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As I write more code, especially database code, and I collaborate with others (or myself), I find that I have the need to merge code more and more. It’s inevitable, and since I work across a couple machines, I even find that I need to merge my own code at times.

One way to do this well is use a merge tool of some sort. KDiff3 is a popular one, that’s free, and it’s one that integrates nicely with SQL Source Control, which I also use for various tasks.

If you install KDiff3 (use “choco instal kdiff3”) then you get a basic tool that allows you to compare files. If you start it, you’ll get a simple interface that lets you select multiple files and view them together in one interface. If you don’t use version control, apart from making a mistake, you also probably manage code like this.

2016-04-07 14_20_47-Settings

Or you might have this:

2016-04-07 14_23_22-Settings

Either way creates problems. If you have multiple people doing this, then you have other issues.

KDiff gives you a nice interface to see the differences between files. As you can see below, I have the changes marked in each file.

2016-04-07 14_26_43-Settings

I can edit the files directly, or choose to merge them together. If I do the merge, I’ll get a third window that has the merged code.

2016-04-07 14_28_41-Settings

As you can see, if I click the merge area, I can choose the code from either of the original files.

On the right is a scroll bar that lets me know where in the file the differences are.

2016-04-07 14_26_49-Settings

Software developers think nothing of these types of tools, but DBAs aren’t as easily used to using tools like this. I’d suggest that you download kdiff3 and give it a chance in trying to reconcile any code between team members or servers.

And start using Version Control. It’s easy and incredibly useful.

Filed under: Blog Tagged: syndicated, tools, version control

The Voice of the DBA

Steve Jones is the editor of SQLServerCentral.com and visits a wide variety of data related topics in his daily editorial. Steve has spent years working as a DBA and general purpose Windows administrator, primarily working with SQL Server since it was ported from Sybase in 1990. You can follow Steve on Twitter at twitter.com/way0utwest


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