[TxMt] How to actually do a diff in TextMate?

Michael A. Alderete lists-2003 at alderete.com
Tue Dec 20 06:16:23 UTC 2005

(I read the manual, did a search of the archives for "diff FileMerge" and
read all hits before writing this email, and I have also tried a couple of
the Diff commands in the Subversion bundle.)

I am wondering if, either as part of Allan's documentation effort, or as
some bundle maintainer's efforts, a simple "How to Find Differences Using
TextMate" document could be written. Because I confess, I am at sea as to
how to get a useful, usable diff of two similar documents.

My gold standard for usable differences is (as many of the list postings
discussed) BBEdit. In particular, it has a menu command, "Compare Two Front
Documents", which provides a highly usable interface to locate, review, and
merge/modify the differences between two open documents. FileMerge, while
flawed in some important ways, also provides a reasonably useful way of
interacting with two files. (The diff output of the Subversion bundle is
not suitable to my group's needs.)

For me, it's *critical* that a usable diff command *not* require either
document to be under revision control. I am the first person in my group to
be using any form of revision control more sophisticated than DreamWeaver's
simple file locking. Subversion is being used only on new projects which I
am in charge of, which is a very small percentage of the stuff I'm working
on, so it'll be a good while before I can count on having stuff in

Perhaps this suggestion will be taken as rude (and it won't be useful for
non-BBEdit converts who don't have a BBEdit license), but it would be
perfectly acceptable for a TextMate differences command to simply pass
along the two file references to BBEdit's command line differences program,
bbdiff, if the process would allow me to resolve my differences there and
have the results saved back into my open documents in TextMate. A more
universal version might use FileMerge instead of bbdiff.

Last, an offer: If there is an acceptable differences command already, and
someone will write up a quick list of the steps to use it ala the "Compare
Two Front Documents" command, I will write up a complete tutorial, complete
with screenshots, etc., suitable for the complete newbie (such as myself,
and my co-workers).

I'm a good technical writer, by way of credentials, here are some URLs to
Mac OS X documentation I've written:

* PGP Desktop Manual Proxy Settings: <http://aldoblog.com/blog/493>

* Getting Started with m0n0wall:

* A whole series of articles covering audiobooks on iTunes and the iPod:

So, I'll commit to writing some quality docs for the wiki covering a
differences command, if someone will point me in the direction of a
differences command that is useful for my (and my co-workers') needs.


Michael A. Alderete           <mailto:lists-2003 at alderete.com>

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