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Kevin Wan
Kevin Wan

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Best practices on developing monolithic services in Go

Why to write this best practices

  • For many startups, we should focus more on delivering application early, and at this time the user base is small and the QPS is very low, we should use a simpler technical architecture to accelerate the delivery of the application, and this is where the advantages of monoliths come into play.
  • As I often mentioned in my presentations, while we use monoliths to deliver applications quickly, we also need to consider the future possibilities when developing applications, and we can clearly split modules inside the monolith.
  • Many devs asked what's the best practices on developing monoliths with go-zero.

As go-zero is a widely used microservices framework, which I have precipitated during the complete development of several large projects. We have fully considered the scenario of monolithic service development.

The monolithic architecture using go-zero, as shown in the figure, can also support a large volume of business scale, where Service is a monolithic service of multiple Pods.

I'll share in detail how to use go-zero to quickly develop a monolithic service with multiple modules.

Monolithic example

Let's use an upload and download monolithic service to explain the best practices of go-zero monolithic service development, why use such an example?

  • The go-zero community often asks how to define API files for uploading files and then use goctl to generate the code automatically. When I first saw this kind of questions, I thought it was strange, why not use a service like OSS? I found many scenarios where the user needs to upload excel files, and then the server discards the file after parsing it. One is that the file is small, and the second is that the service is not serving a large amount of users, so we don't need to bring in OSS, which I think is quite reasonable.

  • The go-zero community also asking how to download files by defining an API file and then goctl automatically generating it. The reason why such questions are asked through Go is that there are generally two reasons: one is that the business is just starting, so it's easier to lay out a service to get all things done; the other is that I hope to take the advantages of go-zero's built-in JWT authentication.

This is just an example, no need to go deeper into whether uploading and downloading should be written in Go. So let's see how we can solve such a monolithic service, which we call the file service, with go-zero. The architecture is as follows.

Monolithic implementation

API definition

Devs who have used go-zero know that we provide an API format file to describe the RESTful API, and then we can generate the corresponding code by goctl with one shot, and we only need to fill in the corresponding business logic in the logic file. Let's see how the download and upload services define the API.

Download API definition

The sample requirement is as follows.

  • Download a file named <filename> through the /static/<filename> path
  • Just return the content of the file directly

We create a file named download.api in the api directory with the following content.

syntax = "v1"

type DownloadRequest {
  File string `path: "file"`

service file-api {
  @handler DownloadHandler
  get /static/:file(DownloadRequest)
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The syntax of zero-api is relatively self-explanatory and means the following.

  1. syntax = "v1" means that this is the v1 syntax of zero-api
  2. type DownloadRequest defines the request format for Download
  3. service file-api defines the request route for Download

Upload API definition

The sample requirement is as follows.

  • Upload a file via the /upload path
  • Return the upload status via json, where code can be used to express a richer scenario than HTTP code

We create a file called upload.api in the api directory with the following content.

syntax = "v1"

type UploadResponse {
  Code int `json: "code"`

service file-api {
  @handler UploadHandler
  post /upload returns (UploadResponse)
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Explain as follows.

  1. syntax = "v1" means this is the zero-api v1 syntax
  2. type UploadResponse defines the return format of Upload
  3. service file-api defines the request route for Upload

Here comes the problem

We have defined the Download and Upload services, but how can we put them into a service?

I don't know if you have noticed some details.

  1. either Download or Upload, we prefixed the request and response data definition, and did not use directly such as Request or Response
  2. we define service in download.api and upload.api with file-api as the service name, not download-api and upload-api respectively

The purpose of this is to automatically generate the corresponding Go code when we put the two services into the monolithic service. Let's see how to merge Download and Upload together~

Defining the monolithic service API

For simplicity reasons, goctl only supports accepting a single API file as a parameter, the issue of accepting multiple API files is not discussed here and may be supported later if we figure out a simple and efficient solution.

We create a new file.api file in the api directory with the following content.

syntax = "v1"

import "download.api"
import "upload.api"
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This way we import both Download and Upload services like #include in C/C++. But there are a few things to keep in mind.

  1. the defined structs cannot be renamed
  2. the service name must be the same in all files

The outermost API file can also contain part of the same service definition, but we recommend to keep it symmetrical, unless these APIs really belong to the parent level, e.g. the same logical level as Download and Upload, then they should not be defined in file.api.

At this point, we have the following file structure.

└── api
    ├── download.api
    ├── file.api
    └── upload.api
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Generating monolithic service

Now that we have the API interface defined, the next step is pretty straightforward for go-zero (of course, defining the API is pretty straightforward, isn't it?). Let's use goctl to generate the monolithic service code.

$ goctl api go -api api/file.api -dir .
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Let's take a look at the generated file structure.

├── api
│ ├── download.api
│ ├── file.api
│ └── upload.api
├── etc
│ └── file-api.yaml
├── file.go
├─ go.mod
├── go.sum
└── internal
    ├─ config
    │ └─ config.go
    ├─ handler
    │ ├── downloadhandler.go
    │ ├── routes.go
    │ └── uploadhandler.go
    ├─ logic
    │ ├── downloadlogic.go
    │ └── uploadlogic.go
    ├── svc
    │ └── servicecontext.go
    └─ types
        └─ types.go
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Let's explain the layout of the project by directory.

  • api directory: the API interface description file we defined earlier, no need to talk much
  • etc directory: this is for the yaml configuration files, all configuration items can be written in the file-api.yaml file
  • file.go: the file where the main function is located, with the same name as service, removed -api suffix
  • internal/config directory: the configuration definition of the service
  • internal/handler directory: the handler implementation of the routes defined in the API file
  • internal/logic directory: used to put the business processing logic corresponding to each route, the reason for the distinction between handler and logic is to minimize the dependency of the business processing part, to isolate HTTP requests from the logic processing code, and to facilitate the subsequent splitting into RPC service as needed
  • internal/svc directory: used to define the dependencies for business logic processing, we can create the dependent resources in main and pass them to handler and logic via ServiceContext
  • internal/types directory: defines the API request and response data structure

Let's not change anything, let's run it and see how it works.

$ go run file.go -f etc/file-api.yaml
Starting server at
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Implementing the business logic

Next we need to implement the relevant business logic, but the logic here is really just for demonstration purposes, so don't pay too much attention to the implementation details, just understand that we should write the business logic in the logic layer.

The following things are done here.

  • Add the Path setting in the configuration item to place the uploaded files, and by default I wrote the current directory, because it is an example, as follows.
type Config struct {
  // New
  Path string `json:",default=." `
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  • Adjusted the request body size limit as follows.
Name: file-api
Host: localhost
Port: 8888
# New
MaxBytes: 1073741824
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  • Since Download needs to write the file to the client, we passed ResponseWriter as io.Writer to the logic layer, and the modified code is as follows
func (l *DownloadLogic) Download(req *types.DownloadRequest) error {
  logx.Infof("download %s", req.File)
  body, err := ioutil.ReadFile(req.File)
  if err ! = nil {
    return err

  n, err := l.writer.Write(body)
  if err ! = nil {
    return err

  if n < len(body) {
    return io.ErrClosedPipe

  return nil
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  • Since Upload needs to read the files uploaded by the user, we pass http.Request to the logic layer and the modified code is as follows.
func (l *UploadLogic) Upload() (resp *types.UploadResponse, err error) {
  file, handler, err := l.r.FormFile("myFile")
  if err ! = nil {
    return nil, err
  defer file.Close()

  logx.Infof("upload file: %+v, file size: %d, MIME header: %+v",
    handler.Filename, handler.Size, handler.Header)

  tempFile, err := os.Create(path.Join(l.svcCtx.Config.Path, handler.Filename))
  if err ! = nil {
    return nil, err
  defer tempFile.Close()
  io.Copy(tempFile, file)

  return &types.UploadResponse{
    Code: 0,
  }, nil
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Full code:

We can start the file monolithic service by running the following command.

$ go run file.go -f etc/file-api.yaml
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The Download service can be verified with curl:

$ curl -i "http://localhost:8888/static/file.go"
HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Traceparent: 00-831431c47d162b4decfb6b30fb232556-dd3b383feb1f13a9-00
Date: Mon, 25 Apr 2022 01:50:58 GMT
Content-Length: 584
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8

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The sample repository contains upload.html, the browser can open this file to try the Upload service.

Summary of monolithic development

Let me summarize the complete process of developing a monolithic service with go-zero as follows.

  1. define the API files for each submodule, e.g. download.api and upload.api
  2. define the general API file, e.g. file.api. Use it to import the API files of each submodule defined in step 1
  3. generate the monolithic service framework code via the goctl api go command
  4. add and adjust the configuration to implement the business logic of the corresponding submodule

In addition, goctl can generate CRUD and cache code according to SQL in one shot, which can help you develop monolithic services more quickly.

Project address

Welcome to use go-zero and star to support us!

Top comments (3)

songhanpoo profile image

Whats your's tool you use for draw architecture ?

zhoushuguang profile image
songhanpoo profile image

Thank a lot.