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Quick intro

A tool for managing chunks of static data in Go programs.

install & usage

Install with

> go get

In your code:

//go:generate inlinefiles --vfs=Json json_blobs lib/jsonblobs.go

func getJSON(path string) string {
  buf := &bytes.Buffer{}
  json, _ := Json.Open(path)
  io.Copy(buf, json)
  return buf.String()

(this code is purely for example purposes.)


> go generate

which will create a lib/jsonblobs.go file with the Json constant holding a mapfs flavored vfs.FileSystem.


Say you've got a simple web-service to write. It's going to be a microservice, and in order to play nice in its environment, you want it to serve a static file with JSON that describes where it's monitoring page is and who to get in touch with if it misbehaves. You could include a literal JSON string, but it becomes harder to work with than it would be in its own file.

In its own file, your editor can highlight the syntax correctly, and check that the picky JSON syntax is correct. The problem is more significant if you want to use complicated templates, where the concerns of whitespace for the template output and for the code itself are in tension.

When there's a tree of template files, where the templates include one another and so they need a file heirarchy provided to them, it get's a little more annoying to manage. It's not impossible though - you gin up a bunch of path strings and plug them in.

What we want it to be able to pull arbitrary files into Go code as string literals. We'd like to be able to do this as part of our build process, because we want updates to the source files to update the Go strings as automatically as possible.

Go has go:generate, which is very handy for this. If we include a magic comment in our code, then running go generate on the command line will run commands to produce code. There's support in the stdlib for generating Stringer interfaces, for instance.

It would also be handy if we could continue to treat the files as files instead of strings. In part, because this means that it's easier to work with template inclusion. Also because it means that if we later want to override the hardcoded files, we're still using an os.File or io.Buffer instead of mixing those types with string.

Go has the vfs package. It's part of go doc but it serves our purposes perfectly. You can define a mapfs which is a literal map[string]string, but allows you to Open(path) and get file structs.

So there's a lot of facility to do what we want in go already. All that's missing is a tool to take a real directory structure, and generate the code for a literal

Here's inlinefiles to weld all this together. The design intention was to adhere to the Unix principle of small tools doing one thing well. inlinefiles takes two arguments: a path to a directory of source files, and a path to an output file, and generates Go code to build an equivalent mapfs. There's a few flags to handle things like using a specific package name (instead of guessing) and to restrict the files included based on a glob pattern. It's suiteable for using as a //go:generate comment (since that was the motivating case.)

templatestore package

In addition, inlinefiles includes a package for smoothing out using vfs.FileSystems with Go templates. It's very lightweight, but if you import you get LoadText and LoadTextOnto which'll let you construct a template.Template with subtemplates suitable for all your most demanding templating applications.


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