When working with Connections so much of the configuration is done in XML or properties files on the file system of the servers. That means, no matter how organised I try and be, I often find multiple copies of files each with different date/time stamps or even with different names (LotusConnections-Config.PreNewNode for example) for me to identify. This is especially true with the TDI syncing where I often end up creating multiple TDISol directories over the course of a deployment as customers want to change what data syncs, how and where.
The problem with this is that everything is very reliant on how well the files are commented and more often than not I’m coming in behind someone else so I have to look at files with no commenting at all or commenting that only makes sense to the person who wrote it.
As an admin I have never really needed to compare the contents of one file with another to spot the differences (that’s more a coding problem) but with Connections I need to use that technique all the time. Take my work this week for instance, upgrading a Connections 4.5 server to Connections 5 .
The first question is, looking at the TDISol directory, have any of the properties files I need to update changed since 4.5. If not then great, I can just add new servers and passwords and away we go. If they have I have to merge the old settings into the new and I’d rather not rely on me reading each line and visually comparing them across several dense pages. To do this my favourite tool is Kaleidescope for the Mac. It’s not free (it’s about 70 dollars) but it has a great UI , features and does the job. I’ve been using it for a couple of years and they keep adding new features. It also does a great job on comparing and spotting changes in images – or what I call the “hey that’s been photoshopped” feature.
In the picture above i’m comparing the profiles_tdi.properties file from the 4.5 install to a new one for the 5.0 install to make sure I don’t miss any custom settings. I did the same with mapdb_repos_from_source.properties and mapdb_repos_to_source.properties. As you can see from the screenshot (the one on the left being the 4.5 one), any additions are in green, deletions in red and changes in purple (with the actual changed words being darker purple). This makes it very easy for me to spot what needs to be changed from one file to the other. It’s not perfect , if the format of the file means that some lines appear a page further down in one document vs the other then you will see markup for both but it’s a lot better than any hope I have to spot all the differences myself.