Go Code Auto Format

Feb 14, 2018 14:55 · 361 words · 2 minute read Go

Method to auto format your go code.

I really like Go’s commitment to a standard code format, but I constantly forget to format my files!


gofmt is the tool for formatting go code. Usually, I would run:

$ gofmt -w <file>

to format a *.go file.

Also, you can run:

$ gofmt -w

in a project directory, this will exanmine all codes in the directory and format all of them.

This brings up a problem, which is the vendor folder. Normally we would not want to format codes in the vendor directory, because those codes are not written by ourselves, plus they’re always under version control.

So to ignore the vendor folder (as well as hidden files and directories, aka. “.files”):

$ gofmt -w -l $(find . -type f -name '*.go' -not -path "./vendor/*" -not -path "*/\.*")

git pre-commit hook

Now I will never want to manually run this command every time I want to commit some codes. In fact, I don’t want to run any command just to format my code. This should definitely be an automated job.

Git has a commonly under-utilized feature: hooks. You can think of a hook as an event that gets triggered before and after various stages of revision control process. Some hooks of note are:

  • prepare-commit-msg - Fires before the commit message prompt.
  • pre-commit - Fires before a git commit.
  • post-commit - Fires after a git commit.
  • post-checkout - Fires after changing branches.
  • post-merge - Fires after merging branches.
  • pre-push - Fires before code is pushed to a remote.

To automate our formatting job, all we need to do is to write some pre-commit script code.

Suppose now I have a local git golang repository named my-go-project. Here’s what we do:

$ cd path/to/my-go-project/.git/hooks
$ touch pre-commit
$ chmod +x pre-commit
$ vim pre-commit

and write:

echo "\033[0;32mFormatted code files:\033[0m"
gofmt -w -l $(find . -type f -name '*.go' -not -path "./vendor/*" -not -path "*/\.*")
git add .

And that’s it.

from now on every time we commit some codes in my-go-project, this script will be executed, format our code and add the formatted version of codes all for that commit we triggered.