BeyondCompare - Helping you navigate your sea of changes and differences
February 01, 2019

BeyondCompare - Helping you navigate your sea of changes and differences

Mathieu Gaouette | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with BeyondCompare

As far as I know, it is not used by whole department but rather some specific people all over the organisation. I know that BeyondCompare has a lot of functionnalities but the ones that I've used the most were script compare and folder compare. I have also used it some time ago in order to promote changes. The software makes it easy to identify differences and apply changes to either the base file or the compare file.
  • The ability to compare whole directory structure is really nice and time saving. This allows to quickly identify at the file level what matches and what doesn't. You can then move into each file to see what is different.
  • When comparing files, you can go through changes and for each of them decides if you want to apply a file's version of that different line to the other one. When promoting changes, this allows you to go through the changes one more time by promoting each "delta" one by one.
  • Can connect to servers to compare remote files. This was a great benefit for us.
  • It would be nice to compare more than 2 sources. Not a common problem but sometimes we can have several versions of a script and it would be nice to quickly get a report of which of these are identical.
  • The ability to specify custom characters to ignore by folder/file could be helpful but I have to say that it is more a "nice to have" than an actual problem.
  • The great benefit of this software is immediate as it allows users to spend a fraction of the time they used to for source code compare. The compare is quicker and exact (no human looking at files or comparing files one by one with possibility of missing one).
  • In this case, if the person validating differences between files and folders is not using a compare software, the time saved will probably be around 80% minimum.
  • Used by change management groups, this can also raise the security of the changes as the person promoting the change can validate in details what modification a specific change brings to a production application.
To the best of my knowledge, the only 2 alternatives tested were UltraCompare (UltraEdit) and WinMerge.

WinMerge is really appealing as it is open source and free. It does have most of the base functionalities of BeyondCompare.
When evaluated, it was set aside mostly because it is an open source solution and also because most of the people that needed such a functionality were more used to BeyondCompare. For base text file compare, WinMerge will work really well. One great strength of BeyondCompare is the type of file it can compare (pictures, MP3 tags, zip files, ...). Most people don't need to compare these types of files but if you do, WinMerge won't be able to help you.

As for UltraCompare, it never got any interest as we already have access to a limited but free version with UltraEdit. Also, it compares files and not directories (as far as I know).
The list of different files that BeyondCompare can consume is beyond anything that we could have expected. I have never had to compare files that BeyondCompare couldn't handle.
BeyondCompare's interface is really nice and the learning curve is short. I got really comfortable with the software within a few times of using it and I didn't have anyone showing me how to use it. The folder compare results are organized in a way that you can really handle the differences at a high level easily and then go deeper where you want to see actual changes.
BeyondCompare is a really nice tool that should be used for professionals that do change management. Senior technical staff that revise other people's scripts will also benefit from such a tool.

The cost of the software makes it less appealing for large distribution in a company. Free alternatives such as WinMerge might be considered for other [types] of users that probably don't need as much functionality.