Florencesoft TextDiff compares and finds the differences between text files, source code, xml, scripts. Compares folders (directories) on Windows.

Main Advantages Of Florencesoft TextDiff

Florencesoft TextDiff has many useful features, such as the ability to compare text at the levels of whole lines (paragraphs), words or characters. It can display the results in one combined window showing all the changes or in two side-by-side windows showing the deletions in one pane and the additions in the other.

We think the most useful feature however is the ability to omit unchanged text and just show the differences. It is possible to show a user-specified number of lines of context around each difference.

Show only identical paragraphs near differences will show the differences with a few lines of unchanged text around them as context.

Don't show identical, unmoved paragraphs will omit unchanged text. However if a paragraph or line has been moved up or down in the document it will be displayed, even if its contents are the same.

Don't show any identical paragraphs will omit all unchanged text, including lines (or paragraphs) that have not been altered, but just moved about in the document.

There are many different documents types to work with. If you can copy the text out of your document to the clipboard, it can be pasted into the two text boxes on the main part of TextDiff's user interface. As such TextDiff is a fast and easy way to find the differences between text embedded in a vast number of different document types.

The software can compare two folders (directories) for differences. This is useful for software developers / programmers who want to see the changes in hierarchical directories of source code, XML and scripts. Double-clicking on each reported file difference will compare the two files for differences, so long as it is plain text, Rich Text Format or a Microsoft Word document. For the latter Word must be installed.

Finding New & Deleted Items In Lists

Florencesoft TextDiff was written with the original intention of finding the differences between text documents, source code, scripts and XML. However due to its many options, it can also be used to find out how one list differs from another.

Consider the two lists of countries below.

UK Japan
Malta Brazil
Spain Malta
USA Spain
France Germany
Malta UK

We can see that the country Malta has been duplicated in the first list. Duplications interfere with the process of finding out what has been added and deleted. Duplicates can be removed from both lists by using the functionality under the Duplicates menu. Each list has to be processed separately.

UK Japan
Malta Brazil
Spain Malta
USA Spain
France Germany
UK


Now that we have deleted the duplicate, we can find out how the two lists differ. Ensure Whole Paragraph/Line is selected on the Options dialog and that Show deleted and added text in different frames is selected on the main part of the user interface. Ensure Actively look for moved regions is checked. Hit Compare.

UK Japan
Malta Brazil
Spain Malta
USA Spain
France Germany
UK

We can see the results above. The UK is colored gray indicating it is in both lists, but has been moved from the top to the bottom. Malta and Spain are in both lists, were not reordered and so are displayed with black text.

USA Japan
France Brazil
Germany

The previous results were helpful, but there is just one more step. Select Don't show any identical paragraphs. Hit Compare. In the above results, we can see that all the countries in both lists have been omitted. USA and France were deleted from the first list and Japan, Brazil and Germany were added to the second list.

Extras

Today we added an anagram generator and a Black-Scholes option pricing calculator to the Microsoft Store. We wrote these pieces of software some time ago as a learning exercise, but we think one may be of some amusement and the other of some use.

Our anagram generator has found that one anagram of "Vladimir Putin" is "I, invalid Trump".

The internal web pages for our anagram generator and Black-Scholes option pricing calculator can be found here and here respectively.



Comparing Text For Differences

There are an almost infinite number of software utilities to find differences in text. Most of them use a variation of an algorithm developed by universities in the 1970s. They all find the longest in-order run of similar text between two documents. Any text outside of this is either marked as a deletion or an addition. This in itself proves to be very useful, although it is far from perfect.

Suppose you make a copy of a document (or software source code file) and then reorder some paragraphs (lines of code). Note you are not making any real changes. Perhaps you are just arranging the methods in a class in alphabetical order. If you compare the modified copy with the original document, you will find most comparison tools will fail. They will mark a reordered paragraph as either a deletion or addition. It is not a deletion or addition, it is just an unaltered line that has moved from the middle of a document to the top.

Could there be a separate step to detect moved text? Well that in itself has many problems. For one, suppose you take a paragraph, change one word in it and then move it from the bottom of the document to the top. How can the software spot that it has been moved, if it has been changed at the same time?

It can get more complicated. Suppose the paragraph isn't changed at all, but just has all its sentences reordered at the same time as being moved around in the document.

Our software product Florencesoft TextDiff for Microsoft Windows addresses the above problems. The color green is used for new text, red for deleted text, blue for text moved up in the document and gray for text moved down. The background color changes from white to alternating use of yellow and light blue to indicate that text has been reordered.

TextDiff is free to use for the first 30 days and can be downloaded from our Downloads page.