Go Language Modularization

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Go modularization builds upon the concepts of package and module. Packages provide a namespace for their members, and they are a way to encapsulate code, hide implementation details and only expose features, such as variables, functions or type definitions that are meant to be publicly consumed. Packages can be published as part of modules. Modules have been introduced in Go 1.11.





Module-Aware or GOPATH Mode


The compiler must locate packages on the local file system every time it handles an import statement.

The go tool has two modes of resolving package dependencies: module-aware mode or GOPATH mode.

In module-aware mode, the go commands use go.mod files to find versioned dependencies and typically load packages out of the module cache, downloading modules if they are missing. As of Go 1.16, the module-aware mode is enabled by default, regardless of whether go.mod is present or not. The behavior can be controlled with the GO111MODULE environment variable.

In GOPATH mode, go commands use the value of the GOPATH environment variable and vendor directories to resolve packages.

Also see:

GoLand Module-Aware or GOPATH Mode




A Go repository typically contains only one module, located in the root of the repository. Repository may contain more than one module.

Packages, Modules, Projects and Repositories

Designing your project, to live in its own repository and host a single module in its root directory will help keep maintenance simpler, particularly over time as you publish new versions.

It is possible to maintain more than one module in a project and repository TODO: https://go.dev/doc/modules/managing-source#multiple-module-source.

Standard Library

Go comes with a set of over 100 "built-in" packages, which are available as part of the locally installed Go development environment.

Standard library package documentation is available online here:


The standard library is a good source of code examples, comments and style guidance.

Standard library packages:

archive atomic bytes bufio container context database
encoding encoding/json errors filepath flag fmt io
ioutil hash html html/template log math net
net/http os path rand reflect regexp runtime
runtime/debug slices slog sort strings strconv sync
text/tabwriter text/template testing time unicode


The place to look for published third-party packages is



This section needs refactoring after reading:

The workspace is a concept introduced in Go 1.18. A workspace allows organizing the code for a project that has several modules which share a common list of dependencies. The workspace maintains metadata, especially dependency metadata, in a file called go.work. The dependencies declared in this file can span modules and anything declared in go.work will override dependencies in the modules's go.mod. The packages and modules maintained in a workspace are managed with the go tool.

A workspace may contain multiple projects.

The standard workspace layout is:

. ← GOPATH should point to this directory, it contains src, pkg and bin
├─ src 
│   ├─ a 
│   │  └─ b
│   │     └─color  # "color" package directory, with the "a/b/color" import path
│   │        ├─ colors.go 
│   │        ├─ aux.go 
│   │        └─ ... 
│   │
│   ├─ weight  # "weight" package directory, with the "weight" import path
│   │   ├─ weights.go 
│   │   ├─ aux.go 
│   │   └─ ... 
│   │
│   ├─ novaordis.com
│   │   └─ tools
│   │       └─ hammer # "hammer" package directory, with the "novaordis.com/tools/hammer" import path
│   │           └─ ... 
│   │
│   └─ github.com
│       └─ blue-org
│           └─ tools
│               └─ wrench # "wrench" package directory, with the "github.com/blue-org/tools/wrench" import path
│                   ├─  .git
│                   └─ ... 
├─ pkg 
│   └─ darwin_amd64 
│       ├─ weights.go 
│       ├─ a/b/color.a 
│       ├─ novaordis.com/tools/hammer.a
│       └─ github.com/bue-org/tools/wrench.a
└─ bin



The src subdirectory holds source code. Each package resides in a directory whose name relative to ${GOPATH}/src represents the package's import path.

The src subdirectory may contain multiple version-control repository workareas.


The build tool stores compiled packages in the pkg directory, under ${GOOS}_${GOARCH} subdirectories.


The bin directory is where the executables are stored.


TODO: expand this and link to Go_Packages#Vendoring.

Relationship between Workspace and GOPATH

GOPATH should point to the root of the workspace, the directory that contains src, pkg and bin. Further research is required.


Go programs are constructed by linking together packages. There must be a main package, which contains the main(), to trigger the linker.