The “git difftool” command in Git is used to compare file changes using external diff tools. It provides a convenient way to view and analyze the differences between files in your repository using a visual diff tool of your choice.
When you run the “git difftool” command, it launches an external diff tool specified in your Git configuration. This tool can be any third-party visual diff tool installed on your system, such as Beyond Compare, KDiff3, or Meld. The “git difftool” command passes the appropriate file paths and revisions to the external tool, allowing it to display a side-by-side comparison of the changes.
The “git difftool” command accepts the same options and arguments as the “git diff” command. You can specify the commits, branches, or revisions to compare, or simply run it without any arguments to compare the changes between the working directory and the index/staging area.
Using an external diff tool provides a more visual and interactive way to review file changes, especially for complex or large changesets. It allows you to navigate through the differences, view added or deleted lines, and merge changes selectively if the diff tool supports it.
To configure the external diff tool for “git difftool,” you can set the appropriate tool in your Git configuration using the “git config” command or by directly editing the Git configuration file. You can specify the diff tool executable, command-line options, and any additional configuration required by the tool.
By utilizing “git difftool,” you can leverage the power and features of external diff tools to efficiently review and understand the changes in your codebase. It enhances your workflow by providing a more comprehensive and customizable diffing experience, improving collaboration and decision-making when working with file changes in your Git repository.
git difftool Command Examples
1. List available diff tools:
# git difftool --tool-help
2. Set the default diff tool to meld:
# git config --global diff.tool "meld"
3. Use the default diff tool to show staged changes:
# git difftool --staged
4. Use a specific tool (opendiff) to show changes since a given commit:
# git difftool --tool=opendiff commit