Virtualgo (or vg for short) is a tool which provides workspace based development for Go. It's an improvement over the vendor directory, but still works together with package management tools such as dep and glide.
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vg for short) is a tool which provides workspace based
development for Go. Its main feature set that makes it better than other
solutions is as follows:
- Extreme ease of use
- No interference with other go tools
- Version pinning for imports
- Version pinning for executables, such as linters (e.g.
errcheck) and codegen tools (e.g.
- Importing a dependency that's locally checked out outside of the workspace (also called multi project workflow)
- Optional full isolation for imports, see the section on import modes for details.
Virtualgo doesn't do dependency resolution or version pinning itself, because
this is a hard problem that's already being solved by other tools. Its approach
is to build on top of these tools, such as
dep, to provide the features features listed
For people coming from Python
vg is very similar to
being respective to
pip. The main difference is that
vg is much easier to
virtualenv, because there's almost no mental overhead in using
The Go community is now using Go Modules to handle dependencies. This project is now mostly unmaintained. Please read more about this here.
Below is an example showing some basic usage of
vg. See further down and
for more information and examples.
$ cd $GOPATH/src/github.com/GetStream/example $ vg init # initial creation of workspace # Now all commands will be executed from within the example workspace (example) $ go get github.com/pkg/errors # package only present in workspace (example) $ vg ensure # installs the dependencies of the example project using dep (example) $ vg deactivate $ cd ~ $ cd $GOPATH/src/github.com/GetStream/example (example) $ # The workspace is now activated automatically after cd-ing to the project directory
Advantages over existing solutions
The obvious question is: Why should you use
vg? What advantages does it
bring over what you're using now? This obviously depends on what you're using
- You can pin versions of executable dependencies, such as linting and code generation tools.
- No more issues with
go test ./...running tests in the
vendordirectory when using
go1.8 and below.
- You can easily use a dependency from your global
GOPATHinside your workspace, without running into confusing import errors.
- It has optional full isolation. If enabled there's
no accidental fallbacks to regular
GOPATHcausing confusion about what version of a package you're using.
- When using full isolation, tools such as IDEs can spend much less time on indexing. This is simply because they don't have to index the packages outside the workspace.
- You don't have problems when using plugins: https://github.com/akutz/gpd
Advantages over manually managing multiple
- Automatic activation of a
cdinto a directory.
- Integration with version management tools such as
glideallow for reproducible builds.
- Useful commands to manage installed packages. For instance for uninstalling
a package or installing a local package from another
First install the package:
go get -u github.com/GetStream/vg
Although not required, it is recommended to install
bindfs as well. This gives the best experience when
using full isolation and when using
vg localInstall. If you do this, DON'T remove things manually from
~/.virtualgo. Only use
vg uninstall, otherwise you can very
well lose data.
# OSX brew install bindfs # Ubuntu apt install bindfs # Arch Linux pacaur -S bindfs # or yaourt or whatever tool you use for AUR
Automatic shell configuration
You can run the following command to configure all supported shells automatically:
After this you have to reload (
source) your shell configuration file:
source ~/.bashrc # for bash source ~/.zshrc # for zsh source ~/.config/fish/config.fish # for fish
Manual shell configuration
You can also edit your shell configuration file manually. Afterwards you still
source the file like explained above.
For bash put this in your
command -v vg >/dev/null 2>&1 && eval "$(vg eval --shell bash)"
Or for zsh, put his in your
command -v vg >/dev/null 2>&1 && eval "$(vg eval --shell zsh)"
Or for fish, put this in your
command -v vg >/dev/null 2>&1; and vg eval --shell fish | source
The following commands are the main commands to use
# The first command to use is the one to create and activate a workspace named # after the current direcory $ cd $GOPATH/src/github.com/GetStream/example $ vg init (example) $ # This command also links the current directory to the created workspace. This # way the next time you cd to this directory the workspace will be activated # automatically. # (See below in the README on how to use the workspace from an IDE) # All go commands in this shell are now executed from within your workspace. The # following will install the most recent version of the cobra command and # library inside the workspace (example) $ go get -u github.com/spf13/cobra/cobra (example) $ cobra Cobra is a CLI library for Go that empowers applications. ...... # It's also possible to only activate a workspace and not link it to the # current directory. If the workspace doesn't exist it will also be # created on the fly. Activating a new workspace automatically deactivates # a previous one: (example) $ vg activate example2 (example2) $ cobra bash: cobra: command not found # To deactivate the workspace simply run: (example2) $ vg deactivate $ vg activate (example) $ # When a workspace is active, a go compilation will try to import packages # installed from the workspace first. In some cases you might want to use the # version of a package that is installed in your global GOPATH though. For # instance when you are fixing a bug in a dependency and want to test the fix. # In these cases you can easily install a package from your global GOPATH # into the workspace: (example) $ vg localInstall github.com/GetStream/utils # You can even install a package from a specific path: (example) $ vg localInstall github.com/GetStream/utils ~/weird/path/utils # You can also uninstall a package from your workspace again (example) $ vg uninstall github.com/spf13/cobra # NOTE: At the moment this only removes the sources and static libs in pkg/, not # executables. So the cobra command is still available. # See the following sections for integration with dependency management tools. # And for a full overview of all commands just run: (example) $ vg help # For detailed help of a specific command run: (example) $ vg help <command>
vg integrates well with
# Install the dependencies from Gopkg.lock into your workspace instead of the # vendor directory vg ensure # Pass options to `dep ensure` vg ensure -- -v -update
It also extends
dep with a way to install executable dependencies. The
repo itself uses it to install the
cobra command. It does
this by adding the following in
required = [ 'github.com/jteeuwen/go-bindata/go-bindata', 'github.com/spf13/cobra/cobra' ]
vg ensure after adding this will install the
command in the
GOBIN of the current workspace.
As you just saw
vg reuses the
However, if you don't want to install
all packages in the
required list you can achieve that by putting the
[metadata] install-required = false
You can also specify which packages to install without the
[metadata] install = [ 'github.com/jteeuwen/go-bindata/go-bindata', 'github.com/golang/mock/...', # supports pkg/... syntax ]
Integration with other dependency management tools (e.g glide)
dep is the main tool that virtualgo integrates with. It's also possible
to use other dependency management tools instead, as long as they create a
vendor directory. Installing executable dependencies is not supported though
(PRs for this are welcome).
glide works like this:
# Install dependencies into vendor with glide glide install # Move these dependencies into the workspace vg moveVendor
Workspace import modes
A workspace can be set up in two different import modes, global fallback or full isolation. The import mode of a workspace determines how imports from code behave and it is chosen when the workspace is created.
In global fallback mode, packages are imported from the original
they are not found in the workspace.
This is the default import mode for newly created workspaces, as this interferes
the least with existing go tools.
In full isolation mode, package imports will only search in the packages that are installed inside the workspace. This has some advantages:
- Tools such as IDE's don't have to search the global GOPATH for imports, which can result in a significant speedup for operations such as indexing.
- You always know the location of an imported package.
- It's not possible to accidentally import of a package that is not managed by your vendoring tool of choice.
However, there's also some downsides to full isolation of a workspace. These are
all caused by the fact that the project you're actually working on is not inside
GOPATH anymore. So normally go would not be able to find any imports
to it. This is partially worked around by locally installing the project into
your workspace, but it does not fix all issues.
In the sections below the remaining issues are described and you can decide for
yourself if the above advantages are worth the disadvantages. If you want to try
out full isolation you can create a new workspace using the
$ vg init --full-isolation # To change an existing workspace, you have to destroy and recreate it $ vg destroy example $ vg activate example --full-isolation
This will cause the workspace to use full isolation import mode each time it is
activated in the future. So there's no need to specify the
--full-isolation flag on each activation afterwards.
If you have
bindfs installed the issues you will run
into are only a slight inconvenience, for which easy workarounds exist. However,
it is important that you know about them, because they will probably cause
confusion otherwise. If you run into any other issues than the ones mentioned
here, please report them.
Relative packages in commands
The first set of issues happen when using relative reference to packages in commands. Some examples of this are:
go list ./...will return weirdly formatted paths, such as
go test ./..., might cause an
initfunction to be executed twice.
go build ./...won't work when an
internalpackage is present in the directory. Here you can expect an error saying
use of internal package not allowed.
Luckily, this can all easily be worked around by using absolute package paths
for these commands.
So for the
vg repo you would use the following alternatives:
# go list ./... go list github.com/GetStream/vg/... # go test ./... go test github.com/GetStream/vg/... # go build ./... go build github.com/GetStream/vg/...
Another issue that pops up is that
dep doesn't allow it's commands to be
executed outside of the
GOPATH. This is not a problem for
dep ensure, since
you usually use
vg ensure, which handles this automatically. However, this is
an issue for other commands, such as
dep status and
dep init. Luckily
there's an easy workaround for this as well. You can simply use
to execute commands from your regular
GOPATH, which fixes the issue:
vg globalExec dep init vg globalExec dep status
bindfs is not installed, symbolic links will be used to do the local
This has the same issues as described for
bindfs, but there's also some extra
ones that cannot be worked around as easily.
The reason for this is that go tooling does not like symbolic links in
Compiling will still work, but
go list github.com/... will not list your
package. Other than that there are also issues when using
(#11). Because of these issues it
is NOT RECOMMENDED to use virtualgo in full isolation mode without
Using a virtualgo workspace with an IDE (e.g. GoLand)
Because virtualgo is just a usability wrapper around changing your
a specific project it is usually quite easy to use it in combination with an
IDE. Just check out your
GOPATH after activating a workspace and configure the
IDE accordingly. Usually if you show your
GOPATH you will see two paths
separated by a colon:
$ echo $GOPATH /home/stream/.virtualgo/myworkspace:/home/stream/go
If you can set this full string directly that is fine. For GoLand you have to add the first one first and then the second one.
When using a workspace in full isolation mode it's even easier to set up as
there's only one
$ echo $GOPATH /home/stream/.virtualgo/myworkspace
Careers @ Stream
Would you like to work on cool projects like this? We are currently hiring for talented Gophers in Amsterdam and Boulder, get in touch with us if you are interested! [email protected]
*Note that all licence references and agreements mentioned in the virtualgo README section above are relevant to that project's source code only.