Friday, 31 March 2017

Damo's March 2017 Podcast Highlights

I subscribe to many podcasts, you can see the list as it was in 2015 here: Developer podcasts v2. I'm keeping a podcast blog here of the episodes that I find interesting or useful in some way.


[AWS Podcast] Security in Serverless Architectures
  • In this special episode, Bryan Liston, Developer Advocate for AWS Serverless, speaks with Mark Nunnikhoven, Vice President, Cloud Research, TrendMicro and Adam Johnson, Cofounder at IOpipes. The discuss considerations for security in serverless architectures, with plenty of “war stories”!

[Pivotal Podcasts] Beyond "Survival Is Not Mandatory"
  • Tactical advice for organizations who are finding it difficult to do all the right things that DevOps and cloud-native think are prescriptive.

[The Cloudcast] Monoliths and Microservices
  • Chat about evolving technology and organizational culture
  • How to think about monolithic applications in today’s business context
  • The challenges of microservices
  • Lessons learned from good CI practices
  • Emerging patterns to evolve existing applications.

[DevOps Chat] The 7 Habits of Successful DevOps
  • Lessons learned building visual studio online
  • Team autonomy and enterprise alignment
  • Rigorous management of technical debt.
  • Focus on the flow of customer value
  • Hypothesis driven development or a backlog that gets groomed with learning
  • Gather evidence in production
  • A production first mindset
  • Manage infrastructure as a flexible resource


[oredev] 7 minutes, 26 seconds, and the Fundamental Theorem of Agile Software Development
  • Fred Brooks' essay "No Silver Bullet" taught us that no single technique can bring us an order-of-magnitude improvement within a single decade. In spite of this, from his ideas of essential and accidental complication, we can conclude something stunning about the nature of agile software development.
  • A quick interesting talk about Agile, TDD, Refactoring and why your estimates suck
  • Accidental complexity vs essential complexity
  • And how if you want to be consistent in your estimates you need to refactor out all accidental complexity
  • Effort = f(g(e ), h(a)) == g(e) + h(a)
  • Effort is a function of the essential complexity plus accidental complexity. Or in other words effort required is roughly equal to essesial plus accidental complexity

[Agile for Humans] A Panel Discussion on #NoEstimates
  • #NoEstimates means many different things to many different people. The group defined #NoEstimates as a conversation around when estimates are appropriate and to which level of precision teams should target.
  • We noted that the hashtag can lead to more “heat than light”, but also acknowledged that a rich conversation has formed around the questions that #NoEstimates poses.
  • To some this did not go far enough and we continued to highlight other benefits of estimating such as:
    • Conversations that occur when estimating
    • Shared understand of programming activities
    • Enabling decision making at the executive level
    • Validating project/program/product assumptions
    • Indication of possible issues when reality and the estimate do not match

[Agile for Humans] Mob Programming with Woody Zuill
  • Mob programming involves the whole team working on the same thing, at the same time, in the same space, and at the same computer. You can think of it as pair programming turned up to eleven.
  • What are the benefits that mob programming can bring to a team, how it can simplify the hiring and on-boarding process, and what to do when the mob needs some alone time.

[Hanselminutes] Lean Customer Development with Cindy Alvarez
  • Cindy Alvarez is the author of Lean Customer Development. How do you develop products that people will actually use and buy? She shows Scott how to validate product and company ideas through customer development research—before we waste months and millions on a product or service that no one needs or wants

Programming and Testing

[StrangeLoop] Rich Hickey Simple Made Easy
  • Rich Hickey emphasizes simplicity’s virtues over easiness’, showing that while many choose easiness they may end up with complexity, and the better way is to choose easiness along the simplicity path.
  • We should aim for simplicity because simplicity is a prerequisite for reliability.
  • Simple is often erroneously mistaken for easy. "Easy" means "to be at hand", "to be approachable". "Simple" is the opposite of "complex" which means "being intertwined", "being tied together". Simple != easy.

[Toolsday] Git
  • Git is something we use every day
  • Discussions about some tools, tips, and tricks to make using git better.

[Software Engineering Radio] Developer Testing
  • Developer testing is more than unit testing. In most cases, developers need to supplement their unit tests with higher-level tests, such as integration tests and end-to-end tests.
  • Topics include Developer Testing, Agile Testing, Programming by Contract, Specification Based Testing,

[Software Engineering Daily] Cloudbleed and SHA-1 Collision
  • Discussion about the Cloudbleed bug, which leaked tons of plaintext requests from across the Internet into plain view.
  • And the first collision attack against SHA-1 demonstrated by researchers at Google, foretelling the demise of SHA-1 as a safe hashing function.
  • What does this mean for the average engineer? What are the implications for regular internet users? Haseeb Qureshi interviews Max Burkhardt, a security researcher at Airbnb, to get to the bottom of what exactly happened, what it means, and how it affects the security of web applications.

[JS Party] Security on the web, Node async/await, and AR.js
  • Security on the web
  • SHA-1 is broken
  • Node.js v7.6 gets async/await

[JavaScript Jabber] The 20th Anniversary of Visual Studio
  • Bowden Kelly is currently working on the Typescript language and Javascript dev tools across Visual Studio VS code and other editing environments in preparation for Visual Studio 2017 release coming soon.
  • When to use VS for Javascript?
  • New features for Javascript in the new Visual Studio
  • Features Bowden likes
  • What is the relationship with the angular team
  • What can you expect in future
  • The reality of types in javascript

[Angular Air] The Importance of Learning JavaScript

[.NET Rocks!] Beyond Legacy Code with David Bernstein
  • How do you manage legacy code?
  • The conversation starts out talking about what legacy code is - and David brings up the idea that code is legacy if you don't have confidence in it. Now how do you get confidence? This is where the rewrite behavior comes from: You're naturally more confident in your own code. But is it a good idea? David talks about nine practices that are most effective at getting your application under control and out of legacy!
  • Say What, Why, and for Whom Before How excerpt
  • Build in Small Batches
  • Integrate Continuously
  • Collaborate
  • Create CLEAN Code
  • Write the Test First
  • Specify Behaviors with Tests
  • Implement the Design Last
  • Refactor Legacy Code excerpt

[Cucumber Podcast] Approval Testing
  • Approval testing is a test technique which compares the current output of your code with an "approved" version. The approved version is created by initially examining the test output and approving the result.
  • You can revisit the approved version and easily update it when the requirements change.

[Software Engineering Daily] WebAssembly with Brendan Eich
  • Brendan Eich created the first version of JavaScript in 10 days
  • Today Brendan Eich is still pushing the web forward across the technology stack with his involvement in the WebAssembly specification and the Brave browser.
  • For all of its progress, JavaScript struggles to run resource-intensive programs like complex video games. With JavaScript falling short on its charge to be the “assembly language for the web” the four major browser vendors started collaborating on the WebAssembly project to allow programming languages a faster, lower level compile target when deploying to the web.


[Simple Programmer Podcast] 7 Habits That Ruin Your Technical Team
  • Technical leads and managers work hard to hire the best people, choose the best tools, implement the best process, and deliver great software. Unfortunately, our actions too often sabotage our best efforts, producing frustrated teams, poor software quality and driving away our best developers.
  • What are the habits that ruin a technical team and how you can avoid them, based on his new book, with the same name.

[On Books] 10 Life-Changing Spring Cleaning Tips from the life changing magic of tidying up
  • 10. Discard all at once
  • 9. Collect everything in one spot
  • 8. Discard first, before you put things back
  • 7. Visualize a clutter-free space
  • 6. Choose what you want to keep, not what you want to get rid of
  • 5. The order of discarding matters
  • 4. Avoid attachment anxiety
  • 3. Learn how to fold clothes (aka. I was doing it wrong)
  • 2. Ask yourself, “Does this spark joy?”
  • 1. Make space for your mission in life

[Focus 53] Stop Making Excuses, Fix Your Excuses & Grow Your Business - Cameron Herold
  • Cameron Herold, the mastermind behind the exponential growth of hundreds of companies. Cameron built a dynamic consultancy and his current clients include a Big Four wireless carrier and a monarchy.
  • His clients say what they like the most about him is that he isn't a "theory" guy. He speaks from experience. He's actually done the things he talks about doing.

[Freakonomics Radio] Why Is My Life So Hard?
  • Most of us feel we face more headwinds and obstacles than everyone else — which breeds resentment. We also undervalue the tailwinds that help us — which leaves us ungrateful and unhappy. How can we avoid this trap?
  • This is just human nature, if you could objectively look at your life you would see you don't have it so bad.
  • May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back.

[Focus 53] Put Me In The Rafters | Strive To Be A Champion
  • There's a lot of great people in business and in the sports world that are not in the rafters but still live epic lives.
  • Are you working hard to get into the rafters? Or are you just going with the flow and drifting? Are you fulfilling your destiny and using your God-given skills to better yourself and the world, to better your family, to better your life, and to better your circumstances? Are you getting up everyday letting your feet up the ground, getting fired up to be the best you can be?

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Damo's Febuary 2017 Podcast Highlights

I subscribe to many podcasts, you can see the list as it was in 2015 here: Developer podcasts v2. I'm keeping a podcast blog here of the episodes that I find interesting or useful in some way.


[.NET Rocks!] Ops and Operability with Dan North
  • Dig into the challenges of operating modern applications and how a constant demand for new features can be destabilizing to software. 
  • The conversation explores getting to the root of concerns in systems so that everyone understands what is hard and what is easy. 
  • When people are misunderstood, fear and resistance almost always follow.

[RunAs Radio] The MongoDB Exploit with Niall Merrigan
  • Are your noSQL stores safe? While at NDC London, Richard chatted with Niall Merrigan about the latest wave of exploits targeting MongoDB, ElasticSearch and others. 
  • As Niall explains, the challenge is that the default security models for many of these products leaves them vulnerable to outside attack. As these attacks have progressed, they have presented themselves as ransomware - data is removed and a bitcoin account offered up to restore the data. However, to date, even when the ransoms are paid, no data is restored. 
  • Apparently there is no honour among thieves.

Programming and testing

[Coding Blocks] Clean Code – How to Write Amazing Unit Tests
  • When and why should you write unit tests, and just how important are they?

[DevOps Interviews - Channel 9] Interview with Gopinath
  • In this interview, Senior DevOps Program Manager Donovan Brown interviews Principal PM Manager Gopinath Chigakkagari about Testing.

[Herding Code] Richard Campbell on Humanitarian Toolbox
  • Humanitarian Toolbox is a collection of open source projects, and they’re initially focused on the allReady project. 
  • allReady started to help the Red Cross organize and coordinate smoke detector installation efforts to prevent home fire disasters. 
  • Software can help through things like mapping, mobile apps, and Twilio based notifications. 
  • Just the simple addition of reminder notifications before going out to install smoke detectors has raised their install rate from about 30% to about 80%.

[LDNUG - London .net user group] February meetup (12 factor apps)
  • The buzz is all around Cloud Native: continuous deployment and easy scaling of your server side code. You have heard about Docker and Microservices, but what are 12-factor apps?
  • The Twelve-Factor App methodology (, was created by engineers with experience of delivering apps on Heroku, and is a "recipe for success" when authoring code for cloud native scenarios. 
  • In this presentation we will look at what a Twelve-Factor App is, and demonstrate how to meet the requirements when creating .NET applications. We will show examples using ASP.NET Core, Brighter and Darker of authoring code to meet these requirements, and show its deployment to containers.
  • Presentation is now online -

[The Changelog] 99 Practical Bottles of OOP with Sandi Metz
  • Sandi Metz joined the show to talk about her beginnings on a mainframe, her 30+ years of programming experience, the ins and outs of OOP, her book Practical Object-Oriented Design in Ruby (aka POODR), as well as her latest book 99 Bottles of OOP which she co-authored with Katrina Owen


[.NET Rocks!] Conway`s Law with Mark Seemann
  • What is Conway's Law and how does it apply to your organization? 
  • How organization structure affects the structure of software. 
  • That is the essence of Conway's Law, going all the way back to the 1960s, where he talked about how committees designing software end up making software that reflects the structure of the committees themselves. This leads to a broad conversation about how virtually every company today is actually a software company, and that software represents a vital asset to most businesses, but they may not recognize it yet. 
  • Getting your organization into shape to build great software can be the difference between success and bankruptcy!

Agile, Teams and Business analysis

[Agile For Humans] #NoEstimates with Vasco Duarte
  • One of the staring points of #NoEstimates is: “We as an industry are not able to estimate well.”
  • With that starting point, alternatives are necessary. #NoEstimates seeks to explore those alternatives.

[Agile in 3 Minutes] Mob programming

[Agile Weekly] Episode #107 – Is Agile Faster?
  • Is agile faster?
  • Why is agile faster?

[Agile for humans] 5 Base Patterns to Guide Agile Teams
  • Measure economic progress
  • Experiment
  • Limit work in progress
  • Embrace collective responsibility
  • Solve systemic problems
  • Top down vs. bottom up agile transformations
  • Some discussions about no estimates and the limitations of such a technique

Other interests and stuff

[Developer Tea] The Einstellung Effect
  • Einstellung is the development of a mechanized state of mind. Often called a problem solving set, Einstellung refers to a person's predisposition to solve a given problem in a specific manner even though better or more appropriate methods of solving the problem exist. The Einstellung effect is the negative effect of previous experience when solving new problems.
  • Thus older and more experienced developers are more prone to the Einstellung effect than younger less experienced ones.

[The Ruby Rogues] The Future of Work in Web Development
  • Erik is currently working on a book which he titled “Developer Hegemony”. It centres around the idea of software developers and the future of software development.
  • In its broadest sense, software developers would leave big enterprise organizations and shift to more freelance work. They would unite and create firms that focus on application development. These firms would then be in contract with large enterprises.

[On Books] Kevin Kelly on The Inevitable, 60s Counterculture, and How to Read Better
  • The Counterculture movement of the 60s
  • Travelling as an act of rebellion
  • Kevin’s latest book The Inevitable in which he writes that, “Much of what will happen in the next thirty years is inevitable, driven by technological trends that are already in motion.” He’ll share some of those predictions with us.
  • Lessons on how to read better

[On Books] Book Summary: The Inevitable by Kevin Kelly
  • The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future, by Kevin Kelly.
  • The Inevitable is driven by the idea that the technological trends of the next 30 years can be predicted. Over 336 pages the book breaks down the Top 12 technological forces at work such as: “Becoming, Cognifying, Flowing, Screening, Accessing, Sharing, Filtering, Remixing, Interacting, Tracking, Questioning, and Beginning.”

[LSE] Politics: between the extremes
  • A cautionary tale. An exposé. A defence of the centre-ground. An appeal to reason. A call to arms. An honest account from the top and bottom of British politics. 
  • Come along to this public conversation with former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg who will be speaking about his new book, Politics: Between the Extremes.

[LSE] Politics after Brexit and Trump
  • A year of unpredictable political upheavals in the industrialised world promises an interesting period ahead. What are the lessons from Brexit and the Trump election for our democracy?
  • Richard H. Pildes is the Sudler Family Professor of Constitutional Law at the New York University Law School. He is one of the nation's leading scholars of constitutional law and a specialist in legal issues affecting democracy.
  • Mervyn King was Governor of the Bank of England from 2003 to 2013, and is currently School Professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Lord King was made a life peer in 2013, and appointed by the Queen a Knight of the Garter in 2014.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Damo's January 2017 Podcast Highlights

I subscribe to many podcasts, you can see the list as it was in 2015 here: Developer podcasts v2. I'm keeping a podcast blog here of the episodes that I find interesting or useful in some way.


[RunAs Radio] The DevOps Handbook with Gene Kim
  • The DevOps Handbook is finally released! Richard chats with the one-and-only Gene Kim about the five years of effort that have gone into making the DevOps handbook. Gene talks about how the Handbook was supposed to come out before the Phoenix project, but as the scope of the book grew, they realized it needed more time. The benefit of time has been a ton of case studies and great detailed evidence of how automating workflows, instrumenting systems deeply and a culture of experimentation leads to better applications, happier employees and customers, and a better business all around. You need to read this book!

[Radio TFS] A New Year with Donovan Brown
  • Donovan is a Principal Program Manager for DevOps in the Developer Division at Microsoft, focusing on developer tools including Visual Studio Team Services and Team Foundation Server.
  • In this episode Greg, Martin, Josh and Angela are joined by Donovan Brown to talk TFS, VSTS and, of all things, DevOps!

Programming and Testing

[No Fluff Just Stuff] REST is Dead, Long Live the Web!
  • REST is dead, long live the Web

[Full Stack Radio] Toran Billups - Test Driving the Front-end

[No Fluff Just Stuff] Professional Git with Brent Laster
  • He talks and trains in-depth on not only in Git and source control, but continuous delivery concepts, and a variety of different topics. He’s just published his book, “Professional Git,” by Brent Laster. It’s available on Amazon. We sat down to dive deep and talk all things Git

[Software Engineering Daily] Bots Podcast with Jon Bruner
  • Over the next few years, bots will pervade our lives more and more. These smart, conversational text interfaces provide a new way of engaging with the computer systems that we have been mostly interacting with through web and mobile app interfaces for the last decade.
  • Bots are a necessary complement to the voice interfaces of the future, because we don’t always want to talk to the computer, and natural language processing is not yet good enough to always translate our vocal request accurately. Bots are not toys, they aren’t trivial, and they aren’t going away any time soon.

[Complete Developer Podcast] Learning A Second Language
  • Before starting to learn a new programming language you should take a few considerations. How different is the new language from your current one? Compare the envivornment, paradigm, syntax, and level of automatic operations between the languages.
  • Tim Ferris wrote up twelve rules for learning a a new language. His rules were for a spoken language but they can also be applied to programming languages.
  • Learn the right words, the right way.
  • Learn cognates, things that are the same across languages.
  • Interact daily in the language through spaced repetition in a controlled environment.
  • Daily spoken practice.
  • Look for free resources.
  • Realize that experience makes it easier to infer rules.
  • Learn to effectively use mnemonics.
  • Embrace mistakes.
  • Create Smart goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Bound).
  • Jump from conversational to mastery.
  • Learn to sound more native through the use of idioms.
  • Keep going until you actually get things down.

[Software Engineering Radio] Peter Hilton on Naming
  • why naming is much harder than we think, why naming matters in programming and program comprehension, how to create good names, and recognize bad names, and how to improve your naming skills.

[Cucumber Podcast] Cucumber Anti-Patterns
  • Matt, Steve, and Aslak from the core Cucumber team discuss writing good gherkin and avoiding common pitfalls.
  • We’ll unpick why it’s important to write your gherkin before you write the code, consider if you should ever delete scenarios, and give tips on incorporating your team’s different perspectives into maintainable, predictable cukes!

[Software Engineering Radio] Gerald Weinberg on Bugs Errors and Software Quality
  • Gerald Weinberg about software errors, the fallacy of perfection, how languages and process can reduce errors, and the attitude great programmers have about their work. Gerald’s new book, Errors: Bugs, Boo-boos, and Blunders, focuses on why programmers make errors, how teams can improve their software, and how management should think of and discuss errors. We learn why all programs are perfect (for something), quality can be judged only by the end user of the software, and computers act as “error amplifiers” for our own human imperfections.


[Software Engineering Daily] Reactive Microservices with Jonas Boner
  • For many years, software companies have been breaking up their applications into individual services for the purpose of isolation and maintainability. In the early 2000s, we called this pattern “service-oriented architecture”. Today we call it “microservices”.
  • The reactive manifesto is a collection of principles for how to build applications. When the reactive manifesto is applied to the idea of microservices, we get reactive microservices, which Jonas and I discuss in today’s episode.

[Software Engineering Daily] Self-Contained Systems with Eberhard Wolff
  • Self-contained systems is an architectural approach that separates the functionality of a system into many independent systems. Each self-contained system is an autonomous web application, and is owned by one team. Communication with other self-contained systems or 3rd party systems is asynchronous where possible.
  • As Eberhard Wolff explains in this episode, self-contained systems is not the same thing as microservices, but they are not mutually exclusive. Organizations often adopt a mix of architectural ideas, and it is worth understanding these different models so you can decide which of them to apply to your own projects.

[Software Engineering Daily] Evolutionary Architecture with Neal Ford
  • Evolutionary architecture supports incremental, guided change as a first principle along multiple dimensions. A company with an evolutionary architecture is structured to evolve in response to changes inside the company (such as a decision to change the product) or outside the company (such as the emergence of Docker). Neal Ford is an architect at ThoughtWorks and one the creators of the evolutionary architecture concept.

[AWS Podcast] Serverless Special
  • Bryan Liston, Developer Advocate for AWS Serverless, speaks with Matt Weagle, Ant Stanley & Ben Kehoe. They discuss server less architectures, testing and other fun topics!

Agile, Teams and Business analysis

[Mastering Business Analysis] Split Your Stories!
  • The problems big user stories can cause
  • How big your user stories should be
  • Why splitting stories helps create a shared understanding
  • How just four splitting techniques apply to almost all stories

[Agile for Humans] Agile is a cancer
  • Zach is an independent consultant who recently posted a provocative article called: “The Subversion of Agile: Agile is a Cancer”. We discussed his post, talked about what the cancer is in the community that needs to be removed about posts from others in the community about the “death of Agile”.

[Developing Up] The Four Attributes of a Great Development Team
  • The four attributes of a great development team:
  • Communication
  • Responsibility
  • Positive attitudes
  • Collaboration

[Developing Up] The Importance of one-on-ones
  • Great developers need great support, feedback and communication. In today's episode we talk about the importance of regular one-on-one meetings for both developers and managers. We discuss how managers can establish and maintain successful one-on-one meetings. We then discuss how as a developer you can take ownership of and benefit from these meetings.

[Mastering Business Analysis] Using Behavior Driven Development for Better User Stories
  • Better understand how to get better at user stories and how behavior driven development (BDD) helps create a shared understanding. We also discuss how to create the nirvana state of living requirements.

[.NET Rocks!] Punishment Driven Development with Louise Elliott
  • The beatings will continue until morale improves!
  • Louise talks about getting rid of blame and punishment, whether self-inflicted or team-inflicted, so that the individual unique contributions and capabilities of every member of the team are valued. The conversation also dives into creating constructive incentives - not pitting team members or separate teams against each other, actually making sure everyone is focused on making sure the business is successful.

Other interests and stuff

[Revisionist History] Blame Game
  • How can we all make human error
  • The simplest solution often is
  • Cars with runaway acceleration. And what to do if it does. It can happen to you, honestly
  • In the summer and fall of 2009, hundreds of Toyota owners came forward with an alarming allegation: Their cars were suddenly and uncontrollably accelerating. Toyota was forced to recall 10 million vehicles, pay a fine of more than $1 billion, and settle countless lawsuits. The consensus was that there was something badly wrong with the world’s most popular cars. Except that there wasn’t.
  • “Blame Game” looks under the hood at one of the strangest public hysterias in recent memory. What really happened in all those Camrys and Lexuses? And how did so many drivers come to misunderstand so profoundly what was happening to them behind the wheel? The answer touches on our increasingly fraught relationship to technology and the dishonesty and naiveté of many in the media.

[TED Talks] How to gain control of your free time
  • There are 168 hours in each week. How do we find time for what matters most? Time management expert Laura Vanderkam studies how busy people spend their lives, and she's discovered that many of us drastically overestimate our commitments each week, while underestimating the time we have to ourselves. She offers a few practical strategies to help find more time for what matters to us, so we can "build the lives we want in the time we've got."

[TED Talks] Bring on the female superheroes!
  • Why is it so hard to find female superhero merchandise? In this passionate, sparkling talk, media studies scholar (and father of a Star Wars-obsessed daughter) Christopher Bell addresses the alarming lack of female superheroes in the toys and products marketed to kids — and what it means for how we teach them about the world.

[Developer On Fire] Neal Ford - Architecting Appreciation

[No Fluff Just Stuff] Lifelong Learning with Venkat Subramaniam

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Using beyond compare with Git on Linux (and windows)

EDIT - See footer for more info and an alternative to the main body of this post.

I'm a massive fan of Beyond compare, I use it a lot. It's brilliant for all the tasks related to file and folder diffs, either on the file system or in source control when viewing changes between revisions or branches.

Using git diff is ok when you are looking at a small set of changes but if there are many changes across many files I much prefer to use beyond compare to visualise the change set.

Git / Beyond Compare integration

The following code snippets are taken from a centos linux build, but there is no reason that with a little tweak this wont work on a windows machine. (In fact the little tweak is shown in the appendix at the bottom).

Edit your ~/.gitconfig (c:/users/UserName on windows) by adding the following:

  tool = bcompare
[difftool "bcompare"]
  cmd = bcompare \"$LOCAL\" \"$REMOTE\"
  prompt = false
  tool = bcompare
[mergetool "bcompare"]
  cmd = bcompare \"$LOCAL\" \"$REMOTE\" \"$BASE\" \"$MERGED\"
  keepBackup = false
  trustExitCode = false
  diffdir = difftool -dir-diff -tool=bcompare -no-prompt

The above assumes that you have installed beyond compare and it is now accessible from the terminal as bcompare. In fact you can see how I install beyond compare in my vagrant bash scripts here:

Usage - launching beyond compare from the git command line:

#View all un-staged differences one by one
git difftool

#View all committed differences between the current HEAD and the penultimate commit one by one
git difftool HEAD HEAD~1

#View all differences between master branch and bugfix branch in beyond compares directory view
git diffdir master bugfix

#View all differences between two change sets (SHA-1 ) in beyond compares directory view
git diffdir 6b6aa87 4f7d15d

#View the diff of one un-staged file, note the use of -no-prompt to stop the prompt on the terminal
git difftool -no-prompt myfile.txt

#View all changes both staged and modified one by one.
#As soon as you close beyond compare the next change will pop open (due to the -no-prompt flag)
git difftool HEAD -no-prompt

You might notice that when you use the diffdir command that the files are not editable, where as if you use the more interactive difftool command that the local files are available for changing and saving in beyond compare. This is because behind the scenes when you use the -dir-diff flag, git copies the modified files to a temporary location and then performs a directory diff on them. So if you do want to modify the files as you do a comparison you must use the more interactive difftool command.



On windows its just as easy. The users gitconfig is located at c:\users\UserName\.gitconfig

Just replace the difftool and mergetool commands from the above code snippets with the following:
cmd = "'c:\\Program Files\\Beyond Compare 4\\BCompare.exe' $LOCAL $REMOTE"
cmd = "'c:\\Program Files\\Beyond Compare 4\\BCompare.exe' $LOCAL $REMOTE $BASE $MERGED"


Since writing this post I’ve done more playing with git, difftool and beyond compare and have made the following revelations. Which I've only tested on linux centos 7.0 with git
  • Out of the box you can use beyond compare as your difftool
    • Use 'git difftool -tool-help' to show all the options you have, do you see bc3 in the list? if so you are set to go.
    • Use 'git difftool -tool bc3' to open your diffs in beyond compare
  • Same with the mergetool
    • git mergetool --tool-help
    • git mergetool --tool bc3
I’ve also found that you can actually edit and save files whilst using the diffdir commaand, here’s how/why:

As I said before when using the -dir-diff command git makes copies of the files into a temp location. Well if one of the sides contains the modified (current working directory) files then the copy is not a hard file copy it’s a simlink to the file in the working directory. So, that means that if you have the option ‘Handling -> follow symbolic links’ in the ‘session settings – folder compare’ dialogue of beyond compare (I recommend that you save this as a session default) then any editing of files that you do WILL be in the working folder of your git repo. Bonza.

So what does all this mean to me? Do I actually need to edit my .gitconfig then?

Well, no, and yes. Beyond compare integration is there out of the box but I would create some alias entries so you don’t have to type in the full command as that would be painful.
  bc3 = difftool -tool=bc3
  bc33 = difftool -no-prompt -tool=bc3
  bc3dir = difftool -dir-diff -tool=bc3

You now can issue the same commands as outlines above but with 'git bc3' or 'git bc3dir' rather than 'git difftool' and 'git diffdir'

Notice that I’ve made a distinction between bc3 and bc33. bc33 will not prompt you for opening the changes and so if you use it with a large change set you will have to cancel through a lot of files until the process ends. But I guess you could always ctrl+c on the terminal to kill the process, either way I find the distinction useful for just one extra character to type.