Diffuse User's Manual

Derrick Moser

This manual describes version 0.4.7 of Diffuse.


Chapter 1. Introduction

Diffuse is a graphical tool for merging and comparing text files. Diffuse is able to compare an arbitrary number of files side-by-side and gives users the ability to manually adjust line matching and directly edit files. Diffuse can also retrieve revisions of files from Bazaar, CVS, Darcs, Git, Mercurial, Monotone, RCS, Subversion, and SVK repositories for comparison and merging.

About

Diffuse was written by Derrick Moser .

© 2006-2013 Derrick Moser. All Rights Reserved.

Licence

Diffuse is free software; you may redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the licence, or (at your option) any later version.

Diffuse is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with Diffuse. You may also obtain a copy of the GNU General Public License from the Free Software Foundation by visiting their web site or by writing to


          Free Software Foundation, Inc.
          51 Franklin St, Fifth Floor,
          BostonMA 02110-1301
          USA
        

Command Line Usage

diffuse [ -h | -? | --help | -v | --version ]

Display information about Diffuse.

diffuse [ [ option ]... [ file ]... ]...

Compare and merge files.

Help Options

If a help option is specified, it must be the only argument specified on the command line. Diffuse will immediately quit after displaying the help information.

-h, -?, --help

Display usage information.

-v, --version

Display version number and copyright information.

Configuration Options

If a configuration option is specified, it must be the first argument specified on the command line.

--no-rcfile

Do not read any initialisation files.

--rcfile file

Only read initialisation commands from file file.

General Options

-c, --commit rev

Open separate file comparison tabs for all files affected by commit rev from the remaining paths specified in the command line arguments.

-D, --close-if-same

Close all tabs with no differences.

-e, --encoding codec

Use codec to read and write files.

-L, --label label

Display label instead of the file name.

-m, --modified

Open separate file comparison tabs for all modified files from the remaining paths specified in the command line arguments.

-r, --revision rev

Include revision rev of the next file named in the command line arguments in a file comparison tab.

-s, --separate

Open all remaining files specified in the command line arguments in separate file comparison tabs.

-t, --tab

Start a new tab for any remaining files named in the command line arguments.

--line line

Start with line line selected.

--null-file

Create a blank file comparison pane.

Display Options

Display options specified in the command line arguments will override saved preference values.

-b, --ignore-space-change

Ignore changes to the amount of white space.

-B, --ignore-blank-lines

Ignore changes whose lines are all blank.

-E, --ignore-end-of-line

Ignore end of line differences.

-i, --ignore-case

Ignore case differences in file contents.

-w, --ignore-all-space

Ignore all white space.

Chapter 2. File Comparison

Use the FileNew 2-Way File Merge, FileNew 3-Way File Merge, and FileNew N-Way File Merge menu items to create additional tabs for comparing text files. File names and revisions can be specified either in the command line arguments used to invoke Diffuse or in fields on the Open File dialogue.

Diffuse displays files side-by-side inserting gaps to align similar lines of text. Differences are highlighted with a different background colour.

Comparison Summary

A summary of the compared files is located in the far right margin. The summary illustrates where gaps have been inserted to align matching lines of text and highlights differences using colour. Manual edits are also highlighted in green. A blue cursor identifies the region currently being viewed. The viewed region can be changed by clicking anywhere on the summary.

Selecting

Lines of text can be selected using the mouse pointer or keyboard. Select lines of text with the mouse pointer by clicking on a line. Click and drag to select multiple lines. Holding down the shift key when clicking will extend the current selection. Select lines using the keyboard by pressing the page up/down or arrow keys. Extend the current selection by holding down the shift key and pressing the page up/down or arrow keys. Move the selection to an adjacent file using the left and right arrow keys.

Matching Lines

The mouse pointer or keyboard can be used to manually align lines of text with adjacent files. To aligning lines of text using the mouse pointer, select a line of text with the left mouse button, right click on a line of text from an adjacent file, and choose Align with Selection. To align lines of text using the keyboard, move the selection with the cursor keys, press the space bar to pick the current line of text, move the selection with the cursor keys to a line of text in an adjacent file, and press the space bar to pick the target line of text. Pressing the Escape key will cancel the operation.

Use the Isolate menu item to prevent the selected lines from being matched with any lines from the adjacent files.

Editing

Press the Enter key or double-click on a text area to enter text editing mode. The cursor will change to indicate text editing mode and the status bar at the bottom of the window will display the cursor's column position.

In text editing mode, text can be selected with the mouse pointer by click and dragging. The current selection can be extended by holding down the shift key and moving the cursor by clicking with the mouse pointer or pressing any of the arrow, home, end or page up/down keys. Individual words can be selected by double-clicking on them with the mouse pointer. Whole lines can be selected by triple-clicking on them with the mouse pointer.

Modify text by typing on the keyword. Modified lines will be highlighted in green. Use the Undo and Redo menu items to undo and redo the previously preformed operations.

Press the Escape key or click on another file's text area using the left mouse button to leave editing mode.

Merging

Use the difference buttons or menu items to navigate between blocks of differences within a file. When navigating, Diffuse will move the selection to the next continuous set of lines with differences or edits.

Use the merge buttons or menu items to copy blocks of text into the selected range of lines. The Undo and Redo menu items can be used to undo and redo the previously preformed operations. All changes to a set of lines can be reverted using the Clear Edits menu item regardless of the order the edits were performed.

Chapter 3. Version Control

Diffuse can retrieve file revisions from several version control systems via their command line interface. The Microsoft Windows build of Diffuse is able to use both the Cygwin and native versions of the supported version control systems. When using Diffuse with Cygwin, ensure Diffuse's Cygwin preferences correctly describe your system. If the Update paths for Cygwin preference exists for a version control system, it must be enabled to use the Cygwin version.

Version control systems are sensitive to the system path and other environment variable settings. The Launch from a Bash login shell preference may be used to easily set the environment for Cygwin version control systems.

Viewing Uncommitted Modifications

The -m option will cause Diffuse to open comparison tabs for each file the version control system indicates has uncommitted modifications. This is convenient for reviewing all changes before committing or resolving a merge conflict. If no paths are specified the current working directory will be used. For example, view all of your uncommitted modifications with this command line:

$ diffuse -m

The default revision of a file will be used for comparison if only one file is specified. For example, this will display a 2-way merge between the default revision of foo.C and the local foo.C file:

$ diffuse foo.C

Specifying Revisions

The -r option may also be used to explicitly specify a particular file revision. Any revision specifier understood by the version control system may be used. The local file will be used for comparison if only one file revision is specified. For example, this will display a 2-way merge between revision 123 of foo.C and the local foo.C file:

$ diffuse -r 123 foo.C

Multiple file revisions can be compared by specifying multiple -r options. For example, this will display a 2-way merge between revision 123 of foo.C and revision 321 of foo.C:

$ diffuse -r 123 -r 321 foo.C

Local files can be mixed with files from the version control system. For example, this will display a 3-way merge between revision MERGE_HEAD of foo.C, the local foo.C file, and revision HEAD of foo.C:

$ diffuse -r MERGE_HEAD foo.C foo.C -r HEAD foo.C

For the -c option may be used to easily specify a pair of sequential revisions. For example, this will display a 2-way merge between revision 1.2.2 of foo.C and revision 1.2.3 of foo.C:

$ diffuse -c 1.2.3 foo.C

Diffuse does not limit the number of panes that can be used for comparing files. The inputs to a Git octopus merge could be viewed with a command line like this:

$ diffuse -r HEAD^1 -r HEAD^2 -r HEAD^3 -r HEAD^4 -r HEAD^5 foo.C

Chapter 4. Resources

Resources can be used to customise several aspects of Diffuse's appearance and behaviour such as changing the colours used in the user interface, customising the keyboard shortcuts, adding or replacing syntax highlighting rules, or changing the mapping from file extensions to syntax highlighting rules.

When Diffuse is started, it will read commands from the system wide initialisation file /etc/diffuserc (%INSTALL_DIR%\diffuserc on Microsoft Windows) and then the personal initialisation file ~/.config/diffuse/diffuserc (%HOME%\.config\diffuse\diffuserc on Microsoft Windows). This behaviour can be changed with the --no-rcfile and --rcfile configuration options. A Bourne shell-like lexical analyser is used to parse initialisation commands. Comments and special characters can be embedded using the same style of escaping used in Bourne shell scripts.

General

import file

Processes initialisation commands from file. Initialisation files will only be processed once.

Key Bindings

keybinding context action key_combination

Binds a key combination to action when used in context. Specify Shift and Control modifiers by prepending Shift+ and Ctrl+ to key_combination respectively. Keys normally modified by the Shift key should be specified using their modified value if key_combination involves the Shift key. For example, Ctrl+g and Shift+Ctrl+G. Remove bindings for key_combination by specifying None for the action.

Menu Item Key Bindings

Use menu for the context to define key bindings for menu items. The following values are valid for action:

open_file

FileOpen File... menu item

Default: Ctrl+o

open_file_in_new_tab

FileOpen File In New Tab... menu item

Default: Ctrl+t

open_modified_files

FileOpen Modified Files... menu item

Default: Shift+Ctrl+O

open_commit

FileOpen Commit... menu item

Default: Shift+Ctrl+T

reload_file

FileReload File menu item

Default: Shift+Ctrl+R

save_file

FileSave File menu item

Default: Ctrl+s

save_file_as

FileSave File As... menu item

Default: Shift+Ctrl+A

save_all

FileSave All menu item

Default: Shift+Ctrl+S

new_2_way_file_merge

FileNew 2-Way File Merge menu item

Default: Ctrl+2

new_3_way_file_merge

FileNew 3-Way File Merge menu item

Default: Ctrl+3

new_n_way_file_merge

FileNew N-Way File Merge menu item

Default: Ctrl+4

close_tab

FileClose Tab menu item

Default: Ctrl+w

undo_close_tab

FileUndo Close Tab menu item

Default: Shift+Ctrl+w

quit

FileQuit menu item

Default: Ctrl+q

undo

EditUndo menu item

Default: Ctrl+z

redo

EditRedo menu item

Default: Shift+Ctrl+Z

cut

EditCut menu item

Default: Ctrl+x

copy

EditCopy menu item

Default: Ctrl+c

paste

EditPaste menu item

Default: Ctrl+v

select_all

EditSelect All menu item

Default: Ctrl+a

clear_edits

EditClear Edits menu item

Default: Ctrl+r

dismiss_all_edits

EditDismiss All Edits menu item

Default: Ctrl+d

find

EditFind... menu item

Default: Ctrl+f

find_next

EditFind Next menu item

Default: Ctrl+g

find_previous

EditFind Previous menu item

Default: Shift+Ctrl+G

go_to_line

EditGo To Line... menu item

Default: Shift+Ctrl+L

preferences

EditPreferences menu item

Default: None

no_syntax_highlighting

ViewSyntax HighlightingNone menu item

Default: None

syntax_highlighting_syntax

ViewSyntax Highlightingsyntax menu item

Default: None

realign_all

ViewRealign All menu item

Default: Ctrl+l

isolate

ViewIsolate menu item

Default: Ctrl+i

first_difference

ViewFirst Difference menu item

Default: Shift+Ctrl+Up

previous_difference

ViewPrevious Difference menu item

Default: Ctrl+Up

next_difference

ViewNext Difference menu item

Default: Ctrl+Down

last_difference

ViewLast Difference menu item

Default: Shift+Ctrl+Down

first_tab

ViewFirst Tab menu item

Default: Shift+Ctrl+Page_Up

previous_tab

ViewPrevious Tab menu item

Default: Ctrl+Page_Up

next_tab

ViewNext Tab menu item

Default: Ctrl+Page_Down

last_tab

ViewLast Tab menu item

Default: Shift+Ctrl+Page_Down

shift_pane_right

ViewShift Pane Right menu item

Default: Shift+Ctrl+parenleft

shift_pane_left

ViewShift Pane Left menu item

Default: Shift+Ctrl+parenright

convert_to_upper_case

FormatConvert To Upper Case menu item

Default: Ctrl+u

convert_to_lower_case

FormatConvert To Lower Case menu item

Default: Shift+Ctrl+U

sort_lines_in_ascending_order

FormatSort Lines In Ascending Order menu item

Default: Ctrl+y

sort_lines_in_descending_order

FormatSort Lines In Descending Order menu item

Default: Shift+Ctrl+Y

remove_trailing_white_space

FormatRemove Trailing White Space menu item

Default: Ctrl+k

convert_tabs_to_spaces

FormatConvert Tabs To Spaces menu item

Default: Ctrl+b

convert_leading_spaces_to_tabs

FormatConvert Leading Spaces To Tabs menu item

Default: Shift+Ctrl+B

increase_indenting

FormatIncrease Indenting menu item

Default: Shift+Ctrl+greater

decrease_indenting

FormatDecrease Indenting menu item

Default: Shift+Ctrl+less

convert_to_dos

FormatConvert To DOS Format menu item

Default: Shift+Ctrl+E

convert_to_mac

FormatConvert To Mac Format menu item

Default: Shift+Ctrl+C

convert_to_unix

FormatConvert To Unix Format menu item

Default: Ctrl+e

copy_selection_right

MergeCopy Selection Right menu item

Default: Shift+Ctrl+Right

copy_selection_left

MergeCopy Selection Left menu item

Default: Shift+Ctrl+Left

copy_left_into_selection

MergeCopy Left Into Selection menu item

Default: Ctrl+Right

copy_right_into_selection

MergeCopy Right Into Selection menu item

Default: Ctrl+Left

merge_from_left_then_right

MergeMerge From Left Then Right menu item

Default: Ctrl+m

merge_from_right_then_left

MergeMerge From Right Then Left menu item

Default: Shift+Ctrl+M

help_contents

HelpHelp Contents menu item

Default: F1

about

HelpAbout menu item

Default: None

Line Editing Mode Key Bindings

Use line_mode for the context to define key bindings for line editing mode. The following values are valid for action:

enter_align_mode

enter alignment editing mode

Default: space

enter_character_mode

enter character editing mode

Defaults: Return, KP_Enter

first_line

move cursor to the first line

Defaults: Home, g

extend_first_line

move cursor to the first line, extending the selection

Default: Shift+Home

last_line

move cursor to the last line

Defaults: End, Shift+G

extend_last_line

move cursor to the last line, extending the selection

Default: Shift+End

up

move cursor up one line

Defaults: Up, k

extend_up

move cursor up one line, extending the selection

Defaults: Shift+Up, Shift+K

down

move cursor down one line

Defaults: Down, j

extend_down

move cursor down one line, extending the selection

Defaults: Shift+Down, Shift+J

left

move cursor left one file

Defaults: Left, h

extend_left

move cursor left one file, extending the selection

Default: Shift+Left

right

move cursor right one file

Defaults: Right, l

extend_right

move cursor right one file, extending the selection

Default: Shift+Right

page_up

move cursor up one page

Defaults: Page_Up, Ctrl+u

extend_page_up

move cursor up one page, extending the selection

Defaults: Shift+Page_Up, Shift+Ctrl+u

page_down

move cursor down one page

Defaults: Page_Down, Ctrl+d

extend_page_down

move cursor down one page, extending the selection

Defaults: Shift+Page_Down, Shift+Ctrl+d

delete_text

delete the selected text

Defaults: BackSpace, Delete, x

first_difference

select the first difference

Defaults: Ctrl+Home, Shift+P

previous_difference

select the previous difference

Default: p

next_difference

select the next difference

Default: n

last_difference

select the last difference

Defaults: Ctrl+End, Shift+N

clear_edits

clear all edits from the selected lines

Default: r

copy_selection_left

copy lines from the selection into the file on the left

Default: None

copy_selection_right

copy lines from the selection into the file on the right

Default: None

copy_left_into_selection

copy lines from the file on the left into the selection

Default: Shift+L

copy_right_into_selection

copy lines from the file on the right into the selection

Default: Shift+H

merge_from_left_then_right

merge lines from file on the left then file on the right

Default: m

merge_from_right_then_left

merge lines from file on the right then file on the left

Default: Shift+M

isolate

isolate the selected lines

Default: i

Alignment Editing Mode Key Bindings

Use align_mode for the context to define key bindings for alignment editing mode. The following values are valid for action:

enter_line_mode

enter line editing mode

Default: Escape

enter_character_mode

enter character editing mode

Defaults: Return, KP_Enter

first_line

move cursor to the first line

Default: g

last_line

move cursor to the last line

Default: Shift+G

up

move cursor up one line

Defaults: Up, k

down

move cursor down one line

Defaults: Down, j

left

move cursor left one file

Defaults: Left, h

right

move cursor right one file

Defaults: Right, l

page_up

move cursor up one page

Defaults: Page_Up, Ctrl+u

page_down

move cursor down one page

Defaults: Page_Down, Ctrl+d

align

align the selected line to the cursor position

Default: space

Character Editing Mode Key Bindings

Use character_mode for the context to define key bindings for character editing mode. The following values are valid for action:

enter_line_mode

enter line editing mode

Default: Escape

Strings

string name value

Declares a string resource called name with value value.

Used String Resources

The following string resources are used by Diffuse:

difference_colours

a list of colour resources used to indicate differences

Default: difference_1 difference_2 difference_3

Colours

[ colour | color ] name red green blue

Declares a colour resource called name. Individual colour components should be expressed as a value between 0 and 1.

Used Colour Resources

The following colour resources are used by Diffuse:

alignment

colour used to indicate a line picked for manual alignment

Default: 1 1 0

character_selection

colour used to indicate selected characters

Default: 0.7 0.7 1

cursor

colour used for the cursor

Default: 0 0 0

difference_1

colour used to identify differences between the first pair of files

Default: 1 0.625 0.625

difference_2

colour used to identify differences between the second pair of files

Default: 0.85 0.625 0.775

difference_3

colour used to identify differences between the third pair of files

Default: 0.85 0.775 0.625

edited

colour used to indicate edited lines

Default: 0.5 1 0.5

hatch

colour used for indicating alignment gaps

Default: 0.8 0.8 0.8

line_number

colour used for line numbers

Default: 0 0 0

line_number_background

background colour for the line number area

Default: 0.75 0.75 0.75

line_selection

colour used to indicate selected lines

Default: 0.7 0.7 1

map_background

background colour for the map area

Default: 0.6 0.6 0.6

margin

colour used to indicate the right margin

Default: 0.8 0.8 0.8

preedit

pre-edit text colour

Default: 0 0 0

text

regular text colour

Default: 0 0 0

text_background

background colour for the text area

Default: 1 1 1

Floating Point Values

float name value

Declares a floating point resource called name with value value.

Used Floating Point Resources

The following floating point resources are used by Diffuse:

alignment_opacity

opacity used when compositing the manual alignment colour

Defaults: 1

character_difference_opacity

opacity used when compositing character difference colours

Defaults: 0.4

character_selection_opacity

opacity used when compositing the character selection colour

Defaults: 0.4

edited_opacity

opacity used when compositing the edited line colour

Defaults: 0.4

line_difference_alpha

alpha value used when compositing line difference colours

Defaults: 0.3

line_selection_opacity

opacity used when compositing the line selection colour

Defaults: 0.4

Syntax Highlighting

syntax name [initial_state default_tag]

Declares a new syntax style called name. Syntax highlighting uses a simple state machine that transitions between states when certain patterns are matched. The initial state for the state machine will be initial_state. All characters not matched by a pattern will be tagged as default_tag for highlighting. The syntax style called name can be removed by omitting initial_state and default_tag.

syntax_files name [pattern]

Specifies that files with a name matching pattern should be highlighted using the syntax style called name. Patterns used to match files for use with the syntax style called name can be removed by omitting pattern.

syntax_magic name [pattern [ignorecase]]

Specifies that files with a first line matching pattern should be highlighted using the syntax style called name. Patterns used to match files for use with the syntax style called name can be removed by omitting pattern.

syntax_pattern name initial_state final_state tag pattern [ignorecase]

Adds a pattern to the previously declared syntax style. Patterns are tried one at a time in the order they were declared until the first match is found. A pattern will only be used to match characters if the state machine is in the state initial_state. The state machine will transition to final_state if the pattern defined by pattern is matched. Case insensitive pattern matching will be used if ignorecase is specified. All characters matched by the pattern will be tagged as tag for highlighting.

Chapter 5. Files

The following files are used by Diffuse:

/etc/diffuserc

system wide initialisations (%INSTALL_DIR%\diffuserc on Microsoft Windows)

/usr/share/diffuse/syntax/*.syntax

syntax files for various languages (%INSTALL_DIR%\syntax\*.syntax on Microsoft Windows)

~/.config/diffuse/diffuserc

your initialisations (%HOME%\.config\diffuse\diffuserc on Microsoft Windows)

~/.config/diffuse/prefs

your saved preferences (%HOME%\.config\diffuse\prefs on Microsoft Windows)

~/.local/share/diffuse/state

data persistent across sessions (%HOME%\.local\share\diffuse\state on Microsoft Windows)