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DiffEngineX

Compare and Contrast Excel Spreadsheets!

$99
for PC  Download Trial
Platforms: Windows XP, Vista (32 and 64 bit), 7 (32 and 64 bit), Microsoft Excel or Office (2000 or later) is a prerequisite
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DiffEngineX is a utility that finds the differences between the formulae, constants, defined names and cell comments contained in either two whole Excel workbooks or selected worksheets. It generates a cell-by-cell difference report in a new workbook and color highlights different cells in automatically-created copies of your workbooks.

As Excel spreadsheets get modified over time new rows and columns can be inserted between existing ones. DiffEngineX can align both similar rows and columns in the sheets being compared.

How's this for a cool new feature? DiffEngineX now compares the Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) macros and code embedded in Excel workbooks!

DiffEngineX includes many powerful features, like the ability to hide matching rows, group like changes to adjacent cells, and highlight differences at the character level. It can be used from its user interface or via command-line arguments.

Review Written by Roger Thomasson
The Conversation
Features
The Fine Print
Testimonials
Expand All Email Updates Load 12 Older Comments
Avi S Hi DiffEngineX crew,
Last time this was offered on BDJ you pointed out that this product is not intended for people who want to compare rows and columns of data, but rather for people who work with formulae and calculations. And, at the time, you noted that you are writing a "sister product" that addresses the needs of people who work with rows and columns.
So, what is the status of that sister product? Alternatively, has DiffEngineX been bolstered in the meantime with features with address the needs of those who want to compare textual data rather than numbers?
Jul 5 2012 at 2:01am Copy Link
0
DiffEngineX LLC The sister product has not been released yet.

As we discussed before DiffEngineX is version control software and over the years we have added functionality to compare defined names, comments and VBA macros i.e. making a spreadsheet compare product rather than an imported rows of data product.

Your issue last time was wanting the difference report to show the differences in rows rather than a cell-by-cell listing.

As I said before looking at the two color-higlighted sheets with "hide matching rows" turned on gives you pretty much that. (The two worksheets have to be pre-sorted first - perhaps using Excel's Data Sort functionality. Also if you are exporting from a database it is easy to make sure the data is pre-sorted.)

As before I suggest you read

http://www.florencesoft.c...ences.html

As you can see from reading that if you use Excel's view side-by-side (available in Excel 2007, Excel 2010 and I think Excel 2003 as well) you pretty much get the results shown in rows.

Just remembering the following:
1) Data has to be pre-sorted
2) Turn on Align Rows
3) Turn on Extras-Hide Matching Rows
4) After DiffEngineX has finished click on one colored sheet and then select Excel's view-side-by-side

There is only so much that can easily be put into one software product. You can see over the years we have added functionality to ignore small numeric differences in 3 different ways, ignore white space is 2 different ways and find character level differences on both the difference report and directly on the workbook copies.
DiffEngineX LLC - Jul 5 2012 at 2:44am Copy Link
0
DiffEngineX LLC When we release our sister product to DiffEngineX, the news of this will be clearly marked on our website http://www.florencesoft.com

We also have a news section on our website and, when released, it will be posted there.
DiffEngineX LLC - Jul 5 2012 at 3:39am Copy Link
0
Avi S Hi DiffEngineX,
Regarding the use of your product to compare spreadsheets containing text fields, you noted: "looking at the two color-higlighted sheets with 'hide matching rows' turned on gives you pretty much that."
It is true that this is a step in the right direction, but it still leaves one very serious functional gap, specifically, the inability to use the names in the header row/column in the comparison. That is, on the comparison output sheet, the cells are defined with cellcodes like "$A$1", identifying row and column, rather than using the descriptive information that text-based data sheets almost always have in the initial row and column.
Indeed, this gap in functionality is apparent already in the screenshots that are shown here on the BDJ page: In the second screenshot, there is a database of customers, and the comparison shows discrepancies street names, emails, etc. However, how is the user to know which customer the street names and emails refer to? Each line only has a cell identifier, like $B$4. It would make much more sense to put the name there, e.g., "John" or "Bob".
I understand that you are hoping to cover this in your "sister product", but it's been quite a number of months since I've raised these issues with no such release in the meantime, and therefore I would like to once again strongly suggest that you add the ability to use header row/column data in the comparison chart in order to identify where the discrepancies are. Without that, the product is not very efficient as a comparison tool for text-based data sheets, but the addition of this specific and relatively small feature would turn this into an excellent comparison tool that I would be proud to recommend to my colleagues.
Jul 5 2012 at 3:59am Copy Link
0
DiffEngineX LLC If you stick to the color highlighted reports, you can have the headers always visible as you scroll up and down, by following the following advice in the below URL.

http://www.mrexcel.com/td0023.html

Do the same for both sheets.

I understand this is probably not want you want, but the color highlighted reports (with hide matching rows) are the best way to see the differences and better than the different report.

We have added too many features to DiffEngineX already. For example it has 2 different row alignment algorithms.

We have customers that have requested 10 different things to be added along with your suggestion.

Given the design of DiffEngineX, it is pratically impossible for us to add these 10 different things (and what you say) to the product as it is. It is easier for us just to create a small, redesigned new product rather than constantly add things to one existing product.

Please be patient. We will be releasing our sister product but it won't be for a 2 - 3 months now.

Rather than constantly kludge on existing features we want to do things properly and that means a new product.
DiffEngineX LLC - Jul 5 2012 at 4:25am Copy Link
0
Bruno Verschraegen Interesting exchange of views between Avi S and DiffEngineX LLC.

I can understand DEX's viewpoint but...

a) Not having header information in the comparison chart makes it indeed very hard to interpret. Just this addition alone would make it from a very good product to an absolutely great one (based on the fex expertiments I ran with the trial version last night and thgis morning). On the other hand, there may be times where one would only want to see the column header information (and no row "header" info), whereas for some other people or occasions row headers or the combination would be important. And I can imagine that this would make the addition of this functionality not such an easy thing. The suggested method of comapring coloured cells works pretty well.

b) Yet, how to know if, for one's typical use (we organise events and use ecel extensively), one would be better off with buying the current product or with waiting for the sister product? or would existing users of the current product be able to buy the sister product with a discount?

Still weighing if buying (yet again*) another tool that looks useful. Probably will take the plunge before the deadline.

Bruno

* Difficult with so many good offers on BdJ not to become a must-collect-as-many-nice-goodies-as-possible junk; and not always easy to distinguish between nice-to-have and absolutely-must-have... I bet I am not the only one...
Jul 5 2012 at 4:40am Copy Link
0
DiffEngineX LLC You can go to options and turn on hyperlinking.

Then each difference on the difference report is linked to the color highlighted sheets and (if you have a recent version of Excel) linked to the original workbooks as well.

So by just one click you can see what exactly the difference is and its context.

Avi should understand that the unique identifer for each row, can sometimes be one column or several columns.

DiffEngineX was first released as a diff algorithmn as applied to Excel. Over time we added features such as comparing embedded Visual Basic code as well and comments and names. It is obvious we were moving in the direction of version control software rather than data comparison.

People did buy DiffEngineX and use it to compare rows. As such we added a second row alignment algorithm and the "hide matching rows" feature. Some people find this very useful.

Please respect our decision. We know that continually adding features to push the software in another direction will ultimately make the product better but it will always be lacking in this direction.

Yes, you can use DiffEngineX to compare rows of data, but this was not what it was primarily written for.

Essentially people purchased our software and used it to compare rows and we entertained them by added a couple of features. Even then adding a second row alignment feature was very, very difficult. It in fact took more thought than it would have taken to write a whole second product that would be better for that task. So we can't keep adding features, because they will always be short of the mark compared to a re-design.

It is not immediately obvious but simply the task of interfacing with Excel in a reliable, error free and fast manner is difficult. There is a huge amount of code simply devoting to making things work and not functionality. As Excel is complex this hidden code grows and grows and has needed to be continually maintained over the years.

It is time now that we stopping adding more and more features to DiffEngineX and write another properly designed software product rather than adding features to what was essentially designed for something else.

Please just wait for us to release our sister product. We can't continue in this fashion.
DiffEngineX LLC - Jul 5 2012 at 5:42am Copy Link
0
Bruno Verschraegen Hi DEX, completely understand. I did say I could imagine that the addition of this functionality might not be such an easy thing. Thanks for the tip about hyperlinking; had not yet tried that.
Jul 5 2012 at 6:05am Copy Link
0
DiffEngineX LLC You can go to options and turn on hyperlinking.

Then each difference on the difference report is linked to the color highlighted sheets and (if you have a recent version of Excel) linked to the original workbooks as well.

So by just one click you can see what exactly the difference is and its context.

Avi should understand that the unique identifer for each row, can sometimes be one column or several columns.

DiffEngineX was first released as a diff algorithmn as applied to Excel. Over time we added features such as comparing embedded Visual Basic code as well and comments and names. It is obvious we were moving in the direction of version control software rather than data comparison.

People did buy DiffEngineX and use it to compare rows. As such we added a second row alignment algorithm and the "hide matching rows" feature. Some people find this very useful.

Please respect our decision. We know that continually adding features to push the software in another direction will ultimately make the product better but it will always be lacking in this direction.

Yes, you can use DiffEngineX to compare rows of data, but this was not what it was primarily written for.

Essentially people purchased our software and used it to compare rows and we entertained them by added a couple of features. Even then adding a second row alignment feature was very, very difficult. It in fact took more thought than it would have taken to write a whole second product that would be better for that task. So we can't keep adding features, because they will always be short of the mark compared to a re-design.

It is not immediately obvious but simply the task of interfacing with Excel in a reliable, error free and fast manner is difficult. There is a huge amount of code simply devoting to making things work and not functionality. As Excel is complex this hidden code grows and grows and has needed to be continually maintained over the years.

It is time now that we stopping adding more and more features to DiffEngineX and write another properly designed software product rather than adding features to what was essentially designed for something else.

Please just wait for us to release our sister product. We can't continue in this fashion.
Jul 5 2012 at 8:41am Copy Link
0

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