Spot the difference

To supplement my review of UEStudio v12 last month, I’ve now taken a look at the companion product UltraCompare Professional v8.3 from IDM Computer Solutions. First impressions are good but with some room for improvement.

Folder SyncAs stated on the IDM website, UltraCompare Professional is a folder/file compare utility loaded with features to enable you to compare text files and folders, Word documents, and even zip files and jar archives. It’s much more powerful than the lite version supplied with UEStudio and UltraEdit with some very worthwhile features. My highlights include;

  • compare text files (obviously)
  • compare binary files
  • colour coded highlighting
  • merge lines or blocks of text
  • compare and synchronise folders
  • tabbed sessions

Looking at the detail shows how powerful this utility application is, including being able to compare files over FTP, 3-way compare, web page compare (by typing the URL) and the option to save favourite files and folders.

Synchronise FoldersThere is also built-in support for comparing native Microsoft Word documents (.doc and .docx) to highlight differences in text content. If merged, the files can only be saved as unformatted text but it is a useful tool for identifying minor changes to a large document which would be difficult to find by other means. If you write your documentation in Word this would be an ideal way of checking for version differences

UltraCompare includes a useful print function for file or folder listings but the print preview doesn’t provide an option to switch to landscape mode which, considering the width required for side-by-side comparison, would have been helpful.

Duplicate File Finder

UltraCompare includes a duplicate file finder that provides the ability to find duplicate files based on Find Duplicatesname, size or binary content by selecting and comparing two folders. This is accessed from the File->Find Duplicates menu option which then opens a dialogue box to set the search criteria. Clicking ‘Start’ runs the comparison and the view switches to the Results Report tab. The duplicate file finder needs some minor tweaks on the user interface as on my screen the identified duplicate files are listed in a cramped left pane, making it difficult to scan through them. The dialogue window itself can be re-sized thereby widening this pane but the re-sizing is not remembered for the next time it’s used.

Duplicate files can be deleted by selecting the associated check boxes and clicking ‘Delete Checked’. This requires stepping through each set of duplicates to delete as you go, as there’s no option to select and delete multiple duplicates i.e. it doesn’t retain the check box state between sets for a final bulk delete operation.

The other frustration for a new user is the lack of a local help file. Using help opens a web page on the IDM website which is not ideal and can be tiresome to navigate and use.

Despite these issues UltraCompare Professional v8.3 is a very competent file and folder comparison tool that goes well beyond the basics offered by many others. Its main competitor for file/ folder comparison is Beyond Compare which is priced similarly but for users of either UltraEdit or UEStudio the built-in integration of UltraCompare with each of these, and the extra features, make it more appealing.

UltraCompare Professional v8.30 is available for Windows, Mac and Linux and can be downloaded from the IDM Computer Solutions website as a 30 day trial and purchased for $49.95

[s3r star=4/5]

Right to reply: I received a response to this review from Rich at IDM Computer Solutions, who made some valid points in regard to the online help system.

“The online help allows users to access the latest documentation in their language according to their favored platform.  Our user community at large has welcomed this across our product line.  What is also noteworthy about our online help is that will allow you to download any topic or print a topic or for that matter – the entire manual.  In fact, we purchased a specific online help back-end solution to especially provide these benefits to our users. The online help is also integrated with our localization software and provider so new content is essentially provided to our user community in real time, vs only available in software upgrades.” – Richard L. Knott, IDM Computer Solutions

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