go get alone is a bad way to keep track of interesting packages
When I was just starting with Go, I kept running into interesting Go
packages that I wanted to keep track of and maybe use someday. 'No
problem', I thought, 'I'll just
go get them so I have them sitting
around and maybe I'll look at them too'.
Please allow yourself to learn from my painful experience here and don't
do this. Specifically, don't rely on '
go get' as your only way to keep
track of packages you want to keep an eye on, because in practice doing
so is a great way to forget what those packages are. There's no harm in
go get'ing packages you want to have handy to look through, but do
something in addition to keep track of what packages you're interested
in and why.
At first, there was nothing wrong with what I was doing. I could
easily look through the packages and even if I didn't, they sat
$GOPATH/src so I could keep track of them. Okay, they
were about three levels down from
$GOPATH/src itself, but no big
deal. Then I started getting interested in Go programs like vegeta, Go Package Store,
and delve, plus I was
installing and using more mundane
programs like goimports
The problem with all of these is that they have dependencies of
their own, and all of these dependencies wind up in
Pretty soon my Go source area was a dense thicket of source trees
that intermingled programs, packages I was interested in in their
own right, and dependencies of these first two.
After using Go seriously for not very long I've wound up with far too
many packages and repos in
$GOPATH/src to keep any sort of track of,
and especially to remember off the top of my head which packages I was
interested in. Since I was relying purely on
go get to keep track of
interesting Go packages, I have now essentially lost track of most of
them. The interesting packages I wanted to keep around because I might
use them have become lost in the noise of the dependencies, because I
can't tell one from the other without going through all 50+ of the repos
to read their READMEs.
As you might guess, I'd be much better off if I'd kept an explicit list of the packages I found interesting in some form. A text file of URLs would be fine; adding notes about what they did and why I thought they were interesting would be better. That would make it trivial to sort out the wheat from the chaff that's just there because of dependencies.
(These days I've switched to doing this for new interesting packages I
run across, but there's some number of packages from older times that
are lost somewhere in the depths of
PS: This can happen with programs too, but at least there tends to
be less in
$GOPATH/bin than in
$GOPATH/src so it's easier to
keep track of them. But if you have an ever growing
with an increasing amount of programs you don't actually care about,
there's the problem again.
Comments on this page:Written on 26 November 2014.