Considering Visual Diff/Merge Tools

I was just prompted by Araxis Merge to renew support for USD 49. Whilst I appreciate its features, mainly on Windows, I’m not totally in love with the UI and so had a quick look around for alternatives. Prices below are for professional users, I’ve not bothered recording who offers what academic discounts or free versions for open source projects.

I found a 2004 comparison on Coding Horror which had quite a few people raving about Araxis but Jeff and others pointing out that Beyond Compare is much more affordable and others suggesting ECMerge from Ellié Computing.

I still use BBEdit as my main texst editing environment on Mac and regularly use its diff (since CodeWarrior was retired). However, I need a similar tool on Windows, other than the free WinMerge, and I’d like a 3-way merge at times.

Araxis Pro gives me the 3-way merge on all platforms and the single license allows me to use across platforms.

Beyond Compare only works on Windows and Linux but has some amazing features, I was just very impressed the video of the new Replacements feature. That lets you define some patterns of small items being replaced as being less important (eg: i=i+1 being replaced by i++) so you can concentrate on major changes in the code.

Beyond Compare single-platform license is USD 30 for standard and USD 50 for the Pro version which provides the replacements and 3-way comparisons. They don’t seem to have annual maintenance and the upgrade from the previous major version in 2007 was half-price.

ECMerge floating license is USD40 Standard and USD60 for the Pro version. They also offer the Pro version for a single platform for USD50.  The Pro version basically adds 3-way merge to the Standard. Bugfixes are free for life, annual maintenance 20%.

One thought on “Considering Visual Diff/Merge Tools

  1. I went with yet another choice – Deltawalker from because they had a 50% off promo at WWDC and put flyers out on all the wired tables. Normal price is $76 for the Personal version with 3-way merge. I really liked the clean look even though it’s a Java tool.

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