Friday, October 12, 2012

ExamDiff Pro: customizing display colours

I’ve been using ExamDiff Pro for 9 years next week (funny how found that looking for the emails with the license to re-install on a new Windows :-) and it was probably the  best 30$ I ever spent, considering I’ve used the hell out ExamDiff Pro 3.x until recently upgraded to 5.5.

It is an impressive piece of software you get for the money - file compare with differences at character level, ability to save the compare results as a portable webpage you can attach to emails with fully synchronized scrolling, looking at changes with and without customized ignores at a click of a button, command line support for scripting bulk compares, directory compare and merging, and recently found a feature I like, comparing files with ability to exclude parts (columns) using regular expressions, great for comparing logs with different date/time stamps, and the list could go on. Don’t get me wrong, I continue trying free alternatives out there and even use them in customer sites (like WinMerge for example), where I don’t have my ExamDiff Pro; but as a software developer, as soon as I got my first few checks I just had to look for better tools, and it did pay off in time savings and less effort.

But this is not as much about the software itself, as it is about the presentation – I always thought the standard colours in the screenshots they have on the website weren’t doing the software any favours. I thought they were too bland and not very helpful. Maybe it’s just me, but if you do a lot of file comparing you probably want to spot the differences quickly enough to figure out what the changes are about.

And not that you can only fully customize them, but you can also export the entire configuration as an Options.txt file to store away and simply import again on a new Windows installation or I don’t know, share them with yoru friends (obviously programmers as well :-).

This is how the standard colours look like – I mean, look at the colour set: dark red is additions, blue is deletions, on a dark grey background, and then the entire block on a muddy yellow (?!)

ExamDiff Pro - standard colors

And here are my colours – I have additions as green, deletions as red on a bright yellow background for the modified text to stand out, removing the block background colour (set to white), to focus on the text changes themselves. I know the whole taste in colours is controversial, some people like one way and others like some other way, but I thought I might put it there - I know I changed mine quite late, on a slow Monday and kept them since :-)

ExamDiff Pro - customized colors

No comments :

Post a Comment