Setup Go project - for JVM developers

I have been doing development for JVM platform for quite some time already. It was Java back in time, now it is Kotlin. And everything seems logical here — here is your Maven , Gradle or whatever project description with versioned dependencies, when you do build — the artifact is right here. It gives you a sense of workspace. It is easy to develop multiple projects in parallel — they all are isolated from each other.

But then the new player comes in that perfect world —  Go.

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$GOROOT? $GOPATH? WTF? Where are project’s dependencies? Is there something like versions? And where are my binaries?!

I believe that such design of the ecosystem has some rational core and reasoning. But from my(probably not just my) experience it looks like completely parallel universe.

To deal with it my first approach was to replicate expected $GOPATH folders structure in the project directory —  bin , src and pkg. Then create correct import path inside src folder — like<someproject> and checkout project itself there. After this manipulations updating of $GOPATH environment variable to point to the project directory. Well, too complicated.

To improve it a little bit I’ve decided to use dep package manager. And it became better. Now for each project, I was able to provide a list of dependencies with exact versions. Maybe that isn’t really the Go way, but I like it.

But still, it was far from ideal. Maybe virtual environment can be helpful here? It is widely used in Python to fix the similar issue. And the first thing I’ve found on Github was goenv (opens new window). This project isn’t under active development but it does the job.

It is pretty easy to use:

  1. Install it go get
  2. checkout your project
  3. then, in your project folder do goenv init
  4. active virtual environment . goenv/activate

Cool, it works! But dep is an issue now. It verifies that your project is located inside appropriate $GOPATH. And goenv creates virtual $GOPATH in ~/.goenv/<project name>. Inside this folder, it also creates bin , pkg and src folders and folders structure that you’ve specified with goenv init command. Almost the same steps I was doing manually before. And it makes a symlink to your actual project folder. So, I’ve improved goenv a little bit to cd into this virtual project folder on activating of the environment.

Now you can run dep ensure right away or start your code editor(personally I use Visual Studio Code (opens new window) for Go development), work with git, etc. I’ve provided this change as a pull request to the original project. But you can also install it from my fork — go get (opens new window) .

Maybe that setup isn’t the best but it works for me. At least now I know what is where and can setup new project in one command.