File comparison compares the contents of computer files, finding their common contents and their differences. The result of the comparison is often known as a diff.
diff is also the name of a famous console based file comparison utility that outputs the differences between two files. The diff utility was developed in the early 1970s on the Unix operating system. diff will output the parts of the files where they are different.
These utilities are an essential software development tool, as they visualize the differences between files or directories, merge files with differences, resolve conflicts and save output to a new file or patch, and assist file changes reviewing and comment production (e.g. approving source code changes before they get merged into a source tree). They help developers work on a file, passing it back and forth between each other. The diff tools are not only useful for showing differences in source code files; they can be used on many text-based file types as well. The visualizations make it easier to compare files.
Here’s our recommended free and open source Windows-based diff tools.
|Meld||Graphical diff viewer and merge application|
|fgfg||Graphical file and directories comparator and merge tool|
|Diffuse||Graphical tool for merging and comparing text files|
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