Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Can GB be my friend?

Vendoring with golang's tools sucks.
  • golang does not support enough D/VCS systems
  • GOROOT is now computed
  • GOPATH was once expected to be a single path but then someone added multi-path with the first path being the global vendor folder
  • in order to update the 'go get' you need to include the -u flag
  • when you use 'go get' the code include whatever submodule info like .git, .svn, .hg etc
There, I said it and I backed it up.

There are a few choices for vendoring projects in go. godep, nut, and the latest gb. I do not know anything about nut, however, godep works with the standard go tools. All you have to do is update GOPATH. On the other hand gb is a complete departure. Going the gb route means that you need to break backward compatibility with the standard tools. Since I'm new to gb I just do not know if it's a worthy solution.

The problem is not really obvious until you have multiple projects. And with each project you have to change your GOPATH so that the local project vendor files are used and not some other project. And it's not appropriate to share some vendor files as a matter of course.

There are a number of possible solutions that are user-based:\
  • keep your projects in separate containers
  • use a "select project" type script to update the environment
  • use a batch script for all go commands
  • modify the path and replace the go tool with your own per project and construct the environment
  • Makefile
** some of these are the same only different tool

Make is clearly still the solution to the problem. The go tools cannot be all things to all people and that is clear here. Sadly I wish the go tools could do just a little more in this space. Not all of the golang authors dislike make and it's also a pretty good goal.

I'm not sure I want to dump the go tools. if gb fails to impress I could always construct the environment with my own tools. And then I'm right where I started only with someone elses idea of what the ideal project layout is.

UPDATE: one of the biggest issues with gb is that it does not work with the various vim or emacs packages. Things like goimports have no idea what to do when GOPATH is not set.

FAIL: I have a use-case where my application is a huge template of go code. The template contents and the main.go file is resolved from the command line. For example my .sh file fills the environment with SQL fragments which I call a catalog. The build process takes a named root variable and resolves the rest.  Then it inserts all the values into the template as text/template does and produces the new main.go. First of all... this is a preprocessor step and gb does not support that. Second, gb supports multiple main(s) with branched folders in the main (cmd-ish) folder with one main per leaf folder. Sadly, generate could not find the proper artifacts to build and in fact broke the path.  Face it. gb is the preprocessor/wrapper that the go toolchain intended to subvert and now it's being wrapped again except that (a) cannot unwrap the default tools (b) is not a hybrid (b) is not idiomatic and I cannot wrap it again as I would the standard go tools.

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