Goyek: Build Automation Go Library


Build automation in Go


goyek (/ˈɡɔɪæk/ 🔊 listen) is used to create build automation in Go. As opposed to many other tools, it is just a Go library with API inspired by testing, cobra, flag, http packages.

Here are some good parts:

  • It is cross-platform and shell independent.
  • No binary installation is needed.
  • It is easy to debug, like a regular Go application.
  • The tasks are defined similarly to cobra commands.
  • The task actions look like a Go unit test. You may even use testify or fluentassert for asserting.
  • You can reuse code like in any Go application. It may be helpful to use packages like fsnotify and viper.
  • It is highly customizable.
  • It does not use any third-party dependency other than the Go standard library. You can find supplumental features in goyek/x.
  • Minimal supported Go version is 1.11.

Quick start

Supplemental packages from github.com/goyek/x are used for convinence.

The convention is to have the build automation in the /build directory (or even Go module).

Put the following content in /build/hello.go:

package main

import (


var msg = flag.String("msg", "greeting message", "Hello world!")

var hello = flow.Define(goyek.Task{
    Name:  "hello",
    Usage: "demonstration",
    Action: func(a *goyek.A) {
        cmd.Exec(a, "go version")

Put the following content in /build/main.go:

package main

import (

func main() {


$ go mod tidy

$ go run ./build -h
Usage of build: [flags] [--] [tasks]
  hello  demonstration
        print all tasks without executing actions
  -long-run duration
        print when a task takes longer (default 1m0s)
  -msg string
        Hello world! (default "greeting message")
        disable colorizing output
        do not process dependencies
  -skip comma-separated tasks
        skip processing the comma-separated tasks
  -v    print all tasks as they are run

$ go run ./build -v
===== TASK  hello
      hello.go:16: greeting message
      hello.go:17: Exec: go version
go version go1.19.3 windows/amd64
----- PASS: hello (0.12s)
ok      0.123s

Repository template

You can use goyek/template to create a new repository.

For an existing repository you can copy most of its files.


Defining tasks

Use Define to register a a task.

You can add dependencies to already defineded tasks using Task.Deps. The dependencies are running in sequential order. Each task runs at most once.

The Task.Action is a function which executes when a task is running. A task can have only dependencies and no action to act as a pipeline.

A default task can be assigned using SetDefault.

Running programs

You can use the cmd.Exec convenient function from goyek/x that should cover most use cases.

Alternatively, you may prefer create your own helpers like Exec in build/exec.go.

#60 and #307 explain why this feature is not out-of-the-box.

Wrapper scripts

Instead of executing go run ./build, you may create wrapper scripts, which you can invoke from any locationn.

Bash - goyek.sh:

set -euo pipefail

DIR="$( cd "$( dirname "${BASH_SOURCE[0]}" )" >/dev/null && pwd )"
cd "$DIR"
go run ./build "$@"

PowerShell - goyek.ps1:

& go run .\build $args
exit $global:LASTEXITCODE

If /build is a separate Go module, check the goyek.sh and goyek.ps1 scripts.

Using middlewares

Call the Use function to setup a task runner interceptor (middleware).

You can use a middleware, for example to: generate a task execution report, add retry logic, export build execution telemetry, etc.

You can use some reusable middlewares from the middleware package. ReportStatus is the most commonly used middleware.

Notice that the boot.Main convenient function from goyek/x sets the most commonly used middlewares and defines flags to configure them.


You can customize the default output by using:

You can also study how github.com/goyek/x is customizing the default behavior.



While Make (Makefile) is currently the de facto standard, it has some pitfalls:

  • Requires to learn Make (and often Bash).
  • It is hard to develop a Makefile which is truly cross-platform.
  • Debugging and testing Make targets is not fun.

goyek is intended to be simpler, easier to learn, more portable, while still being able to handle most use cases.


Mage is a framework/tool which magically discovers the targets from magefiles, which results in some drawbacks.

goyek is a non-magical alternative for Mage. It is easier to customize and extend as it is a library that offers extension points. Write regular Go code without build tags and tricky imports.


While Task is simpler and easier to use than Make, but it still has similar problems:


Bazel is a very sophisticated tool which is created to efficiently handle complex and long-running build pipelines. It requires the build target inputs and outputs to be fully specified.

goyek is just a simple Go library. However, nothing prevents you from, for example, using the github.com/magefile/mage/target package to make your automation more efficient.


See CONTRIBUTING.md if you want to help us.

Please ⭐ Star this repository if you find it valuable and worth maintaining.


Download Details:

Author: goyek
Source Code: https://github.com/goyek/goyek 
License: View license

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Goyek: Build Automation Go Library
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