Turning into a Gopher

For the last couple of weeks I have been actively job hunting and in one of the place I interviewed I was asked if I can do take-home assignment in Go. Since I had already mentioned in the interview I had been learning Go on the side. I agreeded finishing the assignment in Go thinking this might be a good challenge to take on and by doing this I might have a chance to showcase my ability of picking up new things quickly.

Plus having a deadline to complete the take-home assignment in a week could also accelerate my Go learning, as it provides a time based goal to work towards.

Gopher Coffee Gif

So for a week I spend most of my time reading parts of Learning Go, refering to tutorials Learn Go with Tests, watching old episodes from justforfunc: Programming in Go, a lot of stackoverflowing and talking to friends who use Go as primary language at work to get some pointers(no pun intended) on best practices, blogs to follow etc.

After a week, I finished writing gogrep, a command line program written in Go that implements Unix grep like functionality.

gogrep has a fairly small subset of features it can search a pattern from a file or a directory and also has support for flags like

While adding these features I also added a fair bit of tests to the project to see how tests are written in Go.

At the moment the test coverage of the entire project is around 72.0% where all the major packages that server as helper or have buisness logic have a coverage greater than 83% and a very few have 100%.

Since gogrep is my first Go project, I do have some loose opinions about the language and the tools it offer. Primarly from the prespective of Pythonista, who has been using Python as a primarly language for the last four years.

if err != nil {
// Do something here to log/return error

This seems to be the only way to handle error at least that I know of. So most of my code was be sprinkled with a lot of these statements if err != nil in the top layer of the abstraction, for gogrep it was the main.go when I was calling func ParseFlags() for processing arguments.


// main.go

conf, output, err := parseflag.ParseFlags(os.Args[0], os.Args[1:])

if err == flag.ErrHelp {
    // Print the usage of the CLI
} else if err != nil {
    fmt.Println("Error: \n", err)

func ParseFlags(searchWord string, args []string) (config *Config, output string, err error) {
 // Supressed code 	
err = flags.Parse(args)
if err != nil {
    return nil, buf.String(), err

 // Supressed code
if len(flags.Args()) == 0 {
    return nil, "", fmt.Errorf("missing argument searchword and filename")

 // Supressed code
return &conf, buf.String(), nil

Even with functions I had to write a signature of input types and output.

func ParseFlags(searchWord string, args []string) (config *Config, output string, err error)

Having types in the function signature and output became such a great advantage later on both developer experience when refactoring and re-reding code that I wrote days back.

I became a fan of types in the codebase to such an extent that now I am all in for type annotations in my Python code if they can give me similar advantages.

Overall, it was really fun week of learning something new and not using something that is already in my toolkit.

If I do more Go project in the future I would defenitely like to do a talk “Go for Python Developers” where I talk about my experinces of building a series of projects in both Go and Python like:

Thus giving out more stronger opinions that I can back and giving a much deeper overview on what to expect when working with both the languages.

Gopher Gif

References: – Gopher Gifs: Images