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Design Decisions

This document outlines important design decisions made for this repository and attempts to provide succinct rationales. Recording these decisions helps maintain consistency across packages, especially as an open source project where contributors can join at any point during development.

A broad design goal for the Go Cloud Development Kit (Go CDK) is for the API style to be consistent. Consistency aids users in building a mental model of how to use the APIs. As such, the design of individual packages must also consider their impact on the Go CDK as a whole.

This is a Living Document. The decisions in here are not set in stone, but simply describe our current thinking about how to guide the Go Cloud Development Kit project. While it is useful to link to this document when having discussions in an issue, it is not to be used as a means of closing issues without discussion at all. Discussion on an issue can lead to revisions of this document.

Developers and Operators

The Go CDK is designed with two different personas in mind: the developer and the operator. In the world of DevOps, these may be the same person. A developer may be directly deploying their application into production, especially on smaller teams. In a larger organization, these may be different teams entirely, but working closely together. Regardless, these two personas have two very different ways of looking at a Go program:

  • The developer persona wants to write business logic that is agnostic of underlying cloud provider. Their focus is on making software correct for the requirements at hand.
  • The operator persona wants to incorporate the business logic into the organization's policies and provision resources for the logic to run. Their focus is making software run predictably and reliably with the resources at hand.

The Go CDK uses Go interfaces at the boundary between these two personas: a developer is meant to use an interface, and an operator is meant to provide an implementation of that interface. This distinction prevents the Go CDK going down a path of complexity that makes application portability difficult. The blob.Bucket type is a prime example: the API does not provide a way of creating a new bucket. To properly and safely create such a bucket requires careful consideration, getting something like ACLs wrong could lead to a catastrophic data leak. To generate the ACLs correctly requires modeling of IAM users and roles for each cloud platform, and some way of mapping those users and roles across clouds. While not impossible, the level of complexity and the high likelihood of a leaky abstraction leads us to believe this is not the right direction for the Go CDK.

Instead of adding large amounts of leaky complexity to the Go CDK, we expect the operator role to handle the management of non-portable platform-specific resources. An implementor of the Bucket interface does not need to determine the content type of incoming data, as that is a developer's concern. This separation of concerns allows these two personas to communicate using a shared language while focusing on their respective areas of expertise.

Portable Types and Drivers

The portable APIs that the Go CDK exports (like blob.Bucket or runtimevar.Variable) are concrete types, not interfaces. To understand why, imagine if we used a plain interface:

Diagram showing user code depending on blob.Bucket, which is implemented by awsblob.Bucket.

Consider the Bucket.NewWriter method, which infers the content type of the blob based on the first bytes written to it. If blob.Bucket was an interface, each implementation of blob.Bucket would have to replicate this behavior precisely. This does not scale: conformance tests would be needed to ensure that each interface method actually behaves in the way that the docs describe. This makes the interfaces hard to implement, which runs counter to the goals of the project.

Instead, we follow the example of database/sql and separate out the implementation-agnostic logic from the interface. The implementation-agnostic logic-containing concrete type is the portable type. We call the interface the driver. Visually, it looks like this:

Diagram showing user code depending on blob.Bucket, which holds a driver.Bucket implemented by awsblob.Bucket.

This has a number of benefits:

  • The portable type can perform higher level logic without making the interface complex to implement. In the blob example, the portable type's NewWriter method can do the content type detection and then pass the final result to the driver type.
  • Methods can be added to the portable type without breaking compatibility. Contrast with adding methods to an interface, which is a breaking change.
  • As new operations on the driver are added as new optional interfaces, the portable type can hide the need for type-assertions from the user.

As a rule, if a method Foo has the same inputs and semantics in the portable type and the driver type, then the driver method may be called Foo, even though the return signatures may differ. Otherwise, the driver method name should be different to reduce confusion.

New Go CDK APIs should always follow this portable type and driver pattern.

Minimize Global State

As a library, the Go CDK should not introduce global state. Global state is difficult to reason about in large codebases, where it can be necessary for different parts of the application to use different states. Instead of adding global state, push responsibility to the application to inject the state where it is needed.

The exception we permit is URL scheme registration as documented under URLs. The amount of boilerplate setup code required for URL muxes for multiple providers without use of a tool like Wire is an unreasonable burden for users of Go CDK. A global registry is acceptable as long as its use is not mandatory, but the burden is to prove the benefit over the cost.

Package Naming Conventions

Inside this repository, we name packages that handle cloud services after the service name, not the providing cloud (s3blob instead of awsblob). While a cloud provider may provide a unique offering for a particular API, they may not always provide only one, so distinguishing them in this way keeps the API symbols stable over time.

The naming convention is <provider><product><api>, where:

  • <provider> is the provider name, like aws or gcp or azure.
    • Omit for 3rd party/open source/local packages.
    • May also be omitted in cases where the product name is sufficient (e.g., s3blob not awss3blob since S3 is well-known, gcsblob not gcpgcsblob since GCS already references Google).
    • Required if the product name is not unique across providers (e.g., gcpkms and awskms).
  • <product>is the product/service name.
  • <api> is the portable API name.
    • Include for local/test packages like (e.g., fileblob, mempubsub).
    • May be omitted when it makes the package name too long (e.g. awssnssqs is long enough, don't add pubsub).
    • Encouraged when it helps distinguish the package from the provider's own package name (e.g., s3blob not s3).

Portable Type Constructors

Portable type constructors are the functions defined in provider-specific packages that end users call to get an instance of the portable type. For example, gcsblob.OpenBucket, which returns an instance of the *blob.Bucket portable type backed by GCS.

  • Portable type constructors should be top-level functions that return the portable type directly. Avoid helpers (e.g., a Client struct with a function that returns the portable type instead of it being top-level) and wrappers (e.g., a fooblob.Bucket type returned from fooblob.OpenBucket that wraps the portable type). Top level functions without wrappers are easier to use, especially when we're consistent about it.
  • Order arguments that are less likely to change across multiple calls to the constructor before ones that are likely to change. For example, connection and authorization related arguments should go before names, so OpenBucket(ctx, client, "mybucket") instead of OpenBucket(ctx, "mybucket", client).
  • All public constructors should take an Options struct (see next section).

Option Structs

All public constructors should take an Options struct, even if it is currently empty, to ensure that we can add arguments to the APIs in the future without breaking backward compatibility.

  • This includes driver constructors (e.g., gcsblob.OpenBucket) as well as API functions (e.g., blob.NewReader). When in doubt, if you think it's possible that we'll add arguments, add Options.
  • The argument should be of type *Options, so that nil can be passed in the default case.
  • Name the Options struct appropriately. Options is usually fine for provider constructors since the package generally only exposes a constructor. Inside a driver interface or in a portable type like blob, use more descriptive names like ReaderOptions or WriterOptions.
  • If a function already has a struct argument, don't add a separate Options struct. Example: the various sql.Open functions take a Params struct with connection parameters; we chose to add new options to Params instead of introducing a separate Options struct. This keeps the function signature simpler and avoid confusion about which struct new parameters should be added to.
  • When similar Options are part of a driver interface and also part of the portable type (e.g., blob.WriterOptions), duplicate the struct instead of aliasing or embedding it, and copy the struct fields explicitly where needed. This allows the godoc for each type to be tailored to the appropriate audience (e.g. end-users for the portable type, provider implementors for the driver interface), and also allows the structs to diverge over time if appropriate.
  • Required arguments must not be in an Options struct, and all fields of the Options struct must have reasonable defaults. Exception: struct arguments that don't have Options in the name can contain required arguments (e.g., see the Params example for sql.Open above).

Regarding empty Options structs: we considered only adding them when the first option is added, and using a separate constructor for compatibility (e.g., start with foo.New(...) and later add foo.NewWithOptions(..., opts *Options) if needed). However, this would result in inconsistent names over time (e.g., some packages would expose New with an Options, while others would expose NewWithOptions).


To enable the Backing services factor of a Twelve-Factor Application, Go Cloud includes the ability to construct each of its API objects using identifying URLs. The portable type's package should include APIs like the following:

// Package foo is a portable API. foo could be something like blob or pubsub.
// Throughout this example, Widget is used as a stand-in for a portable type
// inside foo, like Bucket or Subscription.
package foo

// A type that implements WidgetURLOpener can open widgets based on a URL.
// The opener must not modify the URL argument. OpenWidgetURL must be safe to
// call from multiple goroutines.
// WidgetURLOpeners should not assume that the URL has a particular scheme.
type WidgetURLOpener interface {
  OpenWidgetURL(ctx context.Context, u *url.URL) (*Widget, error)

// URLMux is a URL opener multiplexer. It matches the scheme of the URLs
// against a set of registered schemes and calls the opener that matches the
// URL's scheme.
// The zero value is a multiplexer with no registered schemes.
type URLMux struct {
  // ...

// RegisterWidget registers the opener with the given scheme. If an opener
// already exists for the scheme, RegisterWidget panics.
func (mux *URLMux) RegisterWidget(scheme string, opener WidgetURLOpener) {
  // ...

// OpenWidget calls OpenWidgetURL with the URL parsed from urlstr.
// OpenWidget is safe to call from multiple goroutines.
func (mux *URLMux) OpenWidget(ctx context.Context, urlstr string) (*Widget, error) {
  u, err := url.Parse(urlstr)
  if err != nil {
    return nil, fmt.Errorf("open widget: %v", err)
  return mux.OpenWidgetURL(ctx, u)

// OpenWidgetURL dispatches the URL to the opener that is registered with the
// URL's scheme. OpenWidgetURL is safe to call from multiple goroutines.
func (mux *URLMux) OpenWidgetURL(ctx context.Context, u *url.URL) (*Widget, error) {
  // ...

// DefaultURLMux returns the URLMux used by OpenWidget.
func DefaultURLMux() *URLMux {
  return defaultURLMux

var defaultURLMux = new(URLMux)

// OpenWidget opens the Widget identified by the URL given. URL openers must be
// registered in the DefaultURLMux, which is typically done in driver
// packages' initialization.
func OpenWidget(ctx context.Context, urlstr string) (*Widget, error) {
  return DefaultURLMux().OpenWidget(urlstr)

The repetition of Widget in the method names permits a type to handle multiple resources within the API. Exporting the URLMux allows applications to build their own muxes, potentially wrapping existing ones.

Driver packages should include their own URLOpener struct type which implements all the relevant WidgetURLOpener methods. The URL should only serve to identify which resource to open. Any credentials or other complex values should be taken in as struct fields, not as input from URL. If the driver package registers its URLOpener with the DefaultURLMux, then it should populate these complex fields from environment variables. If doing so is undesirable or expensive, then it should not register with the DefaultURLMux and instead rely on users to create their own mux. If there already exists a well-established URI format for the backend (like S3 URLs or database connection URIs), then drivers should honor them where possible.

URL Examples

A WidgetURLOpener implementation for a hypothetical GCP service:

package gcpfoo

// ...

const Scheme = "gcpwidget"

type URLOpener struct {
  Client  *gcp.HTTPClient
  Options Options

func (o *URLOpener) OpenWidgetURL(ctx context.Context, u *url.URL) (*foo.Widget, error) {
  // ...
  return OpenWidget(ctx, o.Client, u.Host, &o.Options)

type lazyURLOpener struct {
  init   sync.Once
  opener *URLOpener
  err    error

func (o *lazyURLOpener) OpenWidgetURL(ctx context.Context, u *url.URL) (*foo.Widget, error) {
  o.init.Once(func() {
    creds, err := gcp.DefaultCredentials(ctx)
    if err != nil {
      o.err = err
    o.opener = new(URLOpener)
    o.opener.Client, _ = gcp.NewHTTPClient(http.DefaultTransport, creds.TokenSource)
  if o.err != nil {
    return nil, o.err
  return o.opener.OpenWidgetURL(ctx, u)

func init() {
  foo.DefaultURLMux().Register(Scheme, new(lazyURLOpener))

// OpenWidget is the exported non-URL constructor.
func OpenWidget(ctx context.Context, c *gcp.HTTPClient, name string, opts *Options) (*foo.Widget, error) {
  // ...

Using the global default mux:

import _ ""

// ...

widget, err := foo.OpenWidget(context.Background(), "gcpwidget://xyzzy")

Using a custom mux created during server initialization:

myMux := new(foo.URLMux)
myMux.Register(gcpfoo.Scheme, &gcpfoo.URLOpener{
  Client: client,
widget, err := myMux.OpenWidget(context.Background(), "gcpwidget://xyzzy")



  • The callee is expected to return errors with messages that include information about the particular call, as opposed to the caller adding this information. This aligns with common Go practice.


Driver implementations should:

  • Return the raw errors from the underlying provider, and not wrap them in fmt.Errorf calls, so that they can be exposed to end users via ErrorAs.

Portable Types

Portable types should:

  • Wrap errors returned from driver implementations before returning them to end users, so that users can't peek into provider-specific error details without using As. Make sure not to double-wrap.

  • Use internal/gcerr.New when wrapping driver errors, like so: if err := driver.Call(xyz); err != nil { return gcerr.New(code, err, 1, "blob") } The first argument is an error code. See below for advice on choosing the appropriate code.

    The third argument is the distance in stack frames from the function whose location should be associated with the error. It should be 1 if you are calling New from the same function that made the driver call, 2 if you are calling new from a helper function, and so on. The fourth argument is an additional string that will display with the error. You should pass the API name.

  • By default, choose the code Unknown, keeping details of returned errors unspecified. The most common case is that the caller will only care whether an operation succeeds or not.

  • If certain errors are interesting for callers to distinguish, choose one of the other codes from the gcerrors.ErrorCode enum, so user programs can act on the kind of error without having to look at provider-specific errors.

    • If more than one error code makes sense, choose the most specific one.
    • If none make sense, choose Unknown.
    • If none make sense but you want something more specific than Unknown:
      • If you can generalize your code to make it applicable to more than just your API, add it to gcerrors.ErrorCode. Look at the gRPC error codes for inspiration.
      • Otherwise, you can define a custom code in your portable API package. Your code should use a negative integer.
  • For now, your package should expose an ErrorAs function to allow users to access provider-specific error types. We may review this choice if becomes part of the standard library.

  • Handle transient network errors. Retry logic is best handled as low in the stack as possible to avoid cascading failure. APIs should try to surface "permanent" errors (e.g. malformed request, bad permissions) where appropriate so that application logic does not attempt to retry non-idempotent operations, but the responsibility is largely on the library, not on the application.

Escape Hatches using As

The Go CDK allows users to escape the abstraction as needed using As functions, described in more detail in the top-level godoc. As functions take an interface{} and return a bool; they return true if the underlying concrete type could be converted into the type provided as the interface{}.

An alternative approach would have been something like os.ProcessState.Sys, which returns an interface{} that the user can then type cast/assert to provider-specific types.

We ended up going with As because:

  1. Most portable types have an As function for errors; choosing As results in an easy and natural implementation for chained errors once the Go 2 proposal for errors arrives. It is currently implemented in xerrors, and we're already using that in some drivers.
  2. As adds more flexibility for drivers to support conversions to multiple types. Specifically, not the case where there are multiple possible underlying types, but rather that a single underlying type can be converted to multiple types.
    • Chained errors is one example of this, where the top-level error may always be the same type, but may also represent a chain of other errors with different types.
    • Another example is that a driver might choose to support As-level compatibility with another driver; e.g., driver foo could support all of the As types defined by s3blob, converting them internally, and then any code that runs with driver s3blob would also work with driver foo (even if it uses the As escape hatches).

Enforcing Portability

The Go CDK APIs will end up exposing functionality that is not supported by all provider implementations. In addition, some functionality details will differ across providers. Some theoretical examples using blob.Bucket:

  1. Top-level APIs: There might be a provider implementation that supports reads, but not writes or deletes.
  2. Data fields. Some providers may support key/value metadata associated with a blob, others may not.
  3. Naming rules. Different providers may allow different name lengths, or allow/disallow non-ASCII unicode characters. See Strings below for more on handling string differences.
  4. Semantic guarantees. Different providers may have different consistency guarantees; for example, S3 only provides eventually consistency while GCS provides strong consistency.

How can we maintain portability while these differences exist?

Guiding Principle

Any incompatibilities between provider implementations should be visible to the user as soon as possible. From best to worst:

  1. At compile time
  2. At configuration/app startup time (e.g., when the portable type is created)
  3. At runtime (e.g., when the incompatible behavior is accessed), via a non-nil error
  4. At runtime, via panic

Approaches Considered

  1. Documentation. We could try to document non-uniform or optional functionality across providers. Optional fields or functionality would return "not implemented" errors or zero values.
  2. Restrict functionality to the intersection. We could explicitly only support the intersection of all provider implementations. For example, if not all providers allow unicode characters in names, then blob would not allow it either.
  3. Enforced feature codes: Go CDK APIs could enumerate the ways in which providers differ as a FeatureCode enum.
    • Provider implementations would declare which feature codes they support, enforced by extensions to the existing conformance tests.
    • API users would declare which feature codes they need.
    • Mismatches between what a user requests and what the provider supports would be enforced at initialization time.
    • As much as possible, the API (via the portable type) would enforce that the user is only exposed to optional functionality that they asked for.
    • For example, the default legal name for a blob might be ASCII only, with a FeatureUnicodeNames feature code. Users that don't request this feature code would only be able to use blobs with ASCII names, even if the underlying provider supports unicode. If the user requested FeatureUnicodeNames, and their provider supports it, they could then use blobs with unicode; if their provider doesn't support it, they would get an initialization-time error.
b, err := blob.NewBucket(d, blob.FeatureUnicodeNames)

Design discussions regarding enforcing portability are ongoing; we welcome input on the mailing list.


Providers often differ on what they accept in particular strings (e.g., blob names, metadata keys, etc.). A couple of specific examples:

  • Azure Blob only accepts C# identifiers as metadata keys.
  • S3 drops double slashes in blob names (e.g., foo//bar will end up being saved as foo/bar).

These differences lead to a loss of portability and predictability for users.

To resolve this issue, we insist that Go CDK can handle any UTF-8 string, and force drivers to use escaping mechanisms to handle strings that the underlying provider can't handle. We enforce driver compliance with conformance tests. Behavior for non-UTF-8 strings is undefined (but see and

We try to use URL encoding as the escaping mechanism where possible; however, sometimes it is not and we'll use custom escaping. As an example, a driver for a provider that only allows underscores and ASCII alphanumeric characters might escape the string to foo__0x2e__bar (URL escaping won't work because % isn't allowed).

Pros of this approach:

  • Go CDK APIs are internally consistent in that a user can write any string to any provider and get the original string back when they read it back.
  • Go CDK APIs have visibility into all existing strings for all providers.


  • Go CDK could overwrite existing data if a Go CDK-written key escapes to an already-existing value (e.g., if the foo__0x2e__bar string already existed, it would be overwritten by a Go CDK write to
  • Escaping may push a string over the maximum allowed string length for a provider. Escaping does not solve (and in fact may exacerbate) problems with different maximum string lengths across providers.
  • Existing strings that happen to look like Go CDK-escaped strings will be unescaped by Go CDK (e.g., an existing string foo__0x2e__bar would appear as when read through the Go CDK).
  • Strings that were written through the Go CDK and needed escaping will appear in their escaped form when viewed outside of Go CDK (e.g., foo__0x2e__bar would appear on the provider's UI).

Most of these cons are mitigated by choosing unusual-looking escape mechanisms that are unlikely to appear in existing data.

Drivers should escape strings when writing to the underlying provider, and unescape them when reading them back. The Go CDK will provide helpers for these operations, as well as a test suite of strings for conformance tests.

Sample code for the helper for escaping strings:

// package escape provider helpers for escaping and unescaping strings.
package escape

// Escape returns s, with all runes for which shouldEscape returns true
// escaped to "__0xXXXX__", where XXXX is the hex representation of the rune
// value. For example, " " would escape to "__0x20__".
// Non-UTF-8 strings will have their non-UTF-8 characters escaped to
// unicode.ReplacementChar; the original value is lost. Please file an
// issue if you need non-UTF8 support.
// Note: shouldEscape takes the whole string as a slice of runes and an
// index. Passing it a single byte or a single rune doesn't provide
// enough context for some escape decisions; for example, the caller might
// want to escape the second "/" in "//" but not the first one.
// We pass a slice of runes instead of the string or a slice of bytes
// because some decisions will be made on a rune basis (e.g., encode
// all non-ASCII runes).
func Escape(s string, shouldEscape func(s []rune, i int) bool) string { ... }

// Unescape reverses Escape.
func Unescape(s string) string {...}

Sample code for how a driver might use it, using metadata keys for a blob as the example string:

// When writing metadata keys, escape the keys:
// ... gcdkMetadata is the metadata passed to the GCDK API.
for k, v := range gcdkMetadata {
    e := escape.Escape(k, func (r []rune, i int) bool {...})
    if _, ok := providerMetadata[e]; ok {
      return fmt.Errorf("duplicate keys after escaping: %q => %q", k, e)
    providerMetadata[e] = v
// ... write providerMetadata to the provider.

// When reading metadata keys, unescape them:
// ... providerMetadata is the metadata read from the provider.
for k, v := range providerMetadata {
    gcdkMetadata[escape.Unescape(k)] = v
// ... return gcdkMetadata.

The details of what runes need to be escaped will vary from provider to provider. The details of how to escape may also vary, although we expect to use URL encoding where possible, and a common custom escaping where not. For the custom escaping, we plan to escape each rune for which shouldEscape returns true with __0xXXX__, where XCX is the hex representation of the rune value.

Alternatives Considered

  • We considered restricting Go CDK's APIs to strings that all providers support. For example, we could have asserted that Go CDK's blob only supports ASCII plus / for blob names (and no //!). However, such a rule would mean that we couldn't cleanly handle existing strings created through some mechanism other than through Go CDK APIs that violate the rule. For example, an existing blob in S3 with a unicode name. Filtering out such strings so that they aren't visible at all through the Go CDK would be both surprising and limiting, and could easily result in data loss (e.g., if a user read a set of metadata for a blob via the Go CDK, and some keys were filtered out, and then wrote the metadata back, the filtered keys would be lost). Not filtering such strings would mean that the Go CDK isn't internally consistent (i.e., you can read some strings but not write them). Overall, we decided that this approach is unacceptable.

  • We could expose the escaper used by providers in their Options structs (including options like disabling it, overriding the set of bytes to be escaped, or overriding the escaping mechanism), but we'll wait to see if there's demand for that.

Coding Conventions

We try to adhere to commonly accepted Go coding conventions, some of which are described on the Code Review Comments wiki page. We also adopt the following guidelines:

  • Prefer map[K]V{} to make(map[K]V). It's more concise.

  • When writing a loop appending to a slice s, prefer

      var s []T
      for ... {
        s = append(s, ...)


      s := make([]T, 0, N)
      for ... {
        s = append(s, ...)


      s := make([]T, N)
      for ... {
        s[i] = ...

    (Exception: the loop body is trivial and the loop is performance-sensitive.) The first version is shorter and easier to read, and it is impossible to get the length wrong.

  • Prefer log.Fatal to panic in example tests.

  • Ensure you've run goimports on your code to properly group import statements.

  • Order arguments that are less likely to change across multiple calls to the constructor before ones that are likely to change. For example, connection and authorization related arguments should go before names, so OpenBucket(ctx, client, "mybucket") instead of OpenBucket(ctx, "mybucket", client).


Conformance Tests

Since our goal is for users to be able to use provider implementations interchangeably, it is critical that they behave similarly. To this end, each portable API (e.g., blob) must provide a suite of conformance tests that provider implementations should run. The conformance tests should be comprehensive; provider implementations should not need additional unit tests for the core driver semantics.

Provisioning For Tests

Portable API integration tests require developer-specific resources to be created and destroyed. We use Terraform to do so, and record the resource info and network interactions so that they can be replayed as fast and repeatable unit tests.

Replay Mode

Tests normally run in replay mode. In this mode, they don't require any provisioned resources or network interactions. Replay tests verify that:

  • The same test inputs produce the same requests (e.g., HTTP requests) to the cloud provider. Some parts of the request may be dynamic (e.g., dates in the HTTP request headers), so the replay tests do some scrubbing when verifying that requests match. Some parts of this scrubbing are provider-specific.

  • The replayed provider responses produce the expected results from the portable API library.

Record Mode

In -record mode, tests run as integration tests, making live requests to backend servers and recording the requests/responses for later use in replay mode.

To use -record:

  1. Provision resources.

    • For example, the tests for the AWS implementation of Blob requires a bucket to be provisioned.
    • TODO(issue #300): Use Terraform scripts to provision the resources needed for a given test.
    • For now, do this manually.
  2. Run the test with -record.

    • TODO(issue #300): The test will read the Terraform output to find its inputs.
    • For now, pass the required resources via test-specific flags.
  3. The test will save the network interactions for subsequent replays.

    • TODO(issue #300): The test will save the Terraform output to a file in order to replay using the same inputs.
    • Commit the new replay files along with your code change. Expect to see lots of diffs; see below for more discussion.

Diffs in replay files

Each time portable API tests are run in -record mode, the resulting replay files are different. Looking at diffs of these files isn't particularly useful.

We considered trying to scrub the files of dynamic data so that diffs would be useful. We ended up deciding not to do this, for several reasons:

  • There's a lot of dynamic data, in structured data of various forms (e.g., HTTP headers, XML/JSON body, etc.). It would be difficult and fragile to scrub it all.

  • The scrub process would also be fragile relative to changes in providers (e.g., adding a new dynamic HTTP response header).

  • The scrub process would need to be implemented for every new provider, increasing the barrier to entry for new implementations.

  • Scrubbing would likely be even more difficult for providers using a non-HTTP-based protocol (e.g., gRPC).

  • Scrubbing the data decreases the fidelity of the replay test, since it wouldn't be operating on the original data.

Overall, massive diffs in the replay files are expected and fine. As part of a code change, you may want to check for things like the number of RPCs made to identify performance regressions.

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