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01 - Setting up a Go development environment

I am going to use a Windows 10 x64 Virtual Machine (VM) but Go is available for most popular platforms. I can already hear the infosec pros grunt. The Getting Started section on Go website has how-tos for most popular platforms. You can find binaries and building instructions.

You can get free Windows VMs from Make a snapshot after you everything is set up. They expire in 90 days and you can only re-arm them multiple times.

Installation on Windows 10 VM

  1. Go to and download the MSI binary.
  2. Install the MSI, choose the default location.
  3. Choose a development directory. I have created a shared directory in my VM. This way I can code in host and run the guest. In my case it 's Z:\Go where Z is the shared drive/directory.
  4. Set the following environmental variables (installer might have already set some up):
    • GOROOT: C:\Go
    • GOPATH: Z:\Go or the directory from step 3.
  5. Add C:\Go\Bin to PATH.
  6. Open a new cmd and run go env. You should see what you have setup.

Output of go env in my Windows 10 VM is:

$ go env
set GOARCH=amd64
set GOBIN=
set GOEXE=.exe
set GOHOSTARCH=amd64
set GOHOSTOS=windows
set GOOS=windows
set GOPATH=Z:\Go\
set GOROOT=C:\Go
set GOTOOLDIR=C:\Go\pkg\tool\windows_amd64
set GCCGO=gccgo
set CC=gcc
set GOGCCFLAGS=-m64 -mthreads -fmessage-length=0 
set CXX=g++
set CGO_CFLAGS=-g -O2
set CGO_FFLAGS=-g -O2
set CGO_LDFLAGS=-g -O2
set PKG_CONFIG=pkg-config


You can write Go code anywhere but only code in a GOPATH directory can be executed with go run2.

Go to the development path in step 3 of last section and create three directories inside it:

  • src: Source code.
  • bin: Compiled files.
  • pkg: Executables.

You can clone this repository in src and then run everything in code. The directory structure looks like in the Windows 10 VM:

Z:\Go>tree /F


Test application

Let's write a quick "Hello World" application and run it.

package main

import "fmt"

func main() {

    fmt.Println("Hello World!")

And we can run it with go run 01-01-HelloWorld.go.

Z:\Go\src\hacking-with-go\code\01>go run 01-01-HelloWorld.go
Hello World!


Choose whatever you like. There are many editors with Go support (you will see below) to choose from. Some in no particular order are:

I personally use Sublime Text 3 and GoSublime.

Go playground

The online go playground at is good for prototyping/testing and sharing quick scripts. It's pretty useful when Go is not installed on the machine. For more information read Inside the Go Playground.

Offline coding

It's possible to run both the playground and documentation server offline.

  • godoc -http :1234 will run the the documentation server at localhost:1234.
  • go tool tour will start an offline version of Tour of Go at localhost:3999. This allows coding offline in browser in Go playground.


gofmt is Go's official formatting tool. It automatically modifies source code. The main reason behind choosing an editor with Go support is running gofmt automatically on your code.

I personally do not agree with gofmt. For example it uses tabs (I like spaces). Tab-width is fixed at four (I like two). But it's better if our code adheres to language standards.

For more information read go fmt your code. For usage see Command gofmt.

Starting curly brace

The starting curly brace needs to be on the same line as the the keyword starting the block (e.g. for or if). This is a Go standard enforced by the compiler. It's explained in the Go FAQ.

This is wrong:

func main()
    fmt.Println("Hello World!")

This is correct:

func main() {
    fmt.Println("Hello World!")

Continue reading ⇒ 02 - Basics

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