An Introduction to Testing in Go Image An Introduction to Testing in Go

Testing is hugely important in all software. Being able to ensure the correctness of your code and ensure that any changes you make don’t end up breaking anything else in different parts of your codebase is hugely important.

By taking the time to adequately test your go programs you allow yourself to develop faster with a greater sense of confidence that what you are developing will continue to work when you release it to production.

Video Tutorial


In this tutorial we are going to look at how you can develop and run tests for your go code using the go test command.

Go Test Files

If you have seen any go projects before, you may have noticed that most, if not all files within the project, feature a FILE_test.go counterpart within the same directory.

This is not an accident. These are the files which contain all of the unit tests for the project and they test all of the code within their counterparts.

// An Example of how your project would be structured
- calc.go
- calc_test.go
- main.go
- main_test.go

A Simple Test File

Imagine we had a very simple go program that was made up of one file and featured a calculate() function. This calculate() function simply takes in 1 number and adds 2 to it. Nice and simple to get us up and running:

package main

import (

// Calculate returns x + 2.
func Calculate(x int) (result int) {
    result = x + 2
    return result

func main() {
    fmt.Println("Hello World")

If we wished to test this we could create a main_test.go file within the same directory and write the following test:

package main

import (

func TestCalculate(t *testing.T) {
    if Calculate(2) != 4 {
        t.Error("Expected 2 + 2 to equal 4")

Running Our Tests

Now that we have created our first go test, it’s time to run this and see if our code behaves the way we expect it to. We can execute our tests by running:

go test

This should then output something similar to the following:

Elliots-MBP:go-testing-tutorial elliot$ go test
ok      _/Users/elliot/Documents/Projects/tutorials/golang/go-testing-tutorial  0.007s

Table Driven Testing

Now that we are happy that one calculation works, we should look to improve confidence by adding a few extra test cases into our code. If we want to gradually build up a series of test cases that are always tested, we can leverage an array of tests like so:

func TestTableCalculate(t *testing.T) {
    var tests = []struct {
        input    int
        expected int
        {2, 4},
        {-1, 1},
        {0, 2},
        {-5, -3},
        {99999, 100001},

    for _, test := range tests {
        if output := Calculate(test.input); output != test.expected {
            t.Error("Test Failed: {} inputted, {} expected, recieved: {}", test.input, test.expected, output)

Here we declare a struct that contains both an input and the expected value. We then iterate through the list of tests with our for _, test := range tests call and check to see that our function will always return the expected results, regardless of input.

When we run our test suite now, we should see the same output as before:

Elliots-MBP:go-testing-tutorial elliot$ go test
ok      _/Users/elliot/Documents/Projects/tutorials/golang/go-testing-tutorial  0.007s

Verbose Test Output

Sometimes you may wish to see exactly what tests are running and how long they took. Thankfully, this is available if you use the -v flag when running your tests like so:

Elliots-MBP:go-testing-tutorial elliot$ go test -v
=== RUN   TestCalculate
--- PASS: TestCalculate (0.00s)
=== RUN   TestTableCalculate
--- PASS: TestTableCalculate (0.00s)
ok      _/Users/elliot/Documents/Projects/tutorials/golang/go-testing-tutorial  0.006s

You can see that both our normal test and our table test ran and passed and took less than 0.00s to execute.


Hopefully you found this tutorial useful! If you require further assistance then please feel free to let me know in the comments section below.

Further Reading

If you enjoyed this, you may like my other articles on testing in Go:

Elliot Forbes

Elliot Forbes
Twitter: @Elliot_f

Hey, I'm Elliot and I've been working on TutorialEdge for the last 4 years! If you have any tips or suggestions as to how I can make it better, please let me know in the suggestion box below!