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Makefile for Go projects

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

For older versions of Go, it's possible to use vgo instead:

go get -u
make GO=$GOPATH/bin/vgo

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-xml for tests with xUnit-compatible output
  • make test-coverage for test coverage (will output index.html, coverage.xml and profile.out in test/coverage.*/.
  • 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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