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How to access the compare function

Right now, the only way to use the compare function is via the command line. The format is:
SLNTools.exe CompareSolutions <old.sln> <new.sln>

Usually, this command should be set in the options of the source control plugin. For Team Foundation Client, the options can be found in the "Tools \ Options \ Source Control \ Visual Studio Team Foundation Server \ Configure User Tools..." menu in Visual Studio. You can then add a specific Compare operation associated to SLN files, like this:
ConfigureToolCompare_TFS.JPG

I assume that other source control applications have a feature similar to this.

User interface

When solutions are compared, the result looks like this:

SolutionComparer.JPG

How does it work

Comparing solutions in SLNTools work like this:
  1. The solution files are read and all the elements associated to a project are linked to the GUID of the project (ex. project attributes, project sections, Source Control lines, Project Configuration Platforms lines, Nested Projects lines). The lines not related to a specific project are linked to the global section in which they are defined (ex. Solution Configuration Platforms lines).
  2. Then, the comparison is made on all the elements that were found, using the project GUID or section name or attribute name or line name as the key in the comparison:
    1. If an element is found in the old solution but cannot be found in the new solution, an "element has been removed" item is added to the result tree.
    2. If an element is found in the new solution but cannot be found in the old solution, an "element has been added" item is added to the result tree.
    3. If an element is found in both solutions then the childs of the element are compared in a similar way. By example, if a project is found in both solution but one of the attribute associated to the project has been removed, the result tree would show "Project X has been modified" and under it another node would show "Attribute Y has been removed".

Last edited Apr 5, 2009 at 9:15 PM by christianwarren, version 4

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