Applies to Collaborator 12.0, last modified on July 16, 2019

This section describes the diff viewing interfaces offered by Collaborator. Those interfaces are where most of the reviewing takes place and where comments and defects are created and displayed.

The interfaces differ from client to client and have different names. In Web Client, it is called Diff Viewer, in Visual Studio Extension, it is either Code Viewer or Diff Viewer, and in Eclipse Plug-in, it is named Compare Editor.

Diff Viewer (Web Client)

Diff Viewer includes a number of configuration and display options that may change depending on the specific type of file that is being reviewed.

The appearance of the Diff Viewer when reviewing source code files

Click the image to enlarge it.

The Diff Viewer is divided into a number of sections:

Note: The Diff Viewer opens in the same window and tab, when launched from the Review Screen. To open it in a new window, you can Shift+click the link.

Chat Pane

On the left of the main Diff Viewer page, there is a pane for chat threads. This pane allows you to add both global and content-specific comments and defects to the document you are reviewing. Comments may hold any information concerning the review: a question, a clarification, a remark, an encouragement, whatever else. Defects indicate a problem that needs to be fixed. To learn more about global and content-specific comments and defects, see Types of Review Comments and Defects.

At the top of the chat pane, you will find a series of buttons that control whether or not certain types of comments appear in full or in collapsed states (to save viewing space). Note that defects, count as unread comments until they are accepted/marked read.

The first three icons control whether defects appear collapsed or expanded in the chat panel. The red bug controls the display for open defects, the green bug controls the display for fixed defects and the blue bug controls the display for defects tracked externally.

The next four icons control the display of non-defect conversations. The white conversation bubble controls the display for all comments. The yellow hazard sign controls the display for unread comments. The green checkmark controls the display for conversations that have been marked accepted. The pushpin icon controls whether to display markers for coordinate comments within word-processing documents, presentations, PDF documents, images and vector graphics. The user icon with a drop-down specifies whether to display comments and defects from all participants of just from the selected participant.

The next two icons allow navigating to the previous or next comment, defect or change within the current document.

To learn how to make conversation during the review, see Types of Review Comments and Defects and Review Chats, Comments, and Defects topics.

Diff Viewer Toolbar

The toolbar at the top of the Diff Viewer includes options for altering the display of information and navigation through documents within the review.

Back to Review Screen

Returns back to Review Screen.

File Navigation

Navigate to the previous or next file in the review, respectively.

File Name

Displays the name of current file.

Orientation

Specifies whether the Diff Viewer displays in side-by-side mode or over/under mode.

  • When enabled, Before and After panes are displayed over/under one another.

  • When disabled, Before and After panes are displayed side-by-side.

This button is displayed only for text-based formats and images.

Display Order

Determines which pane is considered the 'After' pane, for the purposes of highlighting additions and deletions.

  • When enabled, the After pane is the leftmost panel in side-by-side mode and the uppermost panel in over/under mode

  • When disabled, the After pane is the rightmost panel in side-by-side mode and the undermost panel in over/under mode

Toggles between adding coordinate comments and panning the file contents.

  • When enabled, a single left click within a file contents will add a coordinate comment at specified position.

  • When disabled, dragging the mouse pointer will pan the contents of the file.

This button is displayed only for word-processing documents, presentations, PDF documents, images and vector graphics.

Toggles between zooming and scrolling the file contents.

  • When enabled, rotating mouse wheel will zoom the file contents in and out.

  • When disabled, rotating mouse wheel will scroll the file contents up and down.

This button is displayed only for word-processing documents, presentations, PDF documents, images and vector graphics.

Locks mouse action for both panes.

  • When enabled, both Before and After panes will react on mouse actions (panning, scrolling, zooming) simultaneously.
  • When disabled, mouse actions (panning, scrolling, zooming) will affect only the pane a mouse hovers on.

This button is displayed only for word-processing documents, presentations, PDF documents, images and vector graphics.

Zoom Level

Specifies the zoom level for both Before and After panes. You can set the scale to various percentages, Page Width or Full Page.

This button is displayed only for word-processing documents, presentations, PDF documents, images and vector graphics.

Search

Performs a full-text search within the current document. Type the desired text in and press Enter.

This button is displayed only for Word processing and PDF documents, presentations and vector graphics.

External Diff Viewer

Launches the current document review in an external diff viewer.

Download Diff

Downloads a Diff file of the current document.

Display Options

Opens the Display Options panel which controls how Diff Viewer should display various data.

This button is displayed only for text-based formats and for Excel, Word and PDF documents.

Help

Opens the help menu with descriptions of color-code legend, keyboard shortcuts, and links to documentation.

Diff Viewer Header

The content of the header varies depending on the type of file being reviewed, current revision selection mode, and content orientation.

Diff Viewer header in simple revision selection mode
Diff Viewer header in simple revision selection mode
Diff Viewer header in advanced revision selection mode
Diff Viewer header in advanced revision selection mode

Display changes

Allows to select which file revisions (if available) will be compared.

The available options are:

  • All - Compare the current revision of a file against its base revision - that is, a state of file before any changes related to current review have been made. For pre-commit reviews, base revision is the revision that you checked out from the repository. For post-commit reviews, base revision is the revision that precedes your commit.

  • First vs Last - Compare the most recent revision of a file against its first revision that was uploaded during this review.

  • Branch only - Compare the current revision of a file against its base revision excluding changes merged from other branches.

  • Last commit - Compare the current revision of a file and its previous revision.

  • Accepted - Compare the current revision of a file against its latest accepted revision. During the review, participants may accept some particular revisions of a file to denote that they agree with the changes. Uploading a further revision of that file clears the Accepted mark. If a participant has not accepted any revision yet, then compares the current revision of a file against its base revision.

  • Commits - Compare the most recent revision against any arbitrary revision chosen in the Select revision drop-down.

The Branch only mode may produce slightly different output depending on whether the review was created manually or via repository integration. In reviews created manually it is not always possible to filter-out merge changes, so sometimes they still could be displayed. Reviews created via integration have broader access to the repository and thus can exclude merge changes more thoroughly.

Show Advanced Mode

Toggles between simple and advanced modes of revision selection.

Select revision

Displays the current revision selection mode, or the file revision to be compared when the Display changes selector is set to Commits. Each file revision is identified according to the Revision Caption Pattern setting and may include provider type, creation time, item identifier and description.

After

Visible in advanced revision selection mode.

Specifies the file revision displayed in the 'After' pane. Each file revision is identified by its SHA-1 hash value. Additionally, the file folder icon adjacent to this field can be used to download the selected revision of the file.

When you select the same file revision in 'Before' and 'After' drop-downs, Diff Viewer will unite the 'Before' and 'After' panes. In this case, added file revisions will have green background, while removed file revisions will have red background.

Before

Visible in advanced revision selection mode.

Specifies the file revision displayed in the 'Before' pane. Each file revision is identified by its SHA-1 hash value. Additionally, the file folder icon adjacent to this field can be used to download the selected revision of the file.

When you select the same file revision in 'Before' and 'After' drop-downs, Diff Viewer will unite the 'Before' and 'After' panes. In this case, added file revisions will have green background, while removed file revisions will have red background.

File revisions in Select revision, Before and After drop-down lists are further identified by an icon which appears adjacent to the revision number denoting:

Icon shape:

Square shape indicates that file was uploaded from any source control system (within changelist, commit, diff and so on).

Circle shape indicates that file was uploaded from local storage without any versioning.

Icon color:

Green color indicates that file was added.

Blue color indicates means that file was modified.

Red color indicates that file was removed.

Icon checkmark:

Unchecked indicates that file change was not accepted yet.

Checked indicates that file change was accepted.

Display Options Panel

The Display Options panel contains various options that determine what data is displayed by the Diff Viewer and how it is displayed. This panel is available only for text-based formats and for Excel, Word and PDF documents.

The list of panel option varies, depending on a format of the current file:

Text-based formats

Wrap Lines

Controls whether lines of text are wrapped to the width of the pane.

Note: When Wrap Lines is not selected, an option will appear at the bottom of the text section to enable/disable synchronized scrolling of the panes.

Syntax Coloring

Controls whether syntax-specific coloring is used, when supported.

Ignore Whitespace

Controls whether white-spaces are taken into account when showing differences.

This setting affects how line differences are displayed in Diff Viewer. Once enabled, line numbers and conversation position displayed in Diff Viewer may vary from line numbers and conversation position displayed in Review Screen and reports.

Ignore Capitalization

Controls whether capitalization is taken into account when showing differences.

This setting affects how line differences are displayed in Diff Viewer. Once enabled, line numbers and conversation position displayed in Diff Viewer may vary from line numbers and conversation position displayed in Review Screen and reports.

Ignore Sequence Number

Controls whether COBOL sequence numbers are taken into account when showing differences.

This setting affects how line differences are displayed in Diff Viewer. Once enabled, line numbers and conversation position displayed in Diff Viewer may vary from line numbers and conversation position displayed in Review Screen and reports.

Skip Unchanged

Determines whether large blocks of unchanged content is displayed. These gaps will appear, in the Diff Viewer as 'Skipping X lines...' and will include the two links labeled 'More', which will allow you to see more of this skipped content.

Difference

Enables highlighting of additions, deletions and differences in the viewer.

Context Lines

Defines the number of lines to show before and after the actual changes so that you can better understand the context of changes performed.

Tab Width

Sets the number of spaces per tab.

Font Size

Allows customization of the font size.

Font Family

Allows customization of the font family

Character Encoding

Specifies the character encoding for the file.

Spreadsheets

Evaluate Formulas

Specifies whether to evaluate formulas and display the resulting value, or to display the formula itself.

Ignore Empty Cells

Specifies whether to ignore empty cells when viewing differences.

Difference

Enables highlighting of additions, deletions and differences in the viewer.

Word processing documents, PDF documents, presentations

Difference

Enables highlighting of additions, deletions and differences in the viewer.

Legends

The differences are noticeably highlighted and color coded as explained by the legend: changes appear in yellow, additions are green and deletions are red.

Keyboard Shortcuts

The Diff Viewer is completely navigable from the keyboard. You can move around the file, jump to changes, and make comments and defects. To get the list of keyboard shortcuts, click the Help button in the menu bar, then select Keyboard Shortcuts.

Shortcuts with ALT key are not supported on Apple Macintosh.

Limitations

Collaborator does not guarantee that Diff Viewer will display correct comparison results for the following cases:

  • Subversion, Perforce, TFS, RTC, Git: If you have "gaps" while adding subsequent atomic changelists to the same review. For example, add changelists 1, 2, and 4, but forget to add changelist 3.
  • Perforce, TFS, RTC: If you add pending changelists from different workspaces to the same review.
  • Git: If you add changelists from different branches or repositories to the same review.
  • RTC: If you add changelists from different workspaces or streams to the same review.
  • All source control systems: If you add several diffs (non atomic changelists) to the same review.

Code Viewer / Diff Viewer (Visual Studio Extension)

Clicking on a file in the Review Screen opens it in a Code Viewer or in a Diff Viewer.

Collaborator Visual Studio Extension is designed to perform code reviews, rather than document reviews. That is, from the Code Viewer or the Diff Viewer you can review and compare source code and text files, but may fail to review and compare other types of review materials. To review Word documents, Excel tables, PDF files, images, presentations or URLs, you should use the Collaborator Web Client.
  • If a review has only one revision of the desired file, it will be opened in a Code Viewer (standard code editor of Visual Studio in read-only mode).

  • If a review has several revisions of the desired file, it will be opened in a Diff Viewer (standard Diff Window of Visual Studio).

Two revisions of a file in a Diff Viewer
Two revisions of a file in a Diff Viewer

In the Diff Window, the most recent revision is displayed in the right pane and the previous revision is displayed in the left pane. New text is highlighted in green and removed text is highlighted in red.

The comment icon () in the viewer's gutter indicates that a line has some comments related to it. The defect icon () indicates that a line has some defects related to it. Click the icon to navigate to the corresponding comment or defect.

Conversation Pane

On the left side of a Code Viewer and Diff Viewer, a Conversation Pane is displayed. It lists the comments and defects that were created for the file being displayed. You can read the conversation, reply to and/or argue with other participants, mark the defects as fixed and so on.

Comments and defects may relate to the entire file (these are called overall comments and defects) as well as to a particular line of code (these are called line comments and defects).

To create an overall comment:

  1. Specify your message in the Overall section of the Conversation pane

  2. Click Add.

To create an overall defect:

  1. Specify your message in the Overall section of the Conversation pane.

  2. Click Add as Defect and specify defect type and severity.

To create a line comment:

  1. Right-click the desired line and choose Collaborator > Add Comment from the context menu.

  2. Specify your message in the subsequent dialog and click Add comment.

To create a line defect:

  1. Right-click the desired line and choose Collaborator > Add Defect from the context menu.

  2. Specify your message, defect type and severity in the subsequent dialog and click Add defect.

Creating line comments and defects
Creating line comments and defects

Depending on the Group conversations by lines setting, the Conversation Pane may display all defects and comments simultaneously or group comments and defects that relate to the same line. In the latter layout, you may use combo box and buttons to navigate between conversations that relate to different lines.

Conversation pane: "Standard" and "Group by lines" layouts
Conversation pane: "Standard" and "Group by lines" layouts

Compare Editor (Eclipse Plug-in)

Double-clicking on a file in the Review Screen opens it in the standard Eclipse Compare Editor.

Collaborator Eclipse Plug-in is designed to perform code reviews, rather than document reviews. That is, from the Compare Editor you can review and compare source code and text files, but may fail to review and compare other types of review materials. To review Word documents, Excel tables, PDF files, images, presentations or URLs, you should use the Collaborator Web Client.

Conversations on the file are shown in the Conversations View when the Compare Editor is active.

The exact appearance of the Compare Editor depends on the type of file being compared. The Collaborator Eclipse Plug-in uses the compare viewer registered in your Eclipse installation for that file type, and then tries to add review-related controls on a best-effort basis.

Side-by-side Compare Viewers

If the registered compare viewer for the file type is based on the standard Eclipse side-by-side compare viewer, the Collaborator Eclipse Plug-in adds a drop-down menu above each content pane to select which versions of the file you want to compare.

If the file was uploaded from your machine, you can select Local File from the menu to compare against the local version of the file. Comparing against the local version of the file lets you navigate the code in your workspace (for example, use Ctrl+click to open a type or method implementation), and edit the code in-place. You can also right-click on the pane containing the local file and select from many of the same context menu options that you can when you right-click on the file in the normal Eclipse editor.

Text Compare Viewers

If the registered compare viewer for the file type is based on the standard Eclipse text compare viewer, the Collaborator Eclipse Plug-in adds a ruler to the left content pane showing the state of each conversation on the file. Clicking on a line selects that conversation in the Conversations View, or starts a new conversation if there is not already one on that line.

Syntax highlighting is shown if it is supported by the registered compare viewer for the file type.

See Also

UI Reference
Web Client
Visual Studio Extension
Eclipse Plug-in
External Diff Viewer Launcher

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