Merging Files On a Mac

Most of the schools I teach at have deep freeze installed on them which means every time the computer is restarted every thing you put on them gets erased.

In the beginning, I liked this but after teaching a few classes, I quickly found it to be a huge time suck. Sadly, my students are spending valuable class time configuring their computers to have what we are working on each day. There had to be a better way. Well, most software (like Adobe Dreamweaver) have a user configuration folder. This folder allows you to store personal configurations. On, PCs, I store all the preferences I need and just copy and paste that User folder into the School User folder. The great thing about PCs is,by default, they work really well when merging folders.

On Macs, they don’t work very well merging folders… or at least I thought so. Once I read this great article, I finally saw the light.

Let me show you the example I used as I think you will find it mighty helpful.

I love Sublime Text 2 and want to have everyone to be able to copy and paste all of the packages I use from one community folder (on the school server). So once, you have Sublime working the way you want, go into the Sublime folder and copy and paste that folder to the temp server.

Now all people have to do is grab that folder and paste it onto their Desktops (remember, this solution is for Mac’s only). Then open the Terminal (Cmd + spacebar and type: ‘term’ and hit the ‘return’ key).

Have the students install Sublime Text 2 on their Mac’s.

Then in the Terminal type (or copy and paste):
ditto -V /Users/student/Desktop/Packages /Users/student/Library/Application\ Support/Sublime\ Text\ 2/Packages

note: replace ‘student‘ with your usename

Then just press the ‘return’ key and you will have merged your Package’s folder (has all your cool stuff) with the default student’s install of Sublime Text 2. It’s really that simple. If you get an error it is most likely a path issue.

It looks complex but it really is just following this:

  • ditto -V source target
  • You also have to use escape characters (backward slashes) to escape folder names that have spaces in them.

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