Expo Notes: Merge ahead

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Editor’s Note: All this week, Macworld editors will report from the Macworld Expo show floor on meetings with Mac developers, new product announcements, and anything else that catches their eye.

One of the tools I use quite a bit in OS X is FileMerge—it's part of the Xcode Developer Tools package. Using FileMerge, you can visually compare two files, making the differences between the two obvious. I wrote about using FileMerge to compare or merge two folders' contents, and that's but one example of how I use it. It's not a tool that everyone will use, but if you ever need to compare files, it's a good solution.

I actually thought it was a very good solution until I stopped by Araxis' booth this week at Macworld Expo and saw Araxis Merge. At $129, this isn't a cheap program, but it's very very good at what it does. Comparing either two (standard version) or three (professional version) files, Araxis Merge shows you exactly where the differences are between the files being compared—and then lets you move individual changes from file to file. This is pretty standard file merge stuff, but the interface is very well done and easy to use.

Where Araxis Merge stands out, though, is in its ability to compare images as well as files. Load up two images, and the program will identify areas of not only different content, but different color shading as well. Using an innovative slider, you can then transfer any portion of the differences from one picture to the next. It's hard to explain, but amazingly cool to see in action—you can check it out for yourself, as there's a fully-functional version of Araxis Merge available for download from the Araxis site.

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