Thursday, April 05, 2012

Check in Doc's, Xlx's, Pdf's to TFS? Wish you could Diff/Compare them? But they are 'binaries' you say! WinMerge and XDocDiff says different...

Bernhard Elbl's Blog - Compare Excel, Word and PDF Files in Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010

"Comparing two files is a common task for a developer. When using Team Foundation Server as source control, it is very comfortable using Visual Studio’s built-in compare feature for file history. However when comparing Office documents like Word (.doc, .docx), Excel (.xls, .xlsx) or even .pdf things become difficult. The only information you will get is that files are different. It is not possible to see the changes, the differences as it is possible in the way of simple text code files.

How Office documents can be compared?

To compare these file types you need another diff tool that is able to compare that files and integrate it in your Visual Studio. I’m using WinMerge which is cost free and comes with a lot of plugins.

1. WinMerge with xdocdiff Plugin

2. Ensure WinMerge and xdocdiff is working

3. Configure Visual Studio 2010 to use WinMerge

4. Test Compare feature

5. Compare Result


xdocdiff WinMerge Plugin

This is a plugin for WinMerge (an Open Source diff tool).
This plugin is tested with WinMerge 2.8.6, the latest version on release date.
May not work well with other versions of WinMerge.
With this plugin, you can compare these files.


In some cases, it just makes sense to source control my doc's and related resources. Keeping it all together and under version control is just the right thing sometimes.And while that works, I do miss some of the Diff'ing features that you get with code and text type files.

Well it looks like this plugin and configuration will let me have the best of both worlds. How cool is that? How is this the first I've heard of xDocDiff? sigh...

interestingly xDocDiff has the source available. VB6 source. It looks like a wrapper for xDoc2Txt, which does the grunt work of converting the binary files to text, which then allows WinMerge does the rest.


Related Past Post XRef:
WinMerge 2011

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