things like a different word-wrapping
        > width. Others
        > just can't handle insertions or deletions more than a few
        > words long
        > -- they can't seem to "resync" the text lower down. And few
        > offer the
        > option to display results in what Word calls the "legal
        > blackline" format.
        >
        > Most will only work with plain text -- I would prefer one
        > that is able
        > to understand formatted HTML. I'm concerned about the text
        > content first,
        > formatting second.
        >
        > Any suggestions?
        >
        > Marcelo
        >
        >
        > -=-=-
        > For Sale: Slightly used message. Enquire within.
        > * TagZilla 0.066.1 on Seamonkey 1.1.18
        >
        >
        >
        > ------------------------------------
        >
        > Fookes Software: http://www.fookes.com/
        > NoteTab website: http://www.notetab.com/
        > NoteTab Discussion Lists: http://www.notetab.com/groups.php
        >
        > ***
        > Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        > mailto:notetab-fullfeatured@yahoogroups.com
        >
        >
        >
      • Sheri
        Have you tried Kdiff3? It has an option whether or not to show differences in white space.
        Message 3 of 8 , Sep 18, 2009
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          Have you tried Kdiff3? It has an option whether or not to show differences in white space.
        • John Shotsky
          Also, look at DiffMerge, which is surprisingly capable. I did an extensive search before settling on DiffMerge. http://www.sourcegear.com/diffmerge/ John From:
          Message 4 of 8 , Sep 18, 2009
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            Also, look at DiffMerge, which is surprisingly capable. I did an extensive search before settling on DiffMerge.
            http://www.sourcegear.com/diffmerge/
            John

            From: notetab@yahoogroups.com [mailto:notetab@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Sheri
            Sent: Friday, September 18, 2009 08:37
            To: notetab@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: [NTB] Re: Comparing text files


            Have you tried Kdiff3? It has an option whether or not to show differences in white space.



            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • David Smart
            If you want document comparisons (rather than line-by-line comparisons), then you re probably going to need to use a document-oriented product, rather than a
            Message 5 of 8 , Sep 18, 2009
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              If you want document comparisons (rather than line-by-line comparisons),
              then you're probably going to need to use a document-oriented product,
              rather than a line-oriented product.

              Have you looked at Open Office? Its word processor appears to have a
              comparer - probably very similar to Word's - although I've never tried it.

              That said, however, if you want to compare HTML files, then you might as
              well use a line-oriented comparison program, because HTML is essentially
              line oriented anyway. The program I prefer is called "Compare It!" -
              http://www.grigsoft.com/wincmp3.htm - although I think it's only available
              on the Windows platform.

              Regards, Dave S

              ----- Original Message -----
              From: "Marcelo Bastos" <mcblista@...>
              To: <notetab@yahoogroups.com>
              Sent: Saturday, September 19, 2009 12:03 AM
              Subject: [NTB] Comparing text files


              > I'm _trying_ to wean myself out of Microsoft Word (for a number of
              > reasons, including having all the most necessary stuff in a flash drive,
              > and possibly moving to Linux in the future), but I'm stumbling on one
              > feature where I can't find a decent replacement:
              >
              > Text comparison. I tried OpenOffice.org. I tried a number of specialized
              > text comparison tools. They all proved unsatisfactory -- mostly by an
              > inability to pinpoint the exact difference. This is a feature in which
              > MS-Word shines. I can open a HTML formatted file, run a compare with the
              > original plain-text file and it will pinpoint the changed words, if any.
              >
              > Many of the tools I found, though, seem to be geared towards programmers
              > -- thus, they tend to do line-by-line comparison, and are totally
              > flummoxed by simple things like a different word-wrapping width. Others
              > just can't handle insertions or deletions more than a few words long
              > -- they can't seem to "resync" the text lower down. And few offer the
              > option to display results in what Word calls the "legal blackline" format.
              >
              > Most will only work with plain text -- I would prefer one that is able
              > to understand formatted HTML. I'm concerned about the text content first,
              > formatting second.
              >
              > Any suggestions?
              >
              > Marcelo
              >
              >
              > -=-=-
              > For Sale: Slightly used message. Enquire within.
              > * TagZilla 0.066.1 on Seamonkey 1.1.18
              >
              >
              >
              > ------------------------------------
              >
              > Fookes Software: http://www.fookes.com/
              > NoteTab website: http://www.notetab.com/
              > NoteTab Discussion Lists: http://www.notetab.com/groups.php
              >
              > ***
              > Yahoo! Groups Links
              >
              >
              >


              --------------------------------------------------------------------------------



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              15:55:00
            • sisterscape
              PS Just reread your message and wanted to add that I run TextDiff on Linux using Wine. Works perfectly as does NoteTab and Photoshop etc.. ...
              Message 6 of 8 , Sep 18, 2009
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                PS Just reread your message and wanted to add that I run TextDiff on Linux using Wine. Works perfectly as does NoteTab and Photoshop etc..

                --- On Fri, 9/18/09, sisterscape <sisterscape@...> wrote:

                > From: sisterscape <sisterscape@...>
                > Subject: Re: [NTB] Comparing text files
                > To: notetab@yahoogroups.com
                > Date: Friday, September 18, 2009, 10:15 AM
                > I use TextDiff to compare all sorts
                > of text files including HTML.
                >
                > --- On Fri, 9/18/09, Marcelo Bastos <mcblista@...>
                > wrote:
                >
                > > From: Marcelo Bastos <mcblista@...>
                > > Subject: [NTB] Comparing text files
                > > To: notetab@yahoogroups.com
                > > Date: Friday, September 18, 2009, 9:03 AM
                > > I'm _trying_ to wean myself out of
                > > Microsoft Word (for a number of
                > > reasons, including having all the most necessary stuff
                > in a
                > > flash drive,
                > > and possibly moving to Linux in the future), but I'm
                > > stumbling on one
                > > feature where I can't find a decent replacement:
                > >
                > > Text comparison. I tried OpenOffice.org. I tried a
                > number
                > > of specialized
                > > text comparison tools. They all proved unsatisfactory
                > --
                > > mostly by an
                > > inability to pinpoint the exact difference. This is a
                > > feature in which
                > > MS-Word shines. I can open a HTML formatted file, run
                > a
                > > compare with the
                > > original plain-text file and it will pinpoint the
                > changed
                > > words, if any.
                > >
                > > Many of the tools I found, though, seem to be geared
                > > towards programmers
                > > -- thus, they tend to do line-by-line comparison, and
                > are
                > > totally
                > > flummoxed by simple things like a different
                > word-wrapping
                > > width. Others
                > > just can't handle insertions or deletions more than a
                > few
                > > words long
                > > -- they can't seem to "resync" the text lower down.
                > And few
                > > offer the
                > > option to display results in what Word calls the
                > "legal
                > > blackline" format.
                > >
                > > Most will only work with plain text -- I would prefer
                > one
                > > that is able
                > > to understand formatted HTML. I'm concerned about the
                > text
                > > content first,
                > > formatting second.
                > >
                > > Any suggestions?
                > >
                > > Marcelo
                > >
                > >
                > > -=-=-
                > > For Sale: Slightly used message. Enquire within.
                > > * TagZilla 0.066.1 on Seamonkey 1.1.18
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > > ------------------------------------
                > >
                > > Fookes Software: http://www.fookes.com/
                > > NoteTab website: http://www.notetab.com/
                > > NoteTab Discussion Lists: http://www.notetab.com/groups.php
                > >
                > > ***
                > > Yahoo! Groups Links
                > >
                > >
                > > mailto:notetab-fullfeatured@yahoogroups.com
                > >
                > >
                > >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > ------------------------------------
                >
                > Fookes Software: http://www.fookes.com/
                > NoteTab website: http://www.notetab.com/
                > NoteTab Discussion Lists: http://www.notetab.com/groups.php
                >
                > ***
                > Yahoo! Groups Links
                >
                >
                > mailto:notetab-fullfeatured@yahoogroups.com
                >
                >
                >

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              • Art Kocsis
                Absolutely I have a suggestion. Without doubt (IMNOHO), the best text, HTML (and graphic, HEX, mp3, csv, multiple programming languages, EXE versions, UTF8,
                Message 7 of 8 , Sep 19, 2009
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                  Absolutely I have a suggestion. Without doubt (IMNOHO), the best text, HTML
                  (and graphic, HEX, mp3, csv, multiple programming languages, EXE versions,
                  UTF8, Unicode, ++), comparison program available is Beyond Compare.

                  http://www.scootersoftware.com

                  I first discovered this app years ago after reading a gushing review. At first
                  I thought, "yeah, right" but gave it a try anyway. Well the reviewer was right.
                  Every time I thought the app should do something I found it already did. And
                  did it in a natural, intuitive way.

                  To me the most important aspect of file (text) comparison is the ability to
                  resynch after a mismatch. BC not only has awesome prowess in resynching
                  lines of text but it resynchs WITHIN lines of text! An inserted or missing
                  character will show up as just that, a single char diff not an entire line
                  mismatch.
                  (It even resynchs binary files!) And on those rare occasions when it makes a
                  poor choice you can easily resynch manually. It also has a built-in editor.

                  This is not just a simple char by char comparator but a fairly intelligent
                  one.
                  It distinguishes between important and non-important differences highlighting
                  them with different colors. The user can define the importance criteria - from
                  simple built-in white space selections or word substitutions to total
                  customization
                  using regular expressions. It blew my mind the first time I saw it deem a
                  PARAPHRASE of HTML code unimportant! (It was right!) The app can limit its
                  analysis to selected columns of text or HTML tables. It can even compare
                  a multitude of archives (ZIP, RAR, 7Z, gzip, TAR, etc - all the archives
                  that 7ZIP
                  can handle), and compare the files within the archives.

                  There are just too many features to this rich program to describe here. Try it
                  for 30 days free. Considering all that it does, the $30 cost is pretty cheap. A
                  Pro version which adds three-way comparisons is available for $50. Integrate
                  BC with the power tool file manager, ZTree, and you've got one h*ll of a system
                  for managing your disk. (email me for how to integrate BC into ZTree)

                  BTW, if you are limited to freeware apps try WinMerge (http://winmerge.org/).
                  It is OK but nowhere near as powerful as Beyond Compare.

                  Namaste', Art

                  At 09-18-2009 07:03, you wrote:
                  >I'm _trying_ to wean myself out of Microsoft Word (for a number of
                  >reasons, including having all the most necessary stuff in a flash drive,
                  >and possibly moving to Linux in the future), but I'm stumbling on one
                  >feature where I can't find a decent replacement:
                  >
                  >Text comparison. I tried OpenOffice.org. I tried a number of specialized
                  >text comparison tools. They all proved unsatisfactory -- mostly by an
                  >inability to pinpoint the exact difference. This is a feature in which
                  >MS-Word shines. I can open a HTML formatted file, run a compare with the
                  >original plain-text file and it will pinpoint the changed words, if any.
                  >
                  >Many of the tools I found, though, seem to be geared towards programmers
                  >-- thus, they tend to do line-by-line comparison, and are totally
                  >flummoxed by simple things like a different word-wrapping width. Others
                  >just can't handle insertions or deletions more than a few words long
                  >-- they can't seem to "resync" the text lower down. And few offer the
                  >option to display results in what Word calls the "legal blackline" format.
                  >
                  >Most will only work with plain text -- I would prefer one that is able
                  >to understand formatted HTML. I'm concerned about the text content first,
                  >formatting second.
                  >
                  >Any suggestions?
                  >
                  >Marcelo

                  ----------


                  No virus found in this outgoing message.
                  Checked by AVG - www.avg.com
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                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Christopher Chaltain
                  Have you tried IBM Lotus Symphony? It s a free word processor. We use it at the office, and I ve heard people complain that change tracking isn t as good as
                  Message 8 of 8 , Sep 20, 2009
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                    Have you tried IBM Lotus Symphony? It's a free word processor. We use it at
                    the office, and I've heard people complain that change tracking isn't as
                    good as Word's, but it may be worth looking at.

                    --
                    Christopher
                    chaltain@...






                    _____

                    From: notetab@yahoogroups.com [mailto:notetab@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
                    Marcelo Bastos
                    Sent: Friday, September 18, 2009 9:03 AM
                    To: notetab@yahoogroups.com
                    Subject: [NTB] Comparing text files




                    I'm _trying_ to wean myself out of Microsoft Word (for a number of
                    reasons, including having all the most necessary stuff in a flash drive,
                    and possibly moving to Linux in the future), but I'm stumbling on one
                    feature where I can't find a decent replacement:

                    Text comparison. I tried OpenOffice.org. I tried a number of specialized
                    text comparison tools. They all proved unsatisfactory -- mostly by an
                    inability to pinpoint the exact difference. This is a feature in which
                    MS-Word shines. I can open a HTML formatted file, run a compare with the
                    original plain-text file and it will pinpoint the changed words, if any.

                    Many of the tools I found, though, seem to be geared towards programmers
                    -- thus, they tend to do line-by-line comparison, and are totally
                    flummoxed by simple things like a different word-wrapping width. Others
                    just can't handle insertions or deletions more than a few words long
                    -- they can't seem to "resync" the text lower down. And few offer the
                    option to display results in what Word calls the "legal blackline" format.

                    Most will only work with plain text -- I would prefer one that is able
                    to understand formatted HTML. I'm concerned about the text content first,
                    formatting second.

                    Any suggestions?

                    Marcelo

                    -=-=-
                    For Sale: Slightly used message. Enquire within.
                    * TagZilla 0.066.1 on Seamonkey 1.1.18






                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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