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SiteDiff makes it easy to see differences between two versions of a website. It accepts a set of paths to compare two versions of the site together with potential normalization/sanitization rules. From the provided paths and configuration SiteDiff generates an HTML report of all the status of HTML comparison between the given paths together with a readable diff-like HTML for each specified path containing the differences between the two versions of the site. It is useful tool for QAing re-deployments, site upgrades, etc.


To quickly see what sitediff can do, follow these steps to get sitediff to compare two sets of static HTMLs served by a simple HTTP server:

cd spec/fixtures/before && python -m SimpleHTTPServer 8801
# Serving HTTP on port 8801 ...

# in a separate session
cd spec/fixtures/after && python -m SimpleHTTPServer 8802
# Serving HTTP on port 8802 ...

# in a third session
bundle exec bin/sitediff diff --before-url=http://localhost:8801 --after-url=http://localhost:8802 spec/fixtures/config.yaml

Or if you have docker installed you can simply:

make build_sitediff # creates a docker image containing the sitediff executable
make start_fixtures # starts two fixture containers serving the same HTML content as above
make sitediff_fixtures # perform the diff, generate a report
make sitediff_serve # serve the reports and diff files so we can browse them

Here is an example SiteDiff report:

And here is an example SiteDiff diff report of a specific path:


SiteDiff relies on a YAML configuration file to pick up the paths and required sanitization rules. The following configuration blocks are recognized by SiteDiff:

  1. sanitization: a sanitization block contains a title, a pattern which is a regular expression in string form, and an optional substitute defaulting to empty string:

     - title: 'remove form build id'
       pattern:    '<input type="hidden" name="form_build_id" value="form-[a-zA-Z0-9_-]+" *\/?>'
       substitute: '<input type="hidden" name="form_build_id" value="__form_build_id__">'

    Sanitization blocks are typically useful to avoid false positives that are in the form of individual strings (not hierarchical information, see dom_transform).

  2. selector: defines the specific HTML elements we wish to compare. For example if you want to only compare breadcrumbs between before and after, you might specify:

     selector: '#breadcrumb'

    if that is how your HTML is structured.

  3. dom_transform: Allows you to edit the DOM tree before diff-ing. This is again useful to allow for expected structural differences to pass through without causing failed comparison tests. A dom_transform block requires a type which specifies what kind of DOM transformation to perform, and a selector which specifies the element on which the action will be performed. Allowed type values are the following:

    1. remove: removes the entire element specified by the selector from the HTML,

    2. unwrap: replaces the element with its constituents. For example:

          - type: 'unwrap'
          - selector: '#123'

      will transform the following:

      <div id="#123">
        <p> Hello </p>
        <p> World </p>


      <p> Hello </p>
      <p> World </p>
  4. before and after: these two are the special blocks that can wrap any of the blocks above to indicate that the normalization rules defined in the block should only apply to either the before or the after version of the site. If a configuration block is found in the top level, and not under before or after, it will apply to both. For example, if you wanted to let different date formatting not create diff failures, you might use the following:

         - title: 'remove dates'
           pattern: '[1-2][0-9]{3}/[0-1][0-9]/[0-9]{2}'
           substitute: '__date__'
         - title: 'remove dates'
           pattern:  '[A-Z][a-z]{2} [0-9]{1,2}(st|nd|rd|th) [1-2][0-9]{3}'
           substitute: '__date__'

    which will replace dates of the form 2004/12/05 in before and dates of the form May 12th 2004 in after with __date__.

  5. include: A configuration file can reference other YAML files to pull in the sanitization rules and/or dom transforms defined by the external file:

       - config/sanitize_domains.yaml
       - config/strip_css_js.yaml


SiteDiff makes it easy to see differences between two versions of a website.






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