Setting up Plastic SCM with an external diff tool

Monday, May 16, 2011 0 Comments

In this blogpost we will go through very few steps to setup an external diff tool to work with Plastic SCM. The tool we will use here is Beyond Compare from Scooter Software.


Although Plastic SCM comes with a powerful diff tool, but there can be times were you want to use your preferred tool to diff some binary files of any type of your choice with your diff tool, an example here could be Microsoft excel files, which are not supported by our diff tool but Beyond Compare which is a dedicated file compare tool can handle.

The procedure described here to setup Plastic SCM with an external diff tool can be applied virtually to any other tool.

Lets start setting things up

Find your favorite compare/diff tool and install it; in my case I installed Beyond Compare to diff 2 excel files within Plastic Gui.

Beyond Compare executable is called BCompare.exe and can be executed from the command line with c:\BCompare.exe file1excel.xlsx file2excel.xlsx, so basically when you setup Plastic SCM with Beyond Compare and diffing from Plastic SCM on a revision of a versioned excel file, Plastic will call the BCompare.exe and feed it with the two filenames (or revisions) needed to perform the diff.

To setup Plastic SCM with Beyond Compare diff tool:

  1. In PlasticSCM client go to-->Preferences-->Diff tools--ADD

  1. In the Define Diff tool configuration window choose:

    1. External Diff tool

    2. Insert the full path to BCompare.exe with the needed arguments: "C:\Program Files\Beyond Compare\BCompare.exe" @sourcefile @destinationfile

    3. Choose "Use this tool for files with extension:" .xlsx

  1. Push "Apply & OK" to close the window.

  2. Place the Beyond Compare for *.xlsx files to be the first in the list.

  1. In PlasticSCM client items view, mark your excel sheet, do a "diff with
    previous" or "diff" with any other revision.

  2. Beyond Compare will fire on the two excel revisions that you diffed within

We develop Plastic SCM, a version control that excels in branching and merging, can deal with huge projects and big binary assets natively, and it comes with GUIs and tools to make everything simpler.

If you want to give it a try, download it from here.

We are also the developers of SemanticMerge, and the gmaster Git client.

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