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Makefile for Go projects (1.16+)

This is an example of Makefile to build a Go project. This is quite similar to Filippo Valsorda's hellogopher.

Initially, this is for people who don't know about GOPATH or who don't want to use it (like me). However, starting with Go 1.11, modules enable to work outside of GOPATH without any special environment. This turns this Makefile as only a convenience tool.

This Makefile may not be used as is. It is expected to be modified to fit your needs. See Akvorado's Makefile for an example on a more complex project.


This example relies on modules to retrieve dependencies. This requires use of Go 1.11 or more recent. To update a dependency, use go get DEPENDENCY@REVISION.

We also rely on go install TOOL@latest which requires Go 1.16. You can checkout tag v0.6 if you need compatibility up to Go 1.11.

On first build, you need to run go mod init PROJECTNAME.


Version is extracted from git tags using anything prefixed by v.


The following commands are available:

  • make help to get help
  • make to build the binary (in bin/)
  • make test to run tests
  • make test-verbose to run tests in verbose mode
  • make test-race for race tests
  • make test-coverage for test coverage (will output coverage.html and coverage.xml in test/.
  • make test PKG=helloworld/hello to restrict test to a package
  • make clean
  • make lint to run golint
  • make fmt to run gofmt

The very first line of the Makefile is the most important one: this is the path of the package. I don't use a go getable package path but you can.

Be sure to browse the remaining of the Makefile to understand what it does. There are some tools that will be downloaded. You can use already-installed one by specifying their full path this way instead:

make lint GOLINT=/usr/bin/golint

Files other than .gitignore and Makefile are just examples.


If golint complains with go/build: importGo hellogopher/cmd: exit status 2, just delete it from bin/ and let the Makefile build it again.

If you prefer, you can also include this Makefile into another one. Rename it to and put in Makefile something like this:


# Your custom settings

# Your custom rules
doc: ; $(info $(M) build documentation) @ ## Build documentation
	$(MAKE) -C doc


This Makefile is published under the CC0 1.0 license. See LICENSE for more details.


Makefile to build a Go project








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