Making Changes

So I'm coming up for air after the biggest Connected Flow news in recent times - the acquisition of Changes.app. Ian Baird and I haven't been working on the transition long. It's been less than a month since the idea was first floated, and now it's done.

Some people might wonder why I was interested in acquiring a tool that was so distinct from my usual internet/photography software niche. Well, that's just the answer: time for some diversification and something new. I felt it was important in terms of my own development as a programmer.

I felt it was doubly important as part of the long-term strategy for Connected Flow. No song stays number one forever and, whilst I have ridden the wave alongside Flickr for five years now, times always change. That's our industry. Change is what we do.

Let me be crystal clear: I have no knowledge or reason to believe that Flickr is going away. I don't even think it's going downhill, particularly when you look at some of the work that Aaron is producing in the geo space. At the end of the day, a repository of three billion photos simply does not disappear from the internet overnight.

Having said that I, like everyone else, have watched Yahoo being circled by predators for a year or more. I've watched important people across the company be let go with varying degrees of voluntarism involved. The biggest mistake any company can make is to become wedded to their first success (look at Microsoft, for example), and I didn't want that to happen to Connected Flow.

FlickrExport has been and continues to be a great success. I don't want to change that one bit, but I do want to survive the day that Flickr's star starts to grow cold.

So, Changes. Changes is the app I liked so much that I purchased the IP. I've been using Changes as my Git diff tool since it first shipped in late 2007. It beats the pants off looking at raw diff(1) output, coloured or not.

One of the things I like most about Changes is that there's a visual consistency in the diff: every line corresponds to the line that's horizontally aligned with it. Other diff tools, such as Apple's FileMerge, try to show insertions and deletions as chunks shrinking to nothing on the other side of the comparison. Changes keeps lines aligned and that really helps visual recognition.

Changes also has a "differences only" mode for looking at diffs. Instead of the whole file, it can show you only the changed chunks. This is really powerful when you're using Changes as an SCM diff tool.

There's tons more, including an entire file/folder differencing engine, and I'll write about that another day. Suffice to say that, for now, I'm delighted to be the new owner of Changes and I can't wait to wrap up the transition work and get into maintaining and improving the app for some time to come.

If you want to try Changes, you can grab it at its new home: http://connectedflow.com/changes.