[OS X] Set up DiffMerge for Dreamweaver file comparison

I’ve just started in a new office and we are all Mac’ed up, which changes the development process a bit. For one thing, I have SO much pixelated real estate I have had to put ghosts of standard window sizes on my desktop background, as it’s easy to lose touch with real users’ screen resolution. 1024×768 just gets lost in the corner!

One of my first productivity priorities was getting a decent visual diff tool hooked up to Dreamweaver – a colleague recommended TextWrangler but it doesn’t highlight differences in clearly, so after a little research I settled on DiffMerge, a utility available for Mac, PC and *nix.

It takes a tiny bit of setting up however, a little knowledge of OS X file system, and the instructions contained a slight discrepancy in my version, so here’s how if you find yourself in the same situation:

First download the DiffMerge DMG, mount the DMG (simply by double clicking the downloaded DMG) and drag DiffMerge.app to your applications.

All standard stuff so far, and any Mac user should be able to do that.

Now, launch Terminal (search for it with Finder if you need it).

Log in with your system password.

change into the mounted DMG:
$ cd /Volumes/DiffMerge {version number}/
For n00bs, once you have got as far as typing ‘Diff’ you can press [TAB] to autocomplete.

sudo copy (copy as a superuser) the shell script to /usr/bin:
$ sudo cp Extras/diffmerge.sh /usr/bin/diffmerge 
You will be prompted for your system password

Set the permissions on the script:
$ sudo chmod 755 /usr/bin/diffmerge

Copy the man (manual file) to your system. This is where the instructions were in error as they listed the file as diffmerge.1, and my copy was diffmerge.man1:
$ sudo cp Extras/diffmerge.man1 /usr/share/man/man1/diffmerge.man1 

Set permissions for the man file:
$ sudo chmod 644 /usr/share/man/man1/diffmerge.man1

Open Dreamweaver, and go to preferences (⌘ + U), select the ‘File Compare’ category and enter ‘{your drive}:usr:bin:diffmerge’ where {your drive} is the name of your… drive… Yeh. For example: ‘Macintosh HD:usr:bin:diffmerge’ and click [OK]

Now you can start diffing files – when uploading and DW asks if you want to compare, click the button and DiffMerge will open automatically.

Alternatively [Ctrl] + Click on any file in choose ‘Compare with {Remote Server} / {Local Server}’ from the context menu as appropriate.

3 thoughts on “[OS X] Set up DiffMerge for Dreamweaver file comparison”

  1. The location of Extras is relative to your current location, which at that point will be /Volumes/DiffMerge – therefore /Volumes/DiffMerge/Extras.The file was diffmerge.man1 (number 1) on my system, not manl (lower L), but as I said this was different even to the instructions. I assume it will be whatever is in the Extras folder called diffmerge.{something}

  2. Thanks! This was helpful though the location of the Extras folder was confusing and there seems to be no file called diffmerge.manl

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