Kaleidoscope is a beautiful, relatively new text and image comparison tool for Mac OS X.

When I say beautiful, I mean it has to be the most spectacular, mouth watering application I use in my development workflow.

But it has its problems.In fact, it is currently unusable as a tool for development workflows.

As it applies to text comparisons:

  • You can’t trigger a refresh of the current comparison*
  • You can edit a file being compared.
  • You can’t copy diffs to another file.
  • You can’t do directory comparisons
  • Nit: When adding a new file to the file shelf, it doesn’t look at the current directory of the existing files. It opens to ~/Documents
  • No merging

*However, if you modify a text file in, say, Textmate, the comparison picks up the changes from the filesystem

Merging is the most crucial step in my workflow when managing source code. So basically, all Kaleidoscope works out to be is a diff viewer.  Maybe that is all it was intended to be, but my workflow doesn’t have room for one tool for reviewing diffs and one tool for managing diffs and one tool for merging.

When asked about merging, the makers of Kaleidoscope only state that they won’t discuss their roadmap. I really, really hope that merging is one of the first items on that roadmap.

I did buy a copy of Kaleidoscope. Regardless of the negatives, I do recommend it. I hate it when people say, “Add this and then maybe I’ll buy it.” Sofa is on to something and I hope they continue improving it.

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