Programming language: Go
License: Mozilla Public License 2.0
Tags: Miscellaneous    
Latest version: v1.1.0

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go-multierror is a package for Go that provides a mechanism for representing a list of error values as a single error.

This allows a function in Go to return an error that might actually be a list of errors. If the caller knows this, they can unwrap the list and access the errors. If the caller doesn't know, the error formats to a nice human-readable format.

go-multierror is fully compatible with the Go standard library errors package, including the functions As, Is, and Unwrap. This provides a standardized approach for introspecting on error values.

Installation and Docs

Install using go get github.com/hashicorp/go-multierror.

Full documentation is available at http://godoc.org/github.com/hashicorp/go-multierror


go-multierror is easy to use and purposely built to be unobtrusive in existing Go applications/libraries that may not be aware of it.

Building a list of errors

The Append function is used to create a list of errors. This function behaves a lot like the Go built-in append function: it doesn't matter if the first argument is nil, a multierror.Error, or any other error, the function behaves as you would expect.

var result error

if err := step1(); err != nil {
    result = multierror.Append(result, err)
if err := step2(); err != nil {
    result = multierror.Append(result, err)

return result

Customizing the formatting of the errors

By specifying a custom ErrorFormat, you can customize the format of the Error() string function:

var result *multierror.Error

// ... accumulate errors here, maybe using Append

if result != nil {
    result.ErrorFormat = func([]error) string {
        return "errors!"

Accessing the list of errors

multierror.Error implements error so if the caller doesn't know about multierror, it will work just fine. But if you're aware a multierror might be returned, you can use type switches to access the list of errors:

if err := something(); err != nil {
    if merr, ok := err.(*multierror.Error); ok {
        // Use merr.Errors

You can also use the standard errors.Unwrap function. This will continue to unwrap into subsequent errors until none exist.

Extracting an error

The standard library errors.As function can be used directly with a multierror to extract a specific error:

// Assume err is a multierror value
err := somefunc()

// We want to know if "err" has a "RichErrorType" in it and extract it.
var errRich RichErrorType
if errors.As(err, &errRich) {
    // It has it, and now errRich is populated.

Checking for an exact error value

Some errors are returned as exact errors such as the ErrNotExist error in the os package. You can check if this error is present by using the standard errors.Is function.

// Assume err is a multierror value
err := somefunc()
if errors.Is(err, os.ErrNotExist) {
    // err contains os.ErrNotExist

Returning a multierror only if there are errors

If you build a multierror.Error, you can use the ErrorOrNil function to return an error implementation only if there are errors to return:

var result *multierror.Error

// ... accumulate errors here

// Return the `error` only if errors were added to the multierror, otherwise
// return nil since there are no errors.
return result.ErrorOrNil()