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DiffDog E-book Now Available


We’ve published an e-book in multiple formats for your favorite tablet or other e-reader.

DiffDog Field Trials e-book cover image

DiffDog Field Trials is a collection of information from the Altova blog, Tech Notes from the Library section of the Altova Web site, and DiffDog product feature pages. The e-book describes a wide range of real-world applications for DiffDog, Altova’s XML-aware diff/merge tool for files, folders, directories, and databases.

You can download DiffDog Field Trials from the Altova Web site in various formats:

· EPUB (1.57 mb)

· Kindle (3.08 mb)

· PDF (11.1 mb)

· iBooks (16.5 mb)

Or, look for DiffDog Field Trials soon in your favorite online electronic bookstore.

Editing EPUB files with DiffDog

As you can see from the list above, EPUB, the XML-based free and open e-book standard by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF), is potentially the most efficient sharable file format. An EPUB document is based on a ZIP compressed archive containing style information, text formatted as html, and the images that appear in the e-book.

Altova XMLSpy provides powerful support for accessing, editing, validating and previewing EPUB 2.x documents. We used XMLSpy to assemble the EPUB version of our book, where we were able to interactively preview the result as we worked:
XMLSpy EPUB Preview Window Read more…

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Compare Folders Fast and Efficiently with DiffDog


Three user preferences in DiffDog work together to accelerate directory differencing tasks into hyperdrive, especially when you compare folders with thousands of files.DiffDog can perform specialized comparisons. For instance, XML comparison mode commands DiffDog to determine whether two files contain equivalent XML content, even if they would be different in a text comparison because of spacing, line-ending, or attribute order variations. For the fastest directory comparisons, choose Quick Comparison mode, which only looks at file sizes and modification dates.

DiffDog Quick Comparison toolbar button

When you compare large directories, most often you want to quickly locate differences. Choose the Hide Equal setting to avoid listing all identical files.

DiffDog Show/Hide equal toolbar button

Show/Hide empty directories should be set to Hide, otherwise subdirectories that contain identical files will be listed, but since their contents are equal, none of the files are shown.

DiffDog Show/Hide empty directories toolbar button

After you choose settings and click the Compare button, DiffDog flies through the directory comparison.

DiffDog Quick Comparison progress bar

When the comparison is finished DiffDog displays a concise listing showing only the differences, with a summary message at the bottom of the window. The toolbar in the screenshot below illustrates the settings for Quick Comparison on, Show Equal files off, and Show Empty directories off.

DiffDog directory comparison results

DiffDog saves your preferences to apply to the next folder comparison, and DiffDog even includes a quick synchronization tool to merge folders in either direction.

DiffDog Synchronize directories summary

Find out for yourself how fast DiffDog can run your folder comparisons – download a fully-functional, free 30-day trial!

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DiffDog Reports for Service


A recent message on Twitter asked whether DiffDog can create a differences report. The short answer is yes! In addition to its renowned directory compare and merge, file compare and merge, database compare and merge, and XML diff merge functionality, Altova DiffDog can create differences reports for directory comparisons and for file comparisons. After you select the directories or files and the compare options you want to apply, you can create a report file by choosing Export differences from the DiffDog File menu. DiffDog Export differences menu option This opens a Save File dialog that lets you choose to create the diff report in text format or as an XML file. Text format reports follow the well-accepted Unix diff style. In the directory comparison example report below, the < character indicates a file that exists only on the left side, > indicates a file exists only on the right, and ! signifies file names that occur in both directories with unequal content. DiffDog directory report text format Report files in XML format are human-readable with descriptive element names and record the the comparison mode and the paths of the directories compared: DiffDog directory report XML format You can also use the DiffDog directory report functionality to create diff report files for comparisons of Zip archives or OOXML documents. Developers and other project stakeholders often want to keep a record of changes to source code files in a software project. DiffDog can create diff reports for all comparisons of text-based files, including source code files. DiffDog can even create detailed XML-aware reports for XML file comparisons. The illustration below shows two versions of a Java source code file: DiffDog file differences example If you read our earlier series on Reverse Engineering an Existing App with Altova UModel, you may recognize this code. Lines 8 and 9 on the left introduce a new class property called fee that is set to an initial value of 2. Here is the file compare report for the differences shown above in text format: DiffDog file differences text report And the XML version of the report for the same portion of the files: DiffDog file differences text report You can even execute DiffDog from a command line to create differences reports automatically. Here is an example of a short batch file that compares the same two directories from our GUI example and writes the output in XML in a file named diff_1.xml: DiffDog batch file The DiffDog Help system includes extensive documentation on all the command line options, including specific instructions on how to integrate DiffDog with 19 popular source control systems. If DiffDog report files get your tail wagging, don’t just Twitter about it! Click here to download a free 30-day trial of Altova DiffDog.

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Diff / Merge Tools and Dog Food


Since its release in 2005, the Altova marketing team has been actively using the DiffDog diff / merge tool to compare and merge changes on our Web pages (something Product Marketing Manager David McGahey likes to call “eating our own dog food.” Get it? Dog food? Anyway…). We create and edit our content directly in XML using the XMLSpy XML editor and use WinCVS as our version control client. This way, we [not-so-technical marketing folks] can easily view and revert changes to any files in our CVS repository. When we need to compare changes made in two versions of a given file, we simply highlight the versions and launch DiffDog directly from WinCVS. It’s a lightning-fast way to see exactly what has been changed. image Our Web Development team also makes good use of DiffDog’s directory comparison functionality to diff and merge between our test and live Web servers.

Using DiffDog with Team Foundation Server

Jeff Levinson, Microsoft MVP and Application Lifecycle Management practice lead at Northwest Cadence, also recently shared his DiffDog story in an online article for Visual Studio Magazine, “Performing Comparisons with Team Foundation Server.” He details how you can replace the default merge tool in TFS with DiffDog. Do you have any stories to share about how you use our tools? Let us know!

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