The consensus among most developers that I talk to who use Windows as their primary operating system is that Beyond Compare by Scooter Software is, hands down, the best diff/merge tool available. Not only does Beyond Compare offer powerful 3-way file merges, but it can perform directory diffs and synchronizations as well. For comparisons between CSV files, Excel spreadsheets, HTML tables, registry keys, images and other binary files, Beyond Compare also provides specialized viewers that enable developers to work with the data in each file without worrying about the storage format. (Someone seriously needs to write plugins for comparing Visual Studio project and solution files!) Beyond Compare is so universally praised that it has a standing mention on Scott Hanselman’s developer and power user tool list.
To support the St. Louis developer community, Scooter Software has kindly donated two Beyond Compare Professional licenses to be raffled at the upcoming November STL ALT .NET meetup (which is pretty much like having Christmas in November)!
On behalf of STL ALT .NET I thank Scooter Software for their generosity.