Word-diff vs. line-diff dichotomy

Open discussion about WinMerge.

Word-diff vs. line-diff dichotomy

Postby toddcs » Mon Mar 09, 2015 3:38 pm

I am new to WinMerge, although I have been using a very similar product (on Un*x/Linux) for some 20 years.

The issue I am having is something of a showstopper for me.
But it is entirely possible that I am configuring WinMerge wrong, and I will be grateful if someone sets me straight.

So here is my issue.

Since word diff colors and line diff background colors are set separately, a single changed word on an otherwise unchanged line shows up in a different color (the word diff background color) from the unchanged words (which get the line-diff background color). So far so good. On that line I just ignore the line-diff color, and focus on the word-diff color. But then, on a line that is completely new or completely changed, only the line-diff background color is displayed, not the word diff color. So the very color I was ignoring in lines with the one-word change is now the color I need to pay attention to when all words are new or changed. The upshot is that when scanning for all diffs I care about -- word diffs -- I need to look for two different background colors depending on the situation.

I would find it far more useful if a completely new (or completely changed) line would be seen as a line on which all words have changed, and the word diff background color would be used instead of the line diff background color. (Or at least if there were a menu item to optionally select this behavior.) That way, when scanning for all diffs that I care about, I only need to look for one background color, the word diff background color. Right now I have to look for two colors: 1) The word diff color, when not all words on the line have changed. 2) The line diff color, when all words on the line have changed (or the line completely new).

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