I have written several articles about the usefulness of Notepad++. I often use it to write or test complex formulas and SQL commands. I have also used it to see the affect of a logic change, by comparing the output (text) of the report before and after a change. I have even created a custom language interpreter so that Crystal formulas written in Notepad++ look better than they do in Crystal’s formula editor.
This week I found a new use that I should have seen before. A customer sent me two different versions of a complex report and we weren’t sure which one to use. We needed to see the differences between the formulas in the two reports. So I exported both reports to the format “Report Definition”. This export creates a text file that lists all of the major settings of the report, lists the objects in each section, and includes the text of all the formula fields that are actively being used by the report.
Once I had the two Report Definitions, I opened them up in Notepad++ and used the “Compare” add-in. This took me straight to the handful of formula differences. It was easy to show these differences to the customer to see which version he wanted to use.
If you want to try out the Notepad++ with the Compare plug-in you will need to start by downloading Notepad++ version 7.4.2. This is the latest version that includes the plug-in manager. Once you have Notepadd++ installed you can use the plug-in manager to install the Compare plug-in. After that you can update to the latest version of Notepad++.(For examples of my most popular formulas, please visit the FORMULAS page on my website.)