Victor Lyuboslavsky Victor Lyuboslavsky - 3 months ago 10
C++ Question

In C++, what's the fastest way to tell whether two string or binary files are different?

I'm writing a unit test and need to compare a result file to a golden file. What's the easiest way to do so?

So far I have (for Linux environment):

int result = system("diff file1 file2");

They are different if
result != 0


If you want a pure c++ solution, I would do something like this

#include <algorithm>
#include <iterator>
#include <string>
#include <fstream>

template<typename InputIterator1, typename InputIterator2>
range_equal(InputIterator1 first1, InputIterator1 last1,
        InputIterator2 first2, InputIterator2 last2)
    while(first1 != last1 && first2 != last2)
        if(*first1 != *first2) return false;
    return (first1 == last1) && (first2 == last2);

bool compare_files(const std::string& filename1, const std::string& filename2)
    std::ifstream file1(filename1);
    std::ifstream file2(filename2);

    std::istreambuf_iterator<char> begin1(file1);
    std::istreambuf_iterator<char> begin2(file2);

    std::istreambuf_iterator<char> end;

    return range_equal(begin1, end, begin2, end);

It avoids reading the entire file into memory, and stops as soon as the files are different (or at end of file). The range_equal because std::equal doesn't take a pair of iterators for the second range, and isn't safe if the second range is shorter.