Yet another visual diff for git

I’m relatively new to git and I’m already in love with it, but there was one thing that bugged me and I couldn’t get a good answer anywhere else, so I wrote my own thing, posting it so maybe you can find it helpful.

The problem: Use a visual diff tool for git; and view all diffs at once.

All other solutions show me how to use a visual diff tool for git but they all have a common weakness – they show only one file at a time, which is a bummer b/c many times what I’d like to do is look at all the changed files and switch between them going back and forth.

So, as mentioned there are already many posted solutions how to set up visual diff in git for various platforms including linux, windows, osx (just Google it), so all I had to do is implement a really small change to one of them.

Step 1: Create a wrapper script in /usr/bin/

# diff is called by git with 7 parameters:
# path old-file old-hex old-mode new-file new-hex new-mode
cp $2 %2-keepme
diffmerge "$2-keepme" "$5" &
sleep 5 && rm $2-keepme &

Don’t forget to chmod +x /usr/bin/

Step 2: Configure git to use your script

$ git config --global diff.external /usr/bin/

That’s all!

I use os x so for linux systems it’s basically the same script. Windows might have to change a bit, but I’m not that good and win…

I assume you have diffmerge installed. If not, either use a different visual diff tool or download and install it (free).

Here’s the trick : when git runs a a diff it creates temporary files for each index file and deletes them right after the external diff program for that specific file exited. So what I did is simple copy the files to other files ($2-keepme), run the diff in the background, sleep for 5 seconds to make sure the diff program reads the files and then delete them for clean up.

cp $2 %2-keepme
diffmerge “$2-keepme” “$5″ &
sleep 5 && rm $2-keepme &

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