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Use in Go

Before you get started

Before diving into the FlatBuffers usage in Go, it should be noted that the Tutorial page has a complete guide to general FlatBuffers usage in all of the supported languages (including Go). This page is designed to cover the nuances of FlatBuffers usage, specific to Go.

You should also have read the Building documentation to build flatc and should be familiar with Using the schema compiler and Writing a schema.

FlatBuffers Go library code location

The code for the FlatBuffers Go library can be found at flatbuffers/go. You can browse the library code on the FlatBuffers GitHub page.

Testing the FlatBuffers Go library

The code to test the Go library can be found at flatbuffers/tests. The test code itself is located in go_test.go.

To run the tests, use the GoTest.sh shell script.

Note: The shell script requires Go to be installed.

Using the FlatBuffers Go library

Note: See Tutorial for a more in-depth example of how to use FlatBuffers in Go.

FlatBuffers supports reading and writing binary FlatBuffers in Go.

To use FlatBuffers in your own code, first generate Go classes from your schema with the --go option to flatc. Then you can include both FlatBuffers and the generated code to read or write a FlatBuffer.

For example, here is how you would read a FlatBuffer binary file in Go: First, include the library and generated code. Then read a FlatBuffer binary file into a []byte, which you pass to the GetRootAsMonster function:

import (
example "MyGame/Example"
flatbuffers "github.com/google/flatbuffers/go"
buf, err := ioutil.ReadFile("monster.dat")
// handle err
monster := example.GetRootAsMonster(buf, 0)

Now you can access values like this:

hp := monster.Hp()
pos := monster.Pos(nil)

In some cases it's necessary to modify values in an existing FlatBuffer in place (without creating a copy). For this reason, scalar fields of a Flatbuffer table or struct can be mutated.

monster := example.GetRootAsMonster(buf, 0)
// Set table field.
if ok := monster.MutateHp(10); !ok {
panic("failed to mutate Hp")
// Set struct field.
// This mutation will fail because the mana field is not available in
// the buffer. It should be set when creating the buffer.
if ok := monster.MutateMana(20); !ok {
panic("failed to mutate Hp")

The term mutate is used instead of set to indicate that this is a special use case. All mutate functions return a boolean value which is false if the field we're trying to mutate is not available in the buffer.

Text Parsing

There currently is no support for parsing text (Schema's and JSON) directly from Go, though you could use the C++ parser through cgo. Please see the C++ documentation for more on text parsing.