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View colored, incremental diff in workspace or from stdin with side by side and auto pager support
Python Shell
tag: 0.7

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Term based tool to view colored, incremental diff in Git/Mercurial/Svn workspace or from stdin, with side by side and auto pager support. Requires python (>= 2.5.0) and less.

default side by side


Install with pip

Cdiff is already listed on PyPI, you can install with pip if you have the tool.

pip install --upgrade cdiff

Install with

You can also run the from the source if you don't have pip.

git clone
cd cdiff
./ install

Download directly

Just save to whatever directory which is in your $PATH, for example, $HOME/bin is in my $PATH, so I save the script there and name as cdiff.

curl -ksS > ~/bin/cdiff
chmod +x ~/bin/cdiff


Show usage:

cdiff -h

Read diff from local modification in a Git/Mercurial/Svn workspace:

cd proj-workspace
cdiff                       # view colored incremental diff
cdiff -s                    # view side by side
cdiff -s -w 90              # use text width 90 other than default 80
cdiff -s file1 dir2         # view modification of given files/dirs only

Read the log with changes (e.g. git log -p, svn log --diff) in a Git/Mercurial/Svn workspace (note --diff option is new in svn 1.7.0):

cd proj-workspace
cdiff -l
cdiff -ls                   # equivalent to cdiff -l -s
cdiff -ls -w90
cdiff -ls file1 dir2        # see log with changes of given files/dirs only

Pipe in a diff:

git log -p -2 | cdiff -s    # view git log with changes of last 2 commits
git show 15bfa | cdiff -s   # view a git commit
svn diff -r1234 | cdiff -s  # view svn diff comparing to given revision
cdiff < foo.patch           # view a patch file (unified format only)
cat foo.patch | cdiff       # same as above
diff -u foo bar | cdiff     # pipe in diff between two files (note the '-u')
diff -ur dir1 dir2 | cdiff  # pipe in diff between two dirs

Redirect output to another patch file is safe:

svn diff -r PREV | cdiff -s > my.patch


  • Verified on travis with python 2.5, 2.6, 2.7, 3.2, 3.3 and pypy
  • Only takes unified diff for input
  • Side by side mode has alignment problem for wide chars
  • Pull requests are very welcome, run make test to verify (required tool coverage can be installed with pip install coverage)

See also

I have another tool coderev which generates side-by-side diff pages for code review from two given files or directories, I found it's not easy to extend to support git so invented cdiff. Idea of ansi color markup is also from project colordiff.

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