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Ivan Pesenti
Ivan Pesenti

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Go API tutorial: the begin

Welcome back guys πŸ‘‹ It's been a while since my last post written for our amazing community. A lot of cool things have happened during this time (including my transfer to another company). Due to this now, my daily work is focused on Go programming language. I want to say that I'm not yet a well-rounded programmer with this language but I'll do my best to build a very interesting series about the thing that I love most: write secure, testable and successful software.

I'm really excited for this series and I hope it's the same for you, dear reader πŸ˜ƒ


As I said above I'm not the most skilled person at Golang on the Earth, so if u find any mistakes or something that can be improved or explained better let me know and I'll take the necessary actions to fix it.

Another thing that I want to state is that I strive to have an incremental approach throughout this tutorial, so every post will do only one thing (like the Single Responsibility Principle which is one of my favorite principle when it comes to programming πŸ€–).

This tutorial is not written on stones so, if u'd like to see something feel free to reach me and I can introduce your request in the series.

The big picture 🌎

The final goal of this tutorial is to build a REST API with Go programming language. This API will be a TODO API (I know, I know... very few imagination πŸ™„). But during our journey we're going to introduce a lot of cool stuff and obviously everything will be backed up by Unit Tests which is an evergreen topic to cover IMO.

First step πŸ”°

This post will cover just the basics of how to setup a Golang project and some basic HTTP stuff, such as exposing a dummy HTTP endpoint with a simple GET method. This will be the foundation for the next parts 🏰.

Let's start πŸš€

Without having much more delay we can start having fun together!


To follow this tutorial u must have these programs and tools on your machine:

  1. Visual Studio Code (or any other IDE)
  2. Go installed. U can download from here
  3. staticcheck tool. It's a tool for linting which can perform some checks on your code about simplifications, styling rules, performance issues and so on. U can find more about it here. It's not mandatory but I strongly recommend it
  4. gofmt is a package that can assist u in formatting the code. I suggest you to install globally on your machine from this link. Again, not mandatory but suggested!
  5. Postman (or any other API client that you're comfortable with)

Setup πŸ› οΈ

Let's create a new folder for this tutorial with some meaningful name (such as todo-api). Open this folder with your IDE and inside the integrated terminal issue these two commands: mkdir src and cd src/.

Next step is to initialize a Golang package. In order to do this we need this command go mod init todoapi. Thanks to this now we're also able to manage the module dependencies by importing go packages from the internet 🌏. If everything goes fine you will see a new file called go.mod below the "src/" folder. The content should be something similar to this:

module todoapi

go 1.18
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πŸ”΄ IMPORTANT: 1.18 means the minimum version needed for compiling this Golang program.


The main file is the entry point of our program and its main function will be the first called by the running OS when it will execute our code

🧐NOTE: Golang is a compiled programming language that means that it will produce an executable file to run.

Now you can create the "main.go" under the "/src" folder. Fill in with this simple code to check that everything is fine:

package main

import "fmt"

func main() {
    fmt.Println("Hello, World!")
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Confirm that everything is working by issuing in the CLI this command go run . or by pressing F5 (start debugging) in your IDE. You should see the string Hello, World! printed in the console πŸ‘‹.

Routing πŸ”€

As you now, web api is all about receiving an HTTP request and providing an HTTP response. When an HTTP request comes in we need some mechanism to decide which controllers (or handlers, these two names can be used interchangeably but I prefer to stick with the former) have to manage this kind of request and provide a relevant response.

This mechanism is called Routing. This one has to instrumented on how to manage the requests so we need a way of mapping each accepted route to a relative controller within a one-to-one relationship 🚧.

In order to setup the router u need to perform the following steps:

  1. Create a "router/" folder below "src/"
  2. Create a "router.go" under this folder
  3. Fill the router.go file with this code:

    package router
    import (
    func SetupRoutes(router *mux.Router) {
        router.HandleFunc("/ping", func(w http.ResponseWriter, r *http.Request) {

    This code will instrument the HTTP server to manage the requests made to "/ping" πŸ“ endpoint with the GET HTTP method and it provides an inline handler that will only respond with a dummy plain text "pong" πŸ“ and 200 Status OK.

    An handler is a function that has the following two parameters in the method signature: ResponseWriter and Request. The former is the actual response that will be sent back to the client πŸ”™ and so you've to manipulate it (body, status code, headers, etc) while the latter is the HTTP request that comes in πŸ”œ and it holds all of the info such as request payload, route, querystring params which are accessible within our endpoint code.

    There are a lot of packages that can be used for routing, my preferred one is the one from Gorilla 🦍. More details here.

  4. In the CLI issue the following command to install this library go get

  5. Check if this dependency was added in go.mod file

    Golang tools


    Now it's time to lint your code πŸ‘¨β€πŸ«. Open up your CLI and issue this command staticcheck ./....


    After linting it's time for formatting πŸ’ . In the CLI issue go fmt ./... and you will see the files that have been formatted according to Golang formatting rules.

    ⚠️ WARNING: u need to make sure that you're located where your main.go file is when running these commands otherwise you end up in having a lot of issues due to the fact that either the tools doesn't recognize it as a valid Golang pkg or nothing happened at all.

    Wiring all together ⛓️

    Now, switch back to main.go and make use of newly created stuff through this code:

package main

import (



func main() {
    fmt.Println("starting up HTTP server...")

    r := mux.NewRouter()


    err := http.ListenAndServe(":8000", r)
    if err != nil {
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Here we're going to instantiate a new router with a method provided by Gorilla package. After that we instrument it with the setup method in our router.go file.

The last part is responsible for starting up an HTTP server that will accept requests on port 8000 and it will manage them according to r that is our router BTW.

Before go ahead run go mod tidy in your terminal to make sure that the dependencies are fine.

Test πŸ€“

For this time (and only for this time) we're going to do some manual tests. Don't worry from the next post we're gonna to use unit tests πŸ˜‰.

First of all launch our Go package with go run . or with F5. Next, open Postman and prepare a simple GET request pointing to this URL: "http://localhost:8000/ping". Issue the request and you should get back a "pong" response with 200 HTTP StatusOK πŸ‘Œ.
πŸ‘€ NOTES: to interrupt the running server you can press CTRL + C on your keyboard.

Success 🐎

We have successfully finished up this first tutorial which is just a warm-up for the series. Now you have the basics about how to spin up an HTTP server in Golang and instrument it to respond to the requests.

What's next ⏭️

The next article will be about our controller πŸ›‚. So we're going to define our first controller that will interact with HTTP request and HTTP response and we will introduce the unit test that it's a huge topic to deal with ⛰️.

If this sounds interesting for you don't miss if for any reason 😁.

I hope you enjoy this post and find it useful. If you have any questions or you want to spot me some errors I really appreciate it and I'll make my best to follow up. If you enjoy it and would like to sustain me consider giving a like and sharing on your favorite socials. If u want u can add me on your socials this makes me very very happy!

Stay safe and see you soon! 😎

Discussion (3)

alescgithub profile image

Ciao Ivan, ottimo inizio! A quando la nuova "puntata"?

ivan_pesenti profile image
Ivan Pesenti Author

Ciao Alessandro,
ti ringrazio dei complimenti!
Credo che bisognerà attendere un po' perchè ho iniziato un side project che mi porta via tantissimo tempo.
Seguiranno aggiornamenti 😎

alescgithub profile image

aspetterΓ². Grazie