proposal: godoc: hide deprecated things by default #17056

bradfitz opened this Issue Sep 10, 2016 · 18 comments


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Summary has some garbage I'd like to hide. I'd like to hide everything about ClientConn and ServerConn


Before Go 1, we renamed the http package to net/http and in the process deleted some junk, and moved other junk to net/http/httputil, thinking that people might still need it. This was all pre-Go 1 when the APIs were changing daily, weekly, monthly. But we were trying to be nice anyway.

Turns out nobody needed that junk, though, even then, and not today:

Zero results.

I updated the docs some time ago:

... says simply:

ClientConn is an artifact of Go's early HTTP implementation. It is low-level, old, and unused by Go's current HTTP stack. We should have deleted it before Go 1.

Deprecated: Use Client or Transport in package net/http instead.

There are a couple good bits in there, though. ReverseProxy is very widely used, and the Dump* functions are often used in debugging.


Let godoc have configuration on public symbols to treat as if they were private. And then use that configuration for to hide that junk, without deleting them from the package, so we don't violate the Go 1 compatibility promise. Think of this as a very strong form of deprecation.

If users really want to see it, they can use to see all the junk.


But Brad, this is a very slippery slope. What will we hide next?
Good question. There might be more to hide.

But why?
Because httputil looks embarrassing, and it looking like a trash heap prevents us from non-embarrassingly adding anything else to it. Let's clean up the house before we invite guests over.

/cc @griesemer @adg @broady @quentinmit @minux @campoy

@bradfitz bradfitz added the Proposal label Sep 10, 2016
@bradfitz bradfitz added this to the Proposal milestone Sep 10, 2016

I'm all for cleaning up the documentation, but I don't like doing so by blacklist. What if godoc sorted items marked Deprecated below everything else and collapsed Deprecated items by default?

That would work with the (semi?) standard deprecation warnings for everyone without a special case for officially super-deprecated items. It wouldn't be totally hidden but it would be less messy, clearer that stuff is deprecated at a glance in general, and not too difficult for someone to look up deprecated docs if needed.

Something like:

func DumpRequest(req *http.Request, body bool) ([]byte, error)
func DumpRequestOut(req *http.Request, body bool) ([]byte, error)
func DumpResponse(resp *http.Response, body bool) ([]byte, error)
func NewChunkedReader(r io.Reader) io.Reader
func NewChunkedWriter(w io.Writer) io.WriteCloser
type BufferPool
type ReverseProxy
    func NewSingleHostReverseProxy(target *url.URL) *ReverseProxy
    func (p *ReverseProxy) ServeHTTP(rw http.ResponseWriter, req *http.Request)

type ClientConn Deprecated (click to expand arrow icon thingy)
type ServerConn  Deprecated (click to expand arrow icon thingy)

where the {Client,Server}Conn's full documentation is at the bottom of the page, similarly collapsed.

minux commented Sep 10, 2016
@bradfitz bradfitz changed the title from proposal: godoc: list of configurable symbols to hide by default to proposal: godoc: hide deprecated things by default Sep 10, 2016

@minux, SGTM. Hiding all deprecated things works for me with a mode to include them. Or have them simply be JavaScript-hidden is fine too, similar to Examples.

adg commented Sep 11, 2016


veyor commented Sep 12, 2016

Good idea. Present the current docs by default, but still make legacy docs available to those who need them.

j7b commented Sep 12, 2016

👎 because the "zero results" is misleading, a quick search finds examples in the wild like and there's also cases where ClientConn is less painful than working around the net/http interfaces. Giving deprecated stuff a separate section is probably reasonable but hiding it is at the very least also misleading.

broady commented Sep 12, 2016 edited

+1 for telling people that there are N things hidden. If they choose to "show all", let's also mark the deprecated stuff with an icon and group them together at the bottom.

What is the string that godoc will look for? Is it Deprecated: at the beginning of a comment line? I think I've also seen DEPRECATED used.

minux commented Sep 12, 2016
dsnet commented Sep 12, 2016 edited

I have a minor concern with simply hiding deprecated items. If I'm reviewing some code that uses a deprecated feature that I'm unfamiliar with and then go to the godoc of the package, I'll be a little confused when cntrl-f doesn't show the deprecated feature in question. Remembering to show deprecated features is probably not my first thought. Is it possible for cntrl-f to search through (and show) javascript hidden elements?

However, I strongly believe that we should display deprecated features differently somehow in godoc.

Edit: Just a thought, maybe hide deprecated types, methods, and functions from the index? but still show them in package documentation? It's inconsistent, so I'm on the fence about this idea.


@dsnet, to address your Ctrl-F concern, we can make the JavaScript put at the bottom of the page:

Hiding 5 deprecated things: Foo, Bar, Type, Type.Method, Baz.

And each could be a link to #Foo, #Type.Method, etc, which like @minux said would open up the hidden element.

dsnet commented Sep 12, 2016


What is the string that godoc will look for? Is it Deprecated: at the beginning of a comment line? I think I've also seen DEPRECATED used.

It seems that #10909 settled on Deprecated: as the convention. There's even some discussion on that issue about altering godoc to handle that string specially, but obviously we didn't really move forward with that work (till now).

adg commented Oct 24, 2016 edited

The plan:

  • Deprecated items are not listed in the index
  • A separate short list of deprecated symbols is presented after the index
  • Deprecated symbols are documented in a separate section, below the other code
  • The deprecated symbol docs are collapsed by default, as with examples
  • A direct link to a deprecated symbol shows the docs already expanded, as with examples

The go doc command also needs to address this, consistently with godoc. That's a separate issue.

dsnet commented Oct 25, 2016

Just wondering. How do you plan on handling deprecated fields in structs (e.g., zip.FileHeader.CompressedSize)?

adg commented Oct 25, 2016

We'll probably punt on it. I don't see an elegant way of dealing with it.

On 26 October 2016 at 07:36, Joe Tsai wrote:

Just wondering. How do you plan on handling deprecated fields in structs
(e.g., zip.FileHeader.CompressedSize

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mibk commented Oct 26, 2016

Maybe just use strike out text on the struct fields? Apologies if this was already discussed or declined.

rakyll commented Dec 9, 2016

+1 to strike through. There are already similar issues filed against and golint by the way.


bradfitz commented Dec 9, 2016

Strike-through seems too aggressive or at least too unreadable. I'd do a JS expando before I did strike-through.

mibk commented Dec 9, 2016

As @adg pointed out, there seems to be no elegant way of handling deprecated fields in structs. I totally agree with using "JS expando" for all other elements. Strike-through is just a possible solution for struct fields.

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