Compdeux File Comparison
by John Bijnens
There are many utilities to compare files and more specific source files of computer programs. Most of them have a very rudimentary interface (e.g. diff). Some of them have a very sophisticated interface like (e.g. Guiffy). CompDeux, part of the Complite File Comparison Family, is situated somewhere in between. The Complite File Comparison Family is shareware and is available for OS/2, Windows and DOS. The OS/2 version consists of 4 members CompDeux, TigDeux, SibDeux, TFuzDeux which are all 4 native OS/2 programs. This article will only review CompDeux which is specifically designed to compare program sources.
Installation is very straightforward. The software comes as a zip file. You only have to unzip it in a directory and start it by executing compdeux.exe. If you want you can create a program object for it.
After you have started compdeux.exe you get the following screen
This screen has two uses :
- it allows you to specify the preferences
- it allows you to select the source files you want to compare
1. Specify the preferences
You can specify the default settings for display, printer, ... by erasing the entry
and replacing this by
and pressing the enter key. When you have done this you get the following screen
2. Select the sources files you want to compare
If necessary you can change the default drive by overwriting 'C:\*' manually with the drive you want to select the first program source from. You can do this by pressing the backspace and typing the desired location e.g. D:\* When you press the enter key you can browse the directories on the drive and select the first source file. As with most applications you can type a letter and CompDeux will jump to the first entry that begins with this letter.
Repeat this procedure for the second file. Now press the enter key until you have confirmed all entries or alternatively you can press to accept all default values.
After this the comparison of the two files starts.
You have two options to scroll through the comparison window. You can scroll by using the mouse. If this is working on your nerves you can switch mouse scrolling of by pressing the left and right mouse button simultaneously.
You can change to other views by pressing repeatedly the function key F5. The picture below shows one possible view.
If necessary you can bounce a block of lines from one source to the other. The following example will explain the meaning of a block.
(click on image to see larger version) Take a look to the line numbers on the left-hand side. The numbers in white 244 - 249, the numbers in yellow 260-263, ... form a block.
To be able to bounce a block from one source to the other you must first activate the Cursor. Press the space bar until the menu line at the bottom shows the option C-Cursor then press C. You can now place the cursor on the desired line by using the cursor keys and bounce the block by pressing . If you don't want to bounce all lines of a block but only particular lines of a block you can position the Cursor to the desired line within a block by pressing the Insert key and bounce the line by pressing
As with most programs you have access to a very comprehensive help by pressing F1.
The interface of CompDeux is not as flashy as e.g. the one of Guiffy but its simplicity makes it very easy to use and the program is blazingly fast. That's why it is my favorite program to compare my program sources.
Where can CompDeux be found ? + Additional information
You can download CompDeux and the other members of the Complite File Comparison Family from world.std.com/~jdveale/ The Complite File Complite Comparison Family is developed by James Davis Veale. You can reach Jim Veale be e-mail .
Perhaps some additional notes here on one particular member of the Complite File Comparsion Family namely TFuzDeux. This is one very extraordinary program as it not only can compare text but also numbers and allows you to compare ranges of numbers. You can e.g. specify that numbers situated between 1 and 10 should be considered as equal.
As always don't forget that this is shareware so if you like the software don't forget to register it and send a sign of life and your appreciation to the author. This way he knows his work is valued very much and it will give a stimulation to develop new versions.
If anything isn't working as expected don't start to yell but try to provide the author with a full reproducible error report so he is able to correct the problem in case of a bug.
And then it is up to you. Give the Complite File Comparison Family a try.