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Go Packages

Links: 103 Golang Index

Pre Modules Era

  • Go programmers typically keep all their Go code in a single workspace.
    • This was a stringent requirement before version 1.13 (released in 2019)
    • After this version more flexibility was provided on where you could store your source code.
    • A workspace is nothing more than a directory in your file system whose path is stored in the environment variable called GOPATH.
  • On Windows , it's in %USERPROFILE%\go (For Example: C: \Users\ad\go)
  • On Mac & Linux, it's in: ~/go (For Example: /home/john/go)
  • You can print out the values of the environment variables by running the go env command.
    • go env | grep -i gopath
  • Third party tools were used for dependency management


  • A package is a collection of go files.
  • Every go file has to be a part of some package.
  • Packages in Go are to be small and many.
    • Try to keep the structure as flat as possible. That is don't nest packages inside packages.

Different Types of Packages

  • Executable packages:
    • That generate executable files which can be run.
    • The name of an executable package is predefined and is called main.
      • This package must have a function called main.
      • This function tells go from where to start executing code.
      • It doesn't take any input parameters or return anything.
  • Non-executable packages:
    • (Libraries or dependencies) that are used by other packages. Example fmt
    • They can have any name.
    • They can not be executed, only imported.
    • All packages other than main are non executable packages.
File which is a part of the main package and contains the main function need not be named main.go

Creating & Importing Packages

All files in a directory must belong to the same package.
  • It is not allowed to have files belonging to different packages in the same directory.
  • Similarly we cannot have files of a single package in multiple directories
  • It is idiomatic to use simple and short name for packages (like time, http, list)
  • It is not advised to use _ and camelCase naming for packages.
The normal convention is to have the folder name be same as the package name.
Only function/variables names starting from uppercase letter (considered public) can be used by other packages.

If the function/variable names are lowercase then they will be considered private and won't be exported.

  • Think that while importing the package we import the whole directory.
  • It is common to name the source file same as that of the package directory. This is not mandatory.

    • The package will still be imported in the same way, since we import the whole directory and not a single go file.
  • Scopes in Go

    • In package scope you can use variables in other files belonging to the same package without needing to export them (uppercasing).
  • import statements belong to the file scope and are only visible in that file.
    • So if you want to use fmt in multiple files of the same package then it should be imported in all those source files.
It is possible that a package contains a single file.

init function

  • It is called automatically when a package is initialised, always before the main function.
    • We cannot call it manually.
  • We can have multiple init functions in a file and their order of execution will be the order in which they appear.
  • The most common use case of init functions are to initialise global variables before main is called.
var array [2]int

func init() {

func main() {

func init() {
    array = [2]int{1, 3}

// init1, init2, [1,3]

Last updated: 2022-06-05