Changing the AnkhSVN Merge and Compare Tools

When my team reverted back to Subversion the first thing I missed was the Visual Studio integration from TFS.  CollabNet provides AnkhSVN to fill that gap by exposing most common source control operations directly through the IDE.  I’ve been using AnkhSVN successfully for a few months but one thing that always bugged me was the default compare tool.  I love WinMerge and the default merge and compare tool just didn’t, well, compare.  Thankfully the merge and compare tools thank AnkhSVN uses are configurable.

AnkhSVN adds a Subversion User Tools page to the Source Control folder in the Visual Studio options dialog.  From here we can select the tools to use for:

  • External Diff
  • External Merge
  • External Patch

Not only does AnkhSVN provide a list of popular tools including WinMerge and KDiff, it also attempts to determine if any of them are installed and marks any it can’t find with “(Not Found)”.  To change the tool just select it from the list or enter the path to your favorite utility.

Each of the tools are preconfigured to run with a fairly thorough set of arguments but if we want to customize them we can click the corresponding ellipsis button to open the Command Editor.  AnkhSVN uses the macro paradigm to inject a variety of variables into the argument list for the selected editor.  Its macros follow the traditional $(name) format so it should look familiar to anyone familiar with configuring external tools from Visual Studio’s Tools menu.

Ever since I found these settings and replaced the default tool with WinMerge I’ve been much happier.  AnkhSVN is a much more natural extension of my workflow than TortoiseSVN so being able to use WinMerge simplifies the process immensely.