Provides a way of doing template execution from standard Go templates from the command line. Also includes a bundle of collection templates for strongly-typed lists, sets and maps.

go get



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This application provides a simple way of executing standard Go templates from the command line. The obvious use-case is for source code generation, amongst many others.

You can install it with:

go get

It is intended to be used directly from the command-line and also with go generate.

It supports light-weight dependency checking, i.e. less work is done when the generated output file already exists and is up to date.


Flexible option parsing is provided. Example

runtemplate -tpl filename.tpl -output outfile.go -deps foo.go,bar.go Type=MyStruct Option1=Value1 Option2=Value2
  • -tpl <name>

    • (required) the name of the input template.
  • -output <name>

    • the name of the output file to be written. If -tpl is not specifed, -output is required, otherwise it is optional.
  • -deps <name>,<name>,...

    • adds more dependencies to be checked in addition to the template itself and the 'type' file (if any).
  • -f

    • force output generation; if this is not set the output file is only produced when it is older than the dependencies
  • -v

    • verbose info messages
  • key=value ...

    • (optional) supply a (list of) key/value pairs that are passed in to the template. true and false are converted to booleans, allowing conditional blocks within your templates.

The option parser will also infer the template and output file names, so it is also permitted to use

runtemplate outfile.go filename.tpl Type=MyStruct Option1=Value1 Option2=true

i.e. to omit the explicit flags -tpl and -output.

Furthermore, the output file may be completely omitted

runtemplate filename.tpl Type=MyStruct Option1=Value1 Option2=true

in which case a name will be computed from all the values of the key/value pairs excluding true/false, plus the name of the template. For the example above, it will be mystruct_value1_filename.go.

Go Generate

Easy. Just put the go generate comment in your code like this:

//go:generate runtemplate -tpl filename.tpl -output outfile.go Option1=Value1 Option2=Value2

When you run go generate, it will find these marked comments and execute their commands. This will runtemplate against the specified template, passing in whatever options have have been specified on the command line as a map.


In the template file, you can access the key=value pairs simply by their keys. For instance:

{{ .Option1 }}

Boolean true/false key-values are available for {{if .Flag}} ... {{end}} conditional use.

For all other key-values, the values are supplemented by additional entries in the template's context. These are:

  • .Type - the type name (without any '*' prefix)
  • .PType - the type name (prefixed by '*' if supplied)
  • .UType - the type name having its first character converted to uppercase - useful for exported identifiers.
  • .LType - the type name having its first character converted to lowercase - useful for internal identifiers.
  • .TypeStar - a '*' if the type is a pointer type, otherwise blank
  • .TypeAmp - a '&' if the type is a pointer type, otherwise blank

This table shows two examples of context symbols defined for Type=Foo and Type=*Foo.

Type=Foo Type=*Foo
.Type Foo Foo
.PType Foo *Foo
.UType Foo Foo
.LType foo foo
.TypeStar *
.TypeAmp &

Be aware that your shell might expand * so you may need suitable quote marks, such as 'Type=*Foo'. This is not needed when using go:generate comment lines.

Additional keys are also made available:

  • .OutFile - the name of the output file
  • .TemplateFile - the template name as specified
  • .TemplatePath - the location and name of the actual template file used
  • .Package - the name of the directory of the output file (often the current directory)
  • .GOARCH, .GOOS, .GOPATH, GOROOT - the value of Go environment variables.

Some filters are also included that may be helpful.

  • title - Converts the input to Title Case.
  • upper - Converts the input to UPPER CASE.
  • lower - Converts the input to lower case.
  • firstUpper - Converts the first character of input to upper case.
  • firstLower - Converts the first character of input to lower case.
  • splitDotFirst - Given an input that has a '.' separator, returns the part before the first '.'.
  • splitDotLast - Given an input that has a '.' separator, returns the part after the last '.'.

The last two are useful for getting only the package name or only the type name if passed an input of package.Type.

Template Path

Templates are located by following TEMPLATEPATH, an optional environment variable. If it is defined, it is used like PATH, i.e. a colon-separate list of directories to be searched.

If TEMPLATEPATH is absent, its default is TEMPLATEPATH=., i.e. templates are relative to the current directory.

If available, the location of the builtin templates is also added to TEMPLATEPATH; this is found at $GOPATH/src/github/rickb777/runtemplate/builtin.

Built-in Templates

A selection of built-in templates is included with runtemplate. These provide type-safe collection types. Their API style has been loosely influenced by other similar Go types and the excellent Scala collection classes.