If you do a lot of programming, writing, or anything that you need to compare versions of different files, you’ll know how important a diff tool is. I’ve been using Meld to compare large directories for websites I’ve been developing, and have been very impressed with the performance and ease of use the app offers.
Meld allows you to see edits, additions, and deletions to individual files, as well as seeing what complete files have been added, changed, or deleted. This makes it incredibly easy to keep track of changes, and can come in handy for group projects.
Meld offers three types of comparison – file comparison, directory comparison, and also version control. Merge mode is also in development at the moment. It is available for both Windows and Linux, however is not officially supported on MacOS.
File comparison is just a simple comparison of two files you have selected – great for comparing a group project document to see what has been done to it since you last left it. You can edit these files right inside of Meld, and view your changes on the fly. Meld supports up to three-way diffs, which lets you compare three versions of the document. You can even set up regex text filtering, so you can ignore changes such as comments in the file. Syntax highlighting is also offered, with a huge range of options from HTML to Fortran.
Directory comparison is similar to file comparison in that you can edit your files on the fly, but this lets you see changes to all the files in the directory, showing altered, deleted, and new files. You can filter out files, such as config files, and also do simple file management tasks. Another great feature is the ability to sort by status – you can have it only show modified files, and other various filters.
An impressive feature is the version controlling that Meld supports. With various protocols supported such as Git, Mercurial, and more, Meld allows you to check your changes with your remote repository before you commit. File versioning statuses are also shown.
Meld is currently developing a feature called merge. This allows you to automatically merge files based on a common ancestor, and display the result in the middle panel. This would be great for resolving conflicts on file versioning systems such as Git.
Meld is a very impressive diff tool for Windows, and one that has certainly made my life easier. If you are looking for a powerful, yet completely free diff tool, Meld is by far the best one I have found. You can view the Meld homepage here.