wdiff is actually a very old method of comparing files word-by-word. It worked by reformatting files, then using
diff to find differences and passing it back again. I myself suggested adding context, so that rather than word-by-word compare, it does it with each word surrounded by other 'context' words. That allows the diff to synchronise itself on common passages in files much better, especially when files are mostly different with only a few blocks of common words. For example when comparing text for for plagiarism, or re-use.
dwdiff was later created from
dwdiff uses that text reformatting function to good effect in
dwfilter. This is a great development – it means you can reformat one text to match another, and then compare them using any line-by-line graphical diff displayer. For example, using it with "diffuse" graphical diff....
dwfilter file1 file2 diffuse -w
file1 to the format of
file2 and gives that to
diffuse for a visual comparison.
file2 is unmodified, so you can edit and merge word differences into it directly in
diffuse. If you want to edit
file1, you can add
-r to reverse which file is reformatted. Try it and you will find it is extremely powerful!
My preference for the graphical diff (shown above) is
diffuse as it feels far cleaner and more useful. Also it is a standalone python program, which means it is easy to install and distribute to other UNIX systems.
Other graphical diffs seem to have a lot of dependancies, but can also be used (you choice). These include