When upgrading web applications it can make life much easier to get a list of files that have changed since the last version. This way you only have to overwrite a small number of files so if you won’t have to make all of your customizations again. The best application to use on Windows to do this is WinDiff. WinDiff is a very lightweight application that does not require installation to run. Below are some screenshots of WinDiff, where to download WinDiff, and instructions on how to compare two directories of like files.
Download WinDiff To Compare Multiple Files To See Differences:
First download WinDiff from here. Click on WinDiff.zip to download to your computer and then unpack the zip file to access WinDiff.Exe. The zip file will include WinDiff.Exe and WinDiff.Hlp. The .Hlp file provides instructions for how to use WinDiff if you need more information this is the best place to look first.
How To Compare Multiple Directories & Show Only File Differences:
Now to use WinDiff to see the differences between two directories of like files follow the directions below.
- Launch WinDiff: Double click on WinDiff.Exe to launch the application. The WinDiff window will open as shown below.
- Compare Directories: Click File from the top navigation menu and select Compare Directories from the drop down menu. This will open the directory selection window as shown below.
Enter the path to each directory in the above window and make sure that Include Subdirectories is checked so every file is included. In the example I am using WordPress version 2.8.5 and WordPress version 2.8.6 to compare the differences in the version change. Once you have entered the path to each directory click the OK button which will do the initial comparison which includes all f iles and directories as shown below.
- Show Different Files Only: Instead of searching through the entire list for the different files you can modify a display option to only display the different files. First click Options in the top navigation menu and then select Show Identical Files as shown below to remove the check mark next to this option so only files that are different display.
Once this option has been changed to not show identical files the initial query comparing WordPress versions will now look like the below.
You can see how useful this can be when upgrading any application but specifically when upgrading web applications that could include thousands of files. If you need to do a more in depth comparison of files I suggest checking out WinMerge which is a great application for merging code.