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How to Compare XML and Other Files


The ability to diff and merge files is a necessity for every developer. This can be especially troublesome when trying to compare differences between files containing structured data, such as XML.

The video tutorial below provides an explanation on how to compare XML files – and more – using both XMLSpy and DiffDog. These powerful utilities perform diff and merge operations in an XML-aware manner, which reduces the number of false positives seen when comparing files.

Compare XML files with XMLSpy

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Three-Way File Comparison and Difference Merging


Manually comparing versions of a long XML Schema or document to find any differences would be a tedious and error-prone task. XMLSpy has long featured file comparison with highlighted differences in side-by-side windows with merging in either direction. And of course, DiffDog is the go-to comparison utility for text, source code, XML, JSON, and Word documents. Now both XMLSpy and DiffDog support three-way file comparison and difference merging.

Three-way file comparison is especially relevant for files managed in any source control system where two users may have started from the same source file and made different edits that need to be reconciled.

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Add to Your Collection of Development Building Blocks


When it comes to developing sophisticated software and data integration applications, the more building blocks a developer has at his or her disposal, the better. With each release of our developer and server software, we aim to provide customers with unique tools that give them the edge to get the job done – faster, and more efficiently.

To that end, Version 2018 delivers a unique HTTP testing window, 3-way file comparison functionality, support for SQL Templates, super-powered new server options, and much more.

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DiffDog E-book Now Available


We’ve published an e-book in multiple formats for your favorite tablet or other e-reader.

DiffDog Field Trials e-book cover image

DiffDog Field Trials is a collection of information from the Altova blog, Tech Notes from the Library section of the Altova Web site, and DiffDog product feature pages. The e-book describes a wide range of real-world applications for DiffDog, Altova’s XML-aware diff/merge tool for files, folders, directories, and databases.

You can download DiffDog Field Trials from the Altova Web site in various formats:

· EPUB (1.57 mb)

· Kindle (3.08 mb)

· PDF (11.1 mb)

· iBooks (16.5 mb)

Or, look for DiffDog Field Trials soon in your favorite online electronic bookstore.

Editing EPUB files with DiffDog

As you can see from the list above, EPUB, the XML-based free and open e-book standard by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF), is potentially the most efficient sharable file format. An EPUB document is based on a ZIP compressed archive containing style information, text formatted as html, and the images that appear in the e-book.

Altova XMLSpy provides powerful support for accessing, editing, validating and previewing EPUB 2.x documents. We used XMLSpy to assemble the EPUB version of our book, where we were able to interactively preview the result as we worked:
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Taming Bad Input Data with FlowForce Server


Whenever you accept data from an outside source you risk encountering errors. We have blogged about this phenomenon in the past in Expect the Unexpected – Altova MissionKit Solves a Number Format Mystery and in the series of posts on Processing the Groupon API.

Bad data in an input file can cause the data transformation step of a FlowForce Server job to fail. When a FlowForce Server Job fails, further execution steps will not be performed. FlowForce Server is designed this way to prevent an error in one job step from cascading into a series of additional invalid results. Happily, FlowForce Server also includes features to help you recover from errors and keep production flowing.

In this post we will further extend the data mapping and report rendering job described in Customizing a FlowForce Server Job to gracefully handle bad data in an input file.

FlowForce Server New Job Steps
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Compare Folders Fast and Efficiently with DiffDog


Three user preferences in DiffDog work together to accelerate directory differencing tasks into hyperdrive, especially when you compare folders with thousands of files.DiffDog can perform specialized comparisons. For instance, XML comparison mode commands DiffDog to determine whether two files contain equivalent XML content, even if they would be different in a text comparison because of spacing, line-ending, or attribute order variations. For the fastest directory comparisons, choose Quick Comparison mode, which only looks at file sizes and modification dates.

DiffDog Quick Comparison toolbar button

When you compare large directories, most often you want to quickly locate differences. Choose the Hide Equal setting to avoid listing all identical files.

DiffDog Show/Hide equal toolbar button

Show/Hide empty directories should be set to Hide, otherwise subdirectories that contain identical files will be listed, but since their contents are equal, none of the files are shown.

DiffDog Show/Hide empty directories toolbar button

After you choose settings and click the Compare button, DiffDog flies through the directory comparison.

DiffDog Quick Comparison progress bar

When the comparison is finished DiffDog displays a concise listing showing only the differences, with a summary message at the bottom of the window. The toolbar in the screenshot below illustrates the settings for Quick Comparison on, Show Equal files off, and Show Empty directories off.

DiffDog directory comparison results

DiffDog saves your preferences to apply to the next folder comparison, and DiffDog even includes a quick synchronization tool to merge folders in either direction.

DiffDog Synchronize directories summary

Find out for yourself how fast DiffDog can run your folder comparisons – download a fully-functional, free 30-day trial!

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Web Service as a Look-Up Table to Refine GPS Data


Elevation data recorded by GPS devices is notoriously inaccurate, especially in hilly terrain like the Russian River Valley example from our earlier post.

The final elevation track plotted from the Russian River Valley GPX file is suspicious for several reasons. First, the graph shows we descended almost 50 feet below sea level. That’s hard to believe, since we were travelling along the bank of the river, only about 10 miles from the Pacific Ocean.

Altova StyleVision ChartSecondly, we were headed mostly west, following the river downstream, but the track shows a predominantly uphill trend.

We can evaluate the recorded GPS elevation data by comparing it to information available from the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The USGS operates a Web service that accepts latitude and longitude coordinates, and returns elevation data measured by NASA and assessed for accuracy based on over 13,000 control points in the continental United States.

Using the elevation Web service in an Altova MapForce mapping will let us extract each point from the GPX file, send the coordinates to the USGS Web service, and build a new GPX file with corrected elevation data.

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