OS X : Folder Comparison with FileMerge

I know a number of people in the Delphi and C++Builder world are taking their first steps into OS X. To be honest, I’m not that many steps in either. So I thought I’d start posting some tips as I strike problems and solve them, so hopefully it’ll help someone else.

Today’s problem (and solution) was the need to do a file and folder comparison on OS X. I’d had a few reports that this blog was not working properly on older versions of Firefox (Firefox 3.6) and wanted to see if I’d mucked up anything when changing the theme. I downloaded a fresh copy of the base theme and wanted to see all the differences between it and the version I’m using.

I was about to try and dust off my unix command knowledge when I wondered if XCode had anything. A little digging turned up FileMerge in /Developer/Applications/Utilities. Starting it up you are presented with the following screen:

Screen shot 2011 09 07 at 1 44 15 PM

Despite the Caption, you can actually specify a folder name rather than just a filename. If you do so, and then click Compare, it’ll present you with a screen showing common files in grey, and files that are either unique to one folder, or different in both folders, in black.

Screen shot 2011 09 07 at 1 50 01 PM

Selecting one of the black files displays the details of the differences at the bottom, and then clicking on View gives you several options, including Comparison which will bring up a traditional side-by-side view.

Screen shot 2011 09 07 at 1 53 36 PM

It’s no BeyondCompare, but it helped me find and solve the problem quickly.

One Comment

  • Araxis Merge is an outstanding diff/merge tool for OSX. It is more expensive than Beyond compare (BC), but if you buy it for OSX, you are permitted to also use the license on the Windows version. At first, I didn’t like it as much as BC, but now I like it better.

    I’ve looked at a lot of diff/merge tools for OSX, and the only other one I might use (actually have it), is DeltaWaker. Less expensive than Araxis, but it’s Java based, and has a few quirks.

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