[OS X TeX] diffing latex documents (in Alpha)

Joachim Kock jkock at start.no
Tue Sep 13 13:31:38 EDT 2005


re the current discussion of diff and latex, I just want to point out that
recent beta versions of Alpha have word-by-word diff support, as I explain
in more detail below.

You need to pull the most recent AlphaTcl library from CVS.  This is easy,
just double click on the AlphaTcl.maccvs icon in the Alpha Folder, and then
choose 'Check Out Default Module' from the 'Action' menu in MacCVS.

The diff support in Alpha is quite nice (although it chokes on some diff
formats): you open the two files you want to diff, then select 'Compare 
Windows' in the Utils Menu.  Then a diff window pops up and you can 
navigate through all the differences by pressing Arrow-Down.  While 
doing that, in the two original windows the differing lines are selected, 
and you can patch back and forth by pressing Ctrl-alt Left or Right.

There is also a handy 'Compare Selections' function (also in the Utils Menu).
I find this is very useful, since often you only want to compare some specific
chunks of text.

Since the display of the diffs is dynamic and you can patch so easily, in my
opinion there is not much need for producing pdf output of the diff --- it's
much more practical to see the differences directly in the files themselves.

Finally there is word-by-word comparison (you select this by holding down
the Alt key while pulling the menu (the so-called dynamical menus that
are all over Alpha), then the menu items 'Compare Windows' and 'Compare
Selections' change to 'Compare Windows Word By Word' and 'Compare
Selections Word By Word').

This is very useful in latex documents, especially if you use hard line breaks
and tend to reflow the paragraphs.  In this case traditional diff is rather useless...


J o a c h i m   K o c k        < k o c k @ m a t . u a b . e s >
Departament de Matemàtiques -- Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Edifici C -- 08193 Bellaterra (Barcelona) -- ESPANYA
Phone: +34 93 581 32 50        Fax: +34 93 581 27 90
<A HREF="http://mat.uab.es/~kock/">http://mat.uab.es/~kock/</A>

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