DeltaWalker compares files and folders

DeltaWalker compares text files and folders. It can do this with two files/folders or with three. DeltaWalker’s file comparison extends to XML and PHP files as well as bare text files, as I could experience for myself. It’s a Java application that works equally well on a Mac as on a Windows machine. It’s one of the most clever designed comparison applications that I’ve ever seen.

DeltaWalker is a product developed by Deltopia. It can compare text files in multiple formats, including text-only, (well-formed) XML, HTML, Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint, and Adobe PDF. Differences are shown using markers with orange for deletions, blue for additions, green for differences, and red for conflicts (only in 3-way comparisons).

The text file comparison interface is constructed from two or three text editors. These have full editing capabilities and more, like Regex find/replace, incremental find, whitespace character display, line numbers, etc. XML comparisons don’t just stop at comparing content but also the structure of the files. DeltaWalker will show you the hierarchical representation of the structure, lets you sort attributes, and will eliminate superficial differences in formatting — a problem that may make other XML editors choke and report differences where there’s actually only a difference in element order (for example).

DeltaWalker can compare local and remote files. Especially developers will like the latter as it allows them to set up three-way comparisons with a repository version of the document they’re working on. My interest for this review was more focused on using DeltaWalker as a tool for finding differences between local files and folders. Interesting was to see how DeltaWalker succeeded in opening compressed files (ZIP, GZIP, etc. — not every format out there is supported!), displaying their content and letting me compare the content of these compressed files to folders.

DeltaWalker is more than just an explorer of differences. While you can use the application just for that purpose — as I’ve shown in the screencast the program is extremely powerful in that respect — it can do a lot more. You can actually use DeltaWalker to edit the files under scrutiny, or to fully synchronize them.

In 3-way comparisons, DeltaWalker will even allow you to automatically reconcile non-conflicting differences (differences that are identical in the two copies you’re comparing to the master). Reports can be created on differences, both in XML and HTML. DeltaWalker is also capable of creating patch files, i.e. files that contain the differences between one or more pairs of different files. Synchronization is fully featured: it can be done in multiple ways.

At the end of about four weeks of using DeltaWalker occasionally, I came to the conclusion it’s an incredibly powerful and flexible application that is quite easy to use, at least for simple 2-way comparisons. If you want to delve deeper into DeltaWalker’s functionality, you will have to at least read the user guide and perhaps experiment a bit. Only then DeltaWalker’s real power comes to the surface. The application Oro edition (Deltopian for “Pro”) costs approx. 60.00 Euros. A DeltaWalker license is perpetual. Once you purchase a license for a specific major version you can use it forever at no additional cost, assuming you comply with the terms of the license agreement.

[videojs mp4=’′ width=480 height=360]


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