Think about your dependencies

A little copying is better than a little dependency, says Go proverb.

Go has a huge standard library, which has support for many, many things. I think many developers, don’t utilize it fully. I mean I have seen many new gophers try to use packages for everything. For example, do you really need a dependency on github.com/stretchr/testify ?  If you are just using assert, maybe you can just can copy the assert function from benbjohnson/testing? Ben Johnson has  published these convenience functions (MIT license):

func assert(tb testing.TB, condition bool, msg string) 
func ok(tb testing.TB, err error) 
func equals(tb testing.TB, exp, act interface{}) 

If you are using the TestSuite stuff, maybe you can just avoid it entirely? The same goes for all the cool HTTP muxes. It’s cool, but if you don’t have a lot of endpoints, maybe you can just avoid that dependency and use standard library’s http package.

But why am I against dependencies? Well, for new developers learning a new language is a lot, if you complicate this by adding custom packages and frameworks it will be harder. And it will be harder for you too. If you get back to a project after a break, you will notice that you have to relearn the dependencies you have used.

With less dependencies you will spend less time managing them. Once, I spent 3 hours fixing a dependency problem with Glide. The problem was that one of my dependency (let’s call this dependency A) had a dependency on an older version of a package C and another dependency (let’s call it B) had a dependency on a newer version of a package C. The biggest problem was that package hadn’t used semantic versioning, so I had to try random library C commits and try to get this thing working… After doing that for an hour, I took a break and realized, that I can easily rewrite the code and remove a dependency on B.

But aren’t packages from standard library are dependencies too? Well yes, but by utilizing the standard library, you are learning the language. You will start to remember public functions, structs and interfaces, after awhile. Also, Go has version 1 compatibility guarantee, that means that standard library’s API won’t break down on you, for go 1.* versions.

Of course don’t go and reimplement Go MySQL driver or anything crazy like that. Just think before adding another dependency!

That’s all from me. Do you enjoy these articles? Follow me on twitter @PofkeVe and join my mailing list 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *