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TortoiseIDiff suggestions

From: Ivan-Assen Ivanov <ivanassen_at_gmail.com>
Date: 2006-09-25 14:15:30 CEST


A big "thank you" to the Stefan and the TortoiseSVN team for
TortoiseIDiff! We hold a lot of image assets, mostly textures, in
Subversion, and comparing revisions in a visual way is something we
definitely need, and our artists have started appreciating Subversion
(known before as "that damned complicated thing the programmers are
forcing on us") much more.

Here are several usability improvement suggestions for it:

  * the alpha slider in image overlap mode is useless in its present
form - it is too big and too precise - you probably don't need to
specify alpha within 1/255th when comparing images, and you need to be
able to quickly toggle between the two images with a short mouse
movement. At least make hotkeys for switching between alpha=0 and
alpha=255 (e.g. "1" and "2"?).
  * a mode to show changed pixels in a bright color, e.g. pure
red/green/blue, in both overlap and no-overlap mode. You can get
fancy, drawing 1-pixel borders around the changed areas, or draw
translucent overlay over them, but simple bright red, or negative
color (all components subtracted from 255) would be OK to direct
attention towards them. Keyboard shortcut for this also ("space"?).
  * better pan/zoom support. "Lock images" should be on by default -
who needs to compare visually the top left portion of the "before"
image along with the bottom right portion of the "after" image? Moving
the sliders should scroll the image immediately, without waiting for
mouse-button-up. Mouse wheel should zoom in/out in such a way that the
current center of the displayed image (alternative: the current mouse
position) remains stationary. You don't need mouse clicks/drags over
the image for anything, I think, so drag should just pan the image, as
if you "grab" it on mousedown, move it around along with your mouse,
and "release" it on mouseup, similar to how Photoshop behaves when
Space is held pressed. Change the mouse pointer to a hand over the
image to show that it will be panned if clicked.

Finally, we could use more image formats. We use heavily TGA and DDS.
We worked around the problem by wrapping the call to TortoiseIDiff in
a BAT file, which calls a command-line conversion tool, but native
support would be, of course, much faster. I realize there are a
thousands formats out there and you can't support them all without
making the TortoiseSVN installer 2x larger even though 99% of your
users will only ever do text diffs. You could conceivably use the
DirectX support for loading them on machines that have DirectX
installed (which includes virtually all XPs); just make sure you build
with a sufficiently old DirectX SDK, or else you have to install a
d3dx??.dll along with TortoiseSVN, which somewhat defeats the purpose.
It's a mess, and I don't see a clear "good" solution for the
TortoiseSVN project in general, so I'm willing to live with the BAT
file ... but maybe somebody can suggest something better?

Best regards,

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Received on Mon Sep 25 14:15:38 2006

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