Feature request: ignore control characters in online editor?

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May 9, 2018, 2:43:28 PM5/9/18
to Mergely
First off, I'm very happy to have found this tool. I've wasted too much time importing data into new MSWord documents, saving, comparing, editing, re-saving, re-comparing... so please take my comments below as a very minor critique/plea.

Second, I'm using the online editor, not the downloadable tool. I've no clue if that makes a difference.

Ignore white space works pretty well, but doesn't ignore carriage returns and some other white-space-like control characters. It would be nice if there was a way to ignore all control or non-printing characters (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Control_character)

It would also be nice if the ignore white space or ignore non-printing characters feature would ignore them when showing other differences too. An example will explain better: http://www.mergely.com/sxiiFJkJ/

With the current ignore white space selected, I see that the LHS line is struck out and both the RHS lines are new (not helpful). I expected to see that the words "1. list" from LHS and "1.list" from RHS were the same while the word "test" would be struck out from the first line on LHS and the RHS would have added a second line with the word "test". If an "ignore control characters" setting was added and turned on, I'd expect the LHS and RHS to have no differences.

Why would this feature help? I compare lists frequently looking for every word and punctuation difference. Word differences matter a lot. Punctuation differences might matter, it depends. But white space, new lines, pagination, column breaks, they rarely mean anything - and if they do mean something, you wouldn't turn on ignore white space.

Minor caveat: would I want something like "Find the cat a tonic dude!" and "Find the catatonic dude!" to be marked as differences? Yes - they mean different things. But should that difference be identified when ignoring white space? No - nothing is perfect.

Jamie Peabody

May 9, 2018, 4:00:29 PM5/9/18
to rpla...@gmail.com, Mergely
Glad you find Mergely useful.  There is no difference between the online editor vs the downloadable tool.

Regarding control characters - it might be possible to include some control characters, but it would have to be very selective about ones to ignore.

Regarding "1. list" example - the algorithm works line-by-line, not character-by-character.  It is an speed and memory optimization that first finds lines that differ, and then characters within those lines.  I considered a character-compare feature but never got around to it.  You're the first person to ask.

Regarding the "cat a tonic" example - it behaves as expected.  I ran that example through GNU diff and it also shows no differences.

I think in both cases, you're expecting "ignore whitespace" to ignore new lines, not spaces between words.

In all these cases, it is unlikely I'll get to implementing it in the near future.  You're welcome to submit feature requests here (one per request): https://github.com/wickedest/Mergely/issues

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