About comparing and merging files

Dimensions CM enables you to work on individual files in parallel. The same file can be modified by many people at the same time, resulting in branches that contain different versions or derivatives. At some point you need to merge these derivative files into a single target file containing all the changes.

Merging can involve item revisions stored in Dimensions CM and/or local workfiles.

The versions of a file involved in a merge consist of the following elements:

Element Description
Ancestor The common version of the file from which the different branches originated, and with which they are all being compared.
Target The output file containing the resulting contents of the merged files.
Starting revision/file If this is an item revision, it is the revision on whose branch the target file will be added on completion of the merge.
Derivatives The revisions or files that have been created in parallel and are being compared with the common ancestor.

Dimensions CM uses a file merge tool to help you carry out this process. The tool provides a visual means of comparing file contents, identifying the differences and conflicts, and enabling you to select lines you want to include in the merged target.

When different versions are compared line-by-line with a common original version, the options for each line are:

  • Added

  • Deleted

  • Changed

  • Unchanged

When comparing more than two files, you choose one of the versions as the common reference, called the common ancestor, against which all other files, called derivatives, are compared. To merge these files back to a single version, called the target, you need to manually resolve the conflicts between them.

A conflict occurs where a line has been added, deleted, or changed differently between different derivatives. For each conflict, you decide which version to include in the target. You can use item files or files in your work area for this process.

By default, the desktop and web clients use Araxis Merge for comparing and merging files. For details, see Araxis Merge.

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