One of the more challenging tasks when developing software is to compare folders to see what has changed to an earlier version. So far the only decent tool that does that quickly and efficiently for the Mac is DeltaWalker. It does a good job but it could been faster especially when the application loads. So when I heard that Black Pixel released Kaleidoscope and it featured Folder Comparison I had to check it out. To make a long story short it looks nice but for professional work it is unusable because it is not efficient.
Just to be clear hear I was only interested in the Folder Comparison and so I did not look at the other features like Image comparison and so your mileage might vary.
So what is wrong with Kaleidoscope? When I fired it up for the first time I already had a bad feeling because it brought up a window asking me to drag a file into it. This might be nice for a newbie but when I know what directory to compare I need to enter them quickly and efficiently. I also need to be able to adjust a directory file name where only a number has changed or a parent directory. Also Path Finder has a feature where I can copy the page from a file / directory to the clipboard and so I am must faster just copy the two folders into it that way. Now it could be that Kaleidoscope uses Services to accomplish the same.
FInally the thing that killed it for me was the folder comparison view itself. In order to work fast I need to be able to see the changed files quickly even if they are several folders down. All of my projects use a hierarchical many folders deep and so comparing one folder at a time it unacceptable. This might work for simple web applications but not for me.
Granted I did not give Kaleidoscope a thorough test to see if there are other features that might alleviate these shortcoming or if there are other ways to go around them. That said I have a tool that works well and so without any further incentives I cannot waste more than 15 to 30 minutes on a tool evaluation. In addition Back Pixel’s webpage about Kaleidoscope is too simple to convince me to spend more time on it. Their website looks like their app. A nice UI but not enough meat on the bone.
Cheers – Andy