File Comparison on OS X


I recently ran into a version control problem with git. Well, it wasn’t actually a git problem, but rather a version control management problem. One of the projects that I have been working on has multiple developers working various aspects of a web application. The client recently told me that during a recent merge, git could not handle the number of changes. The reason was that many developers were making changes to the same file(s) (relevant to the scope of their project) and the client waited too long to try to merge.

So I was given the latest file(s) and I had to manually merge my project. I was dumbfounded. I had created JQuery plugins for the project and these were not difficult to insert into the file(s). But I also made a lot of UI changes to the main file and made numerous changes/additions to the CSS file.

After eyeballing each line of code of two files for about 1/2 hour, I realized that there must be a better way. So I googled: ‘File Comparison OS X’ and was surprised to find that I already had a utility installed ( Apparently, the utility was bundled with XCode. Who Knew?

So I opened the FileMerge app (Macintosh HD/Developer/Applications/, selected the two files and began to compare the differences. I didn’t want to merge the two files because I did not know how the changes would affect another developer’s code. It took me a while to manually make the changes to the master file(s), but at least I did not have to try to find where the differences were.

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Installing git on Mac OS X


I’m starting a new project where the source code is hosted on github so I had to install git on my Mac OS X. Git is an open source, distributed version control system. To install it on my Mac, I downloaded the installer package from google code (also available via MacPorts). After installing the package, I had to configure it to work with github.

Open the Terminal application (Applications->Utilities->Terminal).


   git config --global "your name here"
   git config --global your-email-address-here

   git config --global github.user your-github-user-here
   git config --global github.token your-github-api-token-here
   git config --global core.autocrlf true

If you receive the error:
git: Command not found

You will have to add the git directory to your PATH variables:
echo 'export PATH=/usr/local/git/bin:$PATH' >> ~/.profile

Restart Terminal and then enter:
echo $PATH

You should see that the git directory was appended to the PATH.

If you are using github, ‘github.user’ and ‘github.token’ can be obtained by clicking on your account link and then clicking on “Global Git Config”.

In order to use github, you will also need to create an ssh key:

ssh-keygen -C "your name or email address" -t rsa

To copy your public key to the clipboard:

cat | pbcopy

You can then paste it into the appropriate place on githubs site.

Note: id_rsa is the default name of your public key file. If you gave it a different name, then obviously you would ‘cat’ that name. Enjoy.

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