Introduction to the StarTeam File Compare Merge tool.


In this video demonstration we are going be looking at the FCM Tool.  We will be exploring what exactly is its purpose and functionality within StarTeam.

The contents of the video will focus on the following:

What is FCM?

  • Main File
  • Embedded File
  • Stand alone
    • Three way compare
    • Folder compare
    • Image compare
    • Options
  • Colour preferences

What is FCM?

File Compare/Merge is a graphical file and folder comparison and merge tool delivered with StarTeam. It enables you to compare the contents of two files or folders.

There are three versions of File Compare/Merge:

  • Main File Compare/Merge
  • Embedded Compare/Merge
  • Stand Alone

Main File Compare/Merge:

This displays a window in the StarTeam client to allow you to edit a local file.

Compare the contents of a local file with the tip revision stored in the StarTeam Repository. 
Compare two revisions of a file listed on the History tab in the StarTeam application window. 
Merge the contents of the local file with the tip revision stored in the StarTeam Repository.

Embedded file UI:

The embedded file compare /merge is merely a quick read only check tool to allow you to compare two files or versions of the same file as well as compare properties of non item files such as Change requests. When the embedded file compare/merge is activated, it immediately compares the files or properties when you do one of the following:

  • Select a file or other item in the upper pane, or the History pane. The comparison is between the local working copy of the item and the selected item revision in StarTeam.
  • Select two items in the History pane. The comparison is between the two historical revisions in StarTeam.  
  • Select a linked item in the Link pane. The comparison is between the selected item revision and its previous revision.


As the name suggests this is a standalone application outside of the StarTeam client.

This File Compare/Merge compares files, folders and images and it can merge the contents of two text files or two folders.  Unlike the main file, the standalone does not compare any local files with files that are in the StarTeam repository.  It compares two or three files/folders/images that are on your local computer or network.

The Standalone provides the following features:
• A two or three-way file compare/merge.
• A two or three-way folder compare/merge.
• A two or three-way image comparison.
• Colour Preference

Let’s start by locating the FCM tool and launching it.

As you can see it generates an icon on the toolbar below which allows you to pull up the window at any stage to review files. We will look at the File Compare/Merge feature first.

The FCM tool offers multiple options to view the files:

2-Way Horizontal
2-Way Vertical
3-Way Horizontal
3-Way Mixed

In this video we use the 2-Way Horizontal view for this example.

Let’s say we have a developer working on a piece of code.  He will have two copies of the code – an earlier working version of the file and a newer copy which he is currently working on.  If the developer wanted to review the differences between the files to find out why he is having issues running the code, he could use the File Compare/Merge to review the two files.

As you can see as soon select your files colour bars appears straight away highlighting the differences between the files. So within seconds you will see where the problem has occurred.

The Green highlight shows something new or deleted.

The Yellow highlights differences or changes made.

Selected the highlights will allow you to merge/replace the line / add the line or remove it completely.

Folder compare merge:
You will notice at the bottom of the window tabs will generate as you continue to open different options available. You can jump back and forth between file/folder/image views. In this example we will review two developers folders to compare the all the different files between them. Again same as before we see highlights generated across the files that are different etc. Here we have two files with the same name but the properties and content are different. You then have the option to copy files from one folder to another if a file is missing from one developers folder you could take a copy and place it in the other developers folder

Image compare:

Finally we will look at the Image Comparison.  This time we will use the 3-way mixed option to review three error messages in our bug tracker.We will start by opening a new image comparison window. Then select the 3-way mixed view. We will then select our three views for review. Fairly straight forward, no editing can be done in this setting as it is merely a review/compare option.

Options available in FCM:

Finally we will look at some of the options available in the FCM.  To access the options go to Tools in the Menu pane and select Options.

Here you will be able to tweak the settings to your preference, whether you want to start up with a file comparison window or a folder comparison. You then have options for both File comparison and folder comparison.

Color preferences:
You can also edit the colours that you want to highlight your files or folder contents when comparing and merging

Hopefully this video has helped give you an idea of some of the features you can use with the FCM and how useful the tool can be in certain scenarios.  The best thing to do is to play around the tool to an idea of some of the things you can do with it.


How To-Best Practice
Comment List