The open source WinMerge 2.4 gives system administrators a powerful, yet easy to use, graphical application for comparing files. You can compare IIS 6.0 metabase files, ASP.NET Web application configuration files, custom VBS deployment scripts, and so on, keeping elusive deployment and configuration mismatch problems at bay. In addition to highlighting the difference between files, the application can merge changes between files. This is very useful when you may have had one system administrator make a change on half your servers and another make a different change on a different server.

WinMerge also does directory comparisons to ensure the number of files, timestamps, and sizes are all in sync. So the next time a robocopy script fails, you will have a quick way to determine exactly where it left off in a file copy. If you are looking for a Trojan that has attached itself to your binaries, a clever trick is to use WinMerge to detect the file size differences between your Windows servers. WinMerge also supports Unicode if you are running in a 32-bit character environment. Of course, database administrators will also love this tool, as it allows them to quickly and visually compare and merge SQL scripts.

The application was created with application developers in mind and provides basic integration with Visual SourceSafe® and ClearCase version control systems. Although the tool does not currently support history or check in tools, it does let you check out files under version control and make changes. Developers may also find this an integration life saver for merging projects into a unified form before putting the project under source control. The product is free and is licensed under the GNU public license.

Price: Free


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