Autodetection of file format

Discussion of latest beta of Compare It!
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Legolas
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Oct 18, 2006 10:11 am

Autodetection of file format

Postby Legolas » Fri Sep 19, 2008 10:06 am

Just tried the new beta, compared some files, and noticed that an xml file where I had emptied a tag had it in a format I don't like much: <a/> instead of <a></a>.

So I edited that back to <a></a> (easier to put info back in later), re-compared, and it was 'gone' again...

Then I remembered the autodetection, and indeed, switching back to to text it seems that my edits were indeed there (and probably weren't wrong originally), this was just caused by the interpretation as xml.

Some observations:
- It's a good idea! diffing on the standardized view will eliminate whitespace and other unimportant changes, like indeed the equivalent <a></a> and <a/>
- Editing on it seems to work well: I edited the 'interpreted' line and saved, and it came out ok. I'm now wondering however if other 'interpreted' lines would be saved as they were displayed ('interpreted') or as they were originally?
- I couldn't really see the fact that the document was shown after interpretation (and the resulting associated 'pretty printing') as xml, except from going to the menu. This is of course 'obvious' for a format like word or pdf where you'll see garbage if it's not interpreted, a little less so for xml since the difference between uninterpreted and interpreted may be very small.

So that results in one request: something to show what format interpretation(s?) compareIt has done. I was thinking about a balloon message on startup? Or something before or after the path that is displayed above each file? (That is less easy to see, but less intrusive.) Or the second thing always, and an option if you want the balloon? (I can imagine the balloon to be easy for people like me who normally diff code and are surprised by the interpretation of file formats like in my case here (even though I really like it!), but always clicking it away would be problematic for people who diff xml all day long ;)

grigsoft
Site Admin
Posts: 1671
Joined: Tue Sep 23, 2003 7:37 pm

Postby grigsoft » Tue Sep 23, 2008 7:04 am

Just as with other converters, you should see transformation icon in pane title. However you are right, this is not obvious and I will try to show small note in balloon and also display converter used in status.
As you have noticed, XML converter is special, since it fully allows editing. None of other converters allow editing files, but probably more such converters will appear in future.
Also, in final version I'm planning to add some options to tweak XML converter - like normalizing empty tags, converting entities, etc.


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