Monday, July 13, 2009

Greatest invention since sliced bread: vimdiff

If you work at the ssh command prompt all day long (like I do), and if you need to compare text files and merge differences (like I do), then make sure you check out vimdiff (thanks to Jeff Roberts for bringing it to my attention).

If you run 'vimdiff file1 file2', the tool will split your screen vertically, with file1 displayed in a vim session on the left and file2 on the right. The differences between the 2 files will be highlighted. To jump from difference to difference, use ]c (forward) and [c (backward). When the cursor is on a difference block, use :diffget or do to merge the difference from the other file into the file where the cursor is; use :diffput or dp to merge the other way. To jump from one file's window to the other, use Ctrl-w-w. Google vimdiff for other tips and tricks. Definitely a good tool to have in your arsenal.

If you have the luxury of a graphical enviroment, I also recommend meld (thanks to Chris Nutting for the tip).


Fake51 said...

Also available through 'vim -d file1 file2' - my personal preference :)

Evgeny said...

Also if you have two files open in a split vim, you can do :diffthis on each to diff them. And if you want the diff to go away, just say :set nodiff.

vimdiff also sets scroll-bind automatically, so you might want to disable/enable it with :set scb and :set noscb