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Per [#12](#12), this allows to
specify the Go tool (default "go") via the `-g` flag.

Misc: deduplicated flag defaults between flag vars and help string.

Misc: minor readme cosmetics.

Thanks to @zserge for the tip.

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Go Watch: missing watch mode for the go command. It's invoked exactly like go, but also watches Go files and reruns on changes.

Currently requires Unix (MacOS, Linux, BSD). On Windows, runs under WSL.



Why not other runners, general-purpose watchers, etc:

  • Go-specific, easy to remember.
  • Ignores non-Go files by default.
  • Better watcher: no unnecessary delays, not even a split second; uses the excellent
  • Silent by default.
  • No garbage files.
  • Can properly clear the terminal on restart.
  • Has hotkeys!


Make sure you have Go installed, then run this:

go get -u

This will download the source and compile the executable into $GOPATH/bin/gow. Make sure $GOPATH/bin is in your $PATH so the shell can discover the gow command. For example, my ~/.profile contains this:

export GOPATH=~/go
export PATH=$PATH:$GOPATH/bin

Alternatively, you can run the executable using the full path. At the time of writing, ~/go is the default $GOPATH for Go installations. Some systems may have a different one.



The first argument to gow, after the flags, can be any Go subcommand: build, install, tool, you name it.

# Start and restart on change
gow run .

# Pass args to the program
gow run . arg0 arg1 ...

# Run subdirectory
gow run ./subdir

# Vet and re-vet on change; verbose mode is recommended
gow -v vet

# Clear terminal on restart
gow -c run .

# Specify file extension to watch
gow -e=go,mod,html run .

# Help
gow -h


Supported control codes with commonly associated hotkeys:

3     ^C    kill subprocess or self with SIGINT
18    ^R    kill subprocess with SIGTERM, restart
20    ^T    kill subprocess with SIGTERM
28    ^\    kill subprocess or self with SIGQUIT
31    ^?    print the currently running command

Other input is forwarded to the subprocess as-is.

Watching Templates

Many Go programs, such as servers, include template files, and want to recompile those templates on change.

Easy but slow way: use gow -e.

gow -e=go,mod,html run .

This restarts your entire app on change to any .html file in the current directory. Beware: if the app also generates files with the same extensions, this could cause an infinite restart loop. Ignore any output directories with -i:

gow -e=go,mod,html -i=target run .

A smarter approach would be to watch the template files from inside the app and recompile them without restarting the entire app. This is out of scope for gow.


For general purpose file watching, consider these excellent tools:



I'm receptive to suggestions. If this tool almost satisfies you but needs changes, open an issue or chat me up. Contacts:


Missing watch mode for Go commands. Watch Go files and execute a command like "go run" or "go test"





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