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Using Go for Task Running & Automation🔗

My preferred tool at this time is Mage.

Mage replaces the need for Bash or PowerShell scripts in your repo for core automation tasks, and provides the benefits of Go (cross-platform, error handling paradigm, readability, performance, etc).

Getting Started With Mage🔗

Use Go🔗

  • Run go install
  • Run go install
  • asdf: asdf plugin-add mage && asdf install mage latest && asdf local mage latest

Intialize a New Project🔗

  • Scripts-To-Rule-Them-All-Go: A repo I've setup as quick start template for a Mage enabled repository with linting and core structure already in place.
  • Magetools: Reusable packages that can be pulled in to jump start common tasks or utilities.
  • Examples:
    • Enhanced go formatter with mage go:wrap.
    • Preinstall common Go tools such as the language server, dlv, gofumpt, golangci-lint, and more with mage go:init.
    • Provide a github repo for a go binary and use in tasks. If the binary isn't found, it will automatically grab it when invoked.
    • Pre-commit registration and tooling.
    • Install Git Town, Bit, and other cool git helpers with mage gittools:init.
    • Chain together all your core tasks with mage init to allow for a fully automated dev setup.

Why Should I Care About Mage?🔗

  • I've never felt my automation was as robust, stable, and easy to debug as when I've used Mage.
  • I've done a lot of experimenting with others, and had primarily relied on InvokeBuild (powershell based) in the past.
  • Mage takes the prize for ease of use.
  • You can migrate a make file relatively easily if you want to just call tools directly.
  • You can benefit from using Go packages directly as you up your game.
  • Example: instead of calling kubectl directly, I've used a helm Go library that does actions like validation, linting, and templating directly from the same core code that kubectl itself uses.

Mage Basics🔗

  • Mage is just Go code.
  • It does a little "magic" by simplying matching some functions that match basic signature such as error output, like func RunTests(dir string) error {...}.
  • You can get around needing mage by creating Go files, but you'd have to add basic args handling for the main() entry point, and help generation.
  • Mage basically tries to simplify the cli invocation by auto-discovering all the matched functions in your magefiles directory and providing as tasks.
  • Mage does not currently support flags, though this is actively being looked at.
  • This means you are best served by keeping tasks very very simple. Ie mage deploy project dev is about as complex as I'd recommend.
  • Normally, you'd invoke with mytool -project ProjectName -env dev and positions wouldn't matter. With mage, it's positional for simplicity so best to keep simple!

My Mage Tips🔗

  • Use the pattern shown in my template repo above.
  • Use magefiles directory.
  • Provide a single magefile.go that does your imports and basic commands. If it's a big project then just have it import and put all your tasks in subdirectories that it imports.
  • Provide a magefiles/constants/constants.go && vars.go rather than being worried about globals. This is for build automation, and having a configured file with standards that shouldn't change or global variables is a nice alternative to needing more yaml files.
  • Use Pterm for enchanced logging experience, provides some beautiful output for users.
  • For extra benefit, standardize with a mage doctor command in your project that validates issues experienced and gets added to over time. This can help troubleshooting any environment or project issues if you maintain and add a list of checks being run. Using Pterm you can make this into a nice table output like this:

Mage Doctor Output