There's not a lot of Go code to learn the language from, and I'm sure I'm not the only one experimenting with it. So, if you found out something interesting about the language, please post an example here.

I'm also looking for

  • idiomatic ways to do things in Go,
  • C/C++ style of thinking "ported" to Go,
  • common pitfalls about the syntax,
  • anything interesting, really.
+11  A: 
 * How many different ways can £2 be made using any number of coins?
 * Now with 100% less semicolons!

package main
import "fmt"

/* This line took me over 10 minutes to figure out.
 *  "[...]" means "figure out the size yourself"
 * If you only specify "[]", it will try to create a slice, which is a reference to an existing array.
 * Also, ":=" doesn't work here.
var coin = [...]int{0, 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200}

func howmany(amount int, max int) int {
    if amount == 0 { return 1 }
    if amount < 0 { return 0 }
    if max <= 0 && amount >= 1 { return 0 }

    // recursion works as expected
    return howmany(amount, max-1) + howmany(amount-coin[max], max)

func main() {
    fmt.Println(howmany(200, len(coin)-1))
I would suggest removing the name of the problem solving site as well as the id number. Maybe rephrase the question. As to not spoil the problem to someone stumbling over it. Or trying to cheat by searching for the problem on the net for that matter.
For the record: this is the algorithm from http://www.algorithmist.com/index.php/Coin_Change It's the first Google result for "coin change".
+2  A: 

Did you watch this talk? It shows a lot of cool stuff you can do (end of the talk)

Yes, I did. It boils down to "There's a lot more in there, let's move on to the next topic."
Yes, apparently a lot to say with little time
+2  A: 

There are a lot of small programs in test in the main directory. Examples:

  • peano.go prints factorials.
  • hilbert.go has some matrix multiplication.
  • iota.go has examples of the weird iota thing.
+6  A: 

This is an implementation of a stack. It illustrates adding methods onto a type.

I wanted to make the stack part of it into a slice and use the slice's properties, but although I got that to work without the type, I couldn't see the syntax for defining a slice with a type.

package main
import "fmt";
import "os";

const stack_max = 100;

type Stack2 struct {
    stack [stack_max]string;
    size int;

func (s *Stack2) push (pushed_string string) {
    n := s.size;
    if n >= stack_max - 1 {
        fmt.Print ("Oh noes\n");
        os.Exit (1);
    s.stack[n] = pushed_string

func (s *Stack2) pop () string {
    n := s.size;
    if n == 0 {
        fmt.Print ("Underflow\n");
        os.Exit (1);
    top := s.stack[n-1];
    return top;

func (s *Stack2) print_all () {
    n := s.size;
    fmt.Printf ("Stack size is %d\n", n);
    for i := 0; i < n; i++ {
        fmt.Printf ("%d:\t%s\n", i, s.stack[i]);

func main () {
    stack := new (Stack2);
    stack.print_all ();
    stack.push ("boo");
    stack.print_all ();
    popped := stack.pop ();
    fmt.Printf ("Stack top is %s\n", popped);
    stack.print_all ();
    stack.push ("moo");
    stack.push ("zoo");
    stack.print_all ();
    popped2 := stack.pop ();
    fmt.Printf ("Stack top is %s\n", popped2);
    stack.print_all ();
Rather than using `fmt.Printf(...); os.Exit();`, you can use `panic(...)`.
That gives a stack trace, which I don't want.
+1  A: 

Calling c code from go

It's possible to access the lower level of go by using the c runtime.

C functions are in the form

void package·function(...)

(note the dot seperator is a unicode character) where the arguments may be basic go types, slices, strings etc. To return a value call


(you can return more than one value)

For instance, to create a function

package foo
bar( a int32, b string )(c float32 ){
    c = 1.3 + float32(a - int32(len(b))

in C you use

#include "runtime.h"
void foo·bar(int32 a, String b, float32 c){
    c = 1.3 + a - b.len;

Note that you still should declare the function in a go file, and that you'll have to take care of memory yourself. I'm not sure if it's possible to call external libraries using this, it may be better to use cgo.

Look at $GOROOT/src/pkg/runtime for examples used in the runtime.

See also this answer for linking c++ code with go.

Scott Wales
Does it use the "flying dot", really? I don't dare edit, but that seems a bit unexpected and radical.
Yes, you need to compile with 6c (or 8c, etc). I don't think gcc handles unicode identifiers.
Scott Wales
I think AltGr+period types the same · but with unicode I'm not sure. Was very surprised to see that in source I read.. why not use something like ::?
The character is MIDDLE DOT U+00B7. The parser may have been fudged so that it sees this as a character in order to make a valid c identifier, which I believe would preclude ::.
Scott Wales
The '·' is just a temporary hack, rob was even surprised it was still there, he said it was going to be replaced with something less idiosyncratic.
What language is that second code fragment written in? It's neither go nor C.
The one with include "runtime.h" is c, I missed the hash. int32, String etc. are defined in the runtime header.
Scott Wales
+7  A: 

There is a make system set up that you can use in $GOROOT/src

Set up your makefile with

TARG=foobar           # Name of package to compile
GOFILES=foo.go bar.go # Go sources
CGOFILES=bang.cgo     # Sources to run cgo on
OFILES=a_c_file.$O    # Sources compiled with $Oc
                      # $O is the arch number (6 for x86_64)

include $(GOROOT)/src/Make.$(GOARCH)
include $(GOROOT)/src/Make.pkg

You can then use the automated testing tools by running make test, or add the package and shared objects from cgo to your $GOROOT with make install.

Scott Wales
+11  A: 

Here's a nice example of iota from Kinopiko's post:

type ByteSize float64
const (
    _ = iota;   // ignore first value by assigning to blank identifier
    KB ByteSize = 1<<(10*iota);

// This implicitly repeats to fill in all the values (!)
+13  A: 

Go and get your stackoverflow reputation

This is a translation of this answer.

package main
import ("json"; "fmt"; "http"; "os";"strings")

func die (message string) {
    fmt.Printf ("%s.\n", message);
    os.Exit (1);

func main () {
    kinopiko_flair := "http://stackoverflow.com/users/flair/181548.json";
    response, _, error := http.Get (kinopiko_flair);
    if (error != nil) {
        die (fmt.Sprintf ("Error getting %s", kinopiko_flair))
    var nr int;
    const buf_size = 0x1000;
    buf := make ([]byte, buf_size);
    nr, error = response.Body.Read (buf);
    if error != nil && error != os.EOF {
        die (fmt.Sprintf ("Error reading response: %s", error.String ()))
    if nr >= buf_size { die ("Buffer overrun") }
    response.Body.Close ();
    json_text := strings.Split (string (buf), "\000", 2);
    parsed, ok, errtok := json.StringToJson (json_text[0]);
    if ! ok {
        die (fmt.Sprintf ("Error parsing JSON %s at %s", json_text, errtok))
    fmt.Printf ("Your stackoverflow.com reputation is %s\n",
                parsed.Get ("reputation"));

Thanks to Scott Wales for help with .Read ().

This looks fairly clunky still, with the two strings and two buffers, so if any Go experts have advice, let me know.

I'm not sure what was supposed to be wrong with the formatting; I've restored it.
The Go authors recommend to `gofmt` your code :-)
I can't compile it: $ ../go/src/cmd/6g/6g SO.go SO.go:34: undefined: json.StringToJson
@Raphink: the language has changed since I made this.
Yeah, do you know maybe what's the closest equivalent to the StringToJson? It used to set up a builder internally, now one has to provide their own with a predefined native structure?
+9  A: 

Here's an idiom from the Effective Go page

switch {
case '0' <= c && c <= '9':
    return c - '0'
case 'a' <= c && c <= 'f':
    return c - 'a' + 10
case 'A' <= c && c <= 'F':
    return c - 'A' + 10
return 0

The switch statement switches on true when no expression is given. So this is equivalent to

if '0' <= c && c <= '9' {
    return c-'0';
  } else if 'a' <= c && c <= 'f' {
    return c - 'a' + 10;
  } else if 'A' <= c && c <= 'F' {
    return c - 'A' + 10;
  return 0;

At the moment, the switch version looks a little cleaner to me.

Rob Russell
Whoa, completely ripped of from VB. ;-) (`Switch True` …)
Konrad Rudolph
@Konrad, beat me to it! :) I've used that idiom in VB6 code before and it definitely can help readability in certain situations.
Mike Spross
What is '<='? Is it related to '<-' ?
+2  A: 
const ever = true;

for ever {
    //infinite loop
ahem. `for { /* infinite loop */ }` is enough.
Of course. That's exactly what's happening here. I just like the `forever` keyword. Even Qt has a macro for that.
but Go doesn't need a macro or a cute alias of true to do this.
@kaizer.se: Jurily's point is that `for ever` (after declaring the variable) is something cute you can do in Go if you want to. It looks like English (modulo the blank).
it is something cute you can do in C as well.. :-) `#define ever (;;)`
+10  A: 

Go object files actually include a cleartext header:

[email protected] ~/workspace/go/euler31 $ 6g euler31.go
[email protected] ~/workspace/go/euler31 $ cat euler31.6
  exports automatically generated from
  euler31.go in package "main"

$$  // exports
  package main
    var main.coin [9]int
    func main.howmany (amount int, max int) (? int)
    func main.main ()
    var main.initdone· uint8
    func main.init ()

$$  // local types
  type main.dsigddd_1·1 struct { ? int }


<binary segment>
That's more like a hidden feature than an idiomatic example
hasen j
+4  A: 

When importing packages, you can redefine the name to anything you want:

package main

import f "fmt"

func main()
    f.Printf("Hello World\n");
I've already made use of this:http://stackoverflow.com/questions/1726698/code-golf-sierpinskis-triangle/1727227#1727227
+17  A: 

Defer statements

A "defer" statement invokes a function whose execution is deferred to the moment the surrounding function returns.

DeferStmt = "defer" Expression .

The expression must be a function or method call. Each time the "defer" statement executes, the parameters to the function call are evaluated and saved anew but the function is not invoked. Deferred function calls are executed in LIFO order immediately before the surrounding function returns, but after the return values, if any, have been evaluated.

defer unlock(l);  // unlocking happens before surrounding function returns

// prints 3 2 1 0 before surrounding function returns
for i := 0; i <= 3; i++ {
    defer fmt.Print(i);
What is it good for?
Looks like good old RAII (made explicit).
Konrad Rudolph
+1 since I read a lot about Go, but I still didn't see this (until you showed me)!
Clever, although it would make more sense to me if defer statements where executed in FIFO order (top to bottom), but maybe that's just me...
Mike Spross
Cool. Reminds me of scrop guards from D http://www.digitalmars.com/d/2.0/exception-safe.html
hasen j
@Mike: if you compare with blocks of "try:..finally:" LIFO nests in the same way. For resource open/close pairs etc, nesting like this is the only thing that makes sense (First open will close last).
@kaizer: I guess it depends how you read the `defer` statements in your head :). Since it's in LIFO order, you have to read it "backwards" to see how it's releasing things (`defer CloseDatabase; defer CloseTable` means "Close the database AFTER you close the table"). If I didn't know any better, I would have written it as `defer CloseTable; defer CloseDatabase` because my first instinct would be to read it as "Close the table first, THEN close the database."). But backwards to me is correct to someone else ;)
Mike Spross
Ah, ignore my last comment. I understand why I'm confused now. I was assuming you would put all the `defer` statements at the top of the function (sort of like preconditions), which would make the LIFO order kind of weird to deal with. But you are putting a `defer` statement right after a resource acquisition, then the LIFO order makes perfect sense. So my example would be more like `OpenDatabase(); defer CloseDatabase();` `OpenTable(); defer CloseTable(); DoStuffWithTable();`. Then the table is closed first, followed by the closing of the database. That makes *way* more sense to me now.
Mike Spross
Like Kinopiko, I wonder what this is good for in real life?
+9  A: 

From James Antill's answer:

foo     := <-ch; // This blocks.
foo, ok := <-ch; // This returns immediately.

Also, a potential pitfall: the subtle difference between the receive and send operators:

a <- ch; // sends ch to channel a
  <-ch;  // reads from channel ch
+1  A: 

Here is a simple program that converts a long URL to a short URL via http://is.gd/


Nick Presta
+1  A: 

Another interesting thing in Go is that godoc. You can run it as a web server on your computer using

godoc -http=:8080

where 8080 is the port number, and the entire website at golang.org is then available at localhost:8080.

Is this a regular program or a daemon?
I don't know. <!-- 15 -->
+6  A: 

I like that you can redefine types, including primitives like int, as many times as you like and attach different methods. Like defining a RomanNumeral type:

var numText = "zero one two three four five six seven eight nine ten"
var numRoman = "- I II III IV V VI VII IX X"
var aText = strings.Split(numText, " ", 0)
var aRoman = strings.Split(numRoman, " ", 0)

type TextNumber int
type RomanNumber int

func (n TextNumber) String() string {
  return aText[n];
func (n RomanNumber) String() string {
  return aRoman[n];
func main() {
  var i = 5;
  fmt.Println("Number: ", i, TextNumber(i), RomanNumber(i));

Which prints out

Number:  5 five V

The RomanNumber() call is essentially a cast, it redefines the int type as a more specific type of int. And Println() calls String() behind the scenes.

+8  A: 

I have seen a couple of people complaining about the for-loop, along the lines of "why should we have to say i = 0; i < len; i++ in this day and age?".

I disagree, I like the for construct. You can use the long version if you wish, but the idiomatic Go is

var a = []int{1,2,3};
for i, v := range a {
  fmt.Println(i, v);

The for .. range construct loops over all the elements and supplies two values - the index i and the value v.

range also works on maps and channels.

Still, if you dislike for in any form, you can define each, map etc. in a few lines:

type IntArr []int

  // 'each' takes a function argument. 
  // The function must accept two ints, the index and value,
  // and will be called on each element in turn.
func (a IntArr) each(fn func(index, value int)) {
  for i, v := range a { fn(i, v); }

func main() {
  var a = IntArr([]int{2,0,0,9}); // create int slice and cast to IntArr
  var fnPrint = func (i, v int) { 
    fmt.Println(i, ":", v); 
  }; // create a function 

  a.each(fnPrint); // call on each element


0 : 2
1 : 0
2 : 0
3 : 9

I'm starting to like Go a lot :)

+3  A: 

This is an example of putting an interface onto a type and then sorting it:

package main
import ("fmt";"sort")

const MooSize = 10;

type Moo [MooSize]string;

func (moo * Moo) Len () int {
    return MooSize;

func (moo * Moo) Less (i, j int) bool {
    return moo[i] < moo[j];

func (moo *Moo) Swap (i, j int) {
    moo[j], moo[i] = moo[i], moo[j];

func (moo *Moo) print () {
    for i := 0; i < MooSize; i++ {
       fmt.Printf ("%d:\t%s\n", i, moo[i]);

func main () {
    var m = Moo {"one", "two", "three", "four", "five",
               "six", "seven", "eight", "nine", "ten"};
    m.print ();
    sort.Sort (&m);
    m.print ();

It's fun to remove one or two of Len, Swap, and Less from the interface and watch the error messages the compiler gives you.

+4  A: 

Named result parameters

The return or result "parameters" of a Go function can be given names and used as regular variables, just like the incoming parameters. When named, they are initialized to the zero values for their types when the function begins; if the function executes a return statement with no arguments, the current values of the result parameters are used as the returned values.

The names are not mandatory but they can make code shorter and clearer: they're documentation. If we name the results of nextInt it becomes obvious which returned int is which.

func nextInt(b []byte, pos int) (value, nextPos int) {

Because named results are initialized and tied to an unadorned return, they can simplify as well as clarify. Here's a version of io.ReadFull that uses them well:

func ReadFull(r Reader, buf []byte) (n int, err os.Error) {
    for len(buf) > 0 && err == nil {
        var nr int;
        nr, err = r.Read(buf);
        n += nr;
        buf = buf[nr:len(buf)];
I'm curious -- does any other language have this?
Matlab has something similar.
Dan Lorenc
+5  A: 

You can swap variables by parallel assignment:

x, y = y, x

// or in an array
a[j], a[i] = a[i], a[j]

simple but effective.

+4  A: 
for {
  v := <-ch;
  if closed(ch) { break }

Since range automatically checks for a closed channel, we can shorten to this:

for v := range ch {
+6  A: 

Returning a channel

This is a true idiom that is quite important: how to feed data into a channel and close it afterwards. With this you can make simple iterators (since range will accept a channel) or filters.

// return a channel that doubles the values in the input channel
func DoublingIterator(input chan int) chan int {
    outch := make(chan int);
    // start a goroutine to feed the channel (asynchronously)
    go func() {
        for x := range input {
            outch <- 2*x;    
        // close the channel we created and control
    return outch;
+1. Also, you can pass channels through channels as well.
+3  A: 

Timeout for channel reads:

ticker := time.NewTicker(ns);
select {
    case v := <- chan_target:
    case <- ticker.C:

Stolen from Davies Liu.

+3  A: 

Type switches:

switch i := x.(type) {
case nil:
    printString("x is nil");
case int:
    printInt(i);  // i is an int
case float:
    printFloat(i);  // i is a float
case func(int) float:
    printFunction(i);  // i is a function
case bool, string:
    printString("type is bool or string");  // i is an interface{}
    printString("don't know the type");
+1  A: 

Here is a go example using the sqlite3 package.


Bikal Gurung