diff and merge

Repurposing Tools

diff, diff3, and merge are not the only programming tools that can be borrowed by writers. For example, multiple text files, including HTML, can be edited all at once by placing them in the same directory and using sed. I can't help thinking, as well, that my friend would have had less trouble sorting her files in the first place if she had been using a form of version control like Git; in fact, browsing GitHub shows that online help and manuals are already being stored there.

In the case of diff, diff3, and merge, the tools are even friendlier than they are for development, because perhaps a quarter of the options can be ignored. The major barrier for using them is that they require a different workflow than most writers have. Yet once the idea that these tools save time is understood, they can be as useful to writers as they are to programmers.

Bruce Byfield

Bruce Byfield is a computer journalist and a freelance writer and editor specializing in free and open source software. In addition to his writing projects, he also teaches live and e-learning courses. In his spare time, Bruce writes about Northwest coast art. You can read more of his work at http://brucebyfield.wordpress.com

Buy this article as PDF

Express-Checkout as PDF
Price $2.95
(incl. VAT)

Buy Linux Magazine

SINGLE ISSUES
 
SUBSCRIPTIONS
 
TABLET & SMARTPHONE APPS
Get it on Google Play

US / Canada

Get it on Google Play

UK / Australia

Related content

  • Command Line: Diffutils

    The Diffutils tool set helps you compare text files, discover and display the differences between files, and even automatically synchronize files.

  • BeeDiff

    BeeDiff compares two files and quickly displays the differences in a convenient desktop GUI interface.

  • Dwdiff Shows Changes Word for Word

    Version 1.3 of dwdiff, a free front-end for the Unix diff program has just been released and is now licensed under the GPLv3.

  • Diff Algorithms

    Diff finds the differences between two versions of a file. We’ll show you how diff finds changes and matches in files without affecting a system's resources.

  • Debugging for Admins

    Whether you’re the sys admin of a home network or of a company-wide network of dozens or even hundreds of machines, some basic principles of debugging will come in handy.

comments powered by Disqus

Direct Download

Read full article as PDF:

Price $2.95

News