Browsing articles from "November, 2010"

Make Diffs Readable

By Rob Warner  //  Development, iOS  //  8 Comments

Every time I look at a diff, I’m reminded of the gulf between me and Linus Torvalds. I just know he’s fluent in Finnish, English, and diff, but me? I know the diff syntax. I study the semantics. Heck — I even colorize my diffs. Doesn’t matter. Each time I view a diff, my head cocks to one side, and then the other, in utter bemusement. My hands stab tentatively right and left in flow with the <s and >s as if directing airplanes to their gates. I begin muttering like a paranoid schizophrenic, telling myself that “plus signs means addition, so those lines must be new, and those double @ signs mean an owl is staring at me, no, wait . . . .”

Apple recently featured a tool on its download site called MDR: Make Diffs Readable that transforms diffs from the inscrutability of Finnegans Wake to something along the lines of Fun with Dick and Jane. Now, before each commit, I type:

git diff | mdr

The output looks something like this:

No hand-waving, no head tilting, no confusion, no owls. I immediately understand what changed and what differences I’m committing. Great freeware tool from Half Full Heart.

Sadly, now that I see my code more clearly, I realize the gulf between me and Torvalds is wider than I realized.


Guiffy SureMerge is Today’s MacZot, Works Cross-Platform

By Rob Warner  //  Development  //  2 Comments

Today’s MacZot is Guiffy SureMerge, a three-way diff/merge tool. It’s discounted 49% today only ($30 vs $59), and the Guiffy website says a license allows you to use the product on all supported platforms (Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows).

Why am I excited about another diff tool? This apparently is the excellent three-way diff tool built in to the AccuRev client that we use at Availity, where I work, and it makes diffing and merging SO much easier. I use Git for my side projects, and diffing and merging isn’t nearly as easy as it is using AccuRev and the integrated Guiffy tool. Guiffy publishes instructions for using SureMerge with Git.

Anyway, I love this tool in AccuRev, so I’ll be jumping on this MacZot today!


10 Must-Install Mac Applications

By Rob Warner  //  Development, iOS, Java, Mac, Rails, Ruby  //  11 Comments

I’m a software developer, so bear in mind that my Mac is for working and coding (mostly Objective-C, Java, and Ruby). You won’t find apps for ripping DVDs, viewing videos, or playing Canasta. These are the apps I use over and over to get my job done. Note that I assume a Mac OS X installation, so I didn’t include Safari or Xcode — you’d better have those already installed.

  1. Visor
    Because it’s all about the command line. Having a terminal window a keystroke away, in a predictable screen location, makes the world a better place.
  2. MacVim
    The programming world, it seems, is rediscovering the power of vi — and vim really does improve on vi.
  3. Git
    If it ain’t in source control, it doesn’t exist.
  4. DropBox
    Perfect for backup and for synchronizing files across machines. My dot files, e-books, and documents are always available, whichever machine I’m on.
  5. Alfred
    The new kid on the launcher block is my favorite. Be sure to check out the Powerpack as well — worth the money, and I like where they’re going.
  6. Evernote
    Best junk-drawer note-taking app keeps it all in the cloud so I get my notes on all my devices.
  7. Kiwi
    I get most of my tech news from Twitter, and Kiwi works great. Clean UI, themeable, supports multiple accounts . . . now, if they would just make mouse-less tweeting a reality, it would be perfect.
  8. TotalFinder
    The second app from binaryage; no, I don’t know these people. A much-improved finder that gives you tabs, dual windows, folders on top, hidden files. Excellent.
  9. Pixelmator
    If I were a graphic artist or a true designer, I’m sure I’d be neck-deep in Adobe’s suite. I’m not, so I’m not. I can get all my graphics needs done in Pixelmator. I dropped GIMP for this.
  10. Eclipse
    Java pays my bills. You can’t propose any good reason to develop in a compiled language outside an IDE that compiles on save. Eclipse is still king.

I had to leave off some good stuff (Chrome? Balsamiq Mockups? Transmit? Hyperspaces?) to narrow the list to 10, and I’m sure you’re shocked that I left Tool X or App Y off the list. Get outraged, and let me know in the comments.


I'm Rob Warner, and I'm a software developer. I live in Jacksonville, Florida, and work for Availity, LLC. The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Availity.