Public | Automated Build

Last pushed: a year ago
Short Description
Containerized build environment for compiling Golang package into a light-weight Docker container.
Full Description


One of the (many) benefits of developing with Go is that you have the option of compiling your application into a self-contained, statically-linked binary. A statically-linked binary can be run in a container with NO other dependencies which means you can create incredibly small images.

With a statically-linked binary, you could have a Dockerfile that looks something like this:

FROM scratch
COPY hello /
ENTRYPOINT ["/hello"]

Note that the base image here is the 0 byte scratch image which serves as the root layer for all Docker images. The only thing in the resulting image will be the copied binary so the total image size will be roughly the same as the binary itself.

Contrast that with using the official golang image which weighs-in at 500MB before you even copy your application into it.

The golang-builder will accept your source code, compile it into a statically-linked binary and generate a minimal Docker image containing that binary.

Inspired by

Requirements (go project setup)

In order for the golang-builder to work properly with your project, you need to follow a few simple conventions:

Project Structure

The golang-builder assumes that your "main" package (the package containing your executable command) is at the root of your project directory structure.

└─ ... other project files 

In the example above, the hello.go source file defines the "main" package for this project and lives at the root of the project directory structure. This project defines other packages ("api" and "greeting") but those are subdirectories off the root.

This convention is in place so that the golang-builder knows where to find the "main" package in the project structure. In a future release, we may make this a configurable option in order to support projects with different directory structures.

Canonical Import Path

In addition to knowing where to find the "main" package, the golang-builder also needs to know the fully-qualified package name for your application. For the "hello" application shown above, the fully-qualified package name for the executable is "" but there is no way to determine that just by looking at the project directory structure (during the development, the project directory would likely be mounted at $GOPATH/src/ so that the Go tools can determine the package name).

In version 1.4 of Go an annotation was introduced which allows you to identify the canonical import path as part of your source code. The annotation is a specially formatted comment that appears immediately after the packageclause:

package main // import ""

The golang-builder will read this annotation from your source code and use it to mount the source code into the proper place in the GOPATH for compilation.


There's a good chance that your project imports at least one third-party Go package. The golang-builder obviously needs access to any packages that you've imported in order to compile your code. By default, golang-builder will go get any packages you've imported which aren't part of your project already.

The problem with doing a go get with each build is that golang-builder may end up with versions of packages which are different than those you developed against. Depending on the stability of the packages that you are importing this may not be an issue; in a future release, we will add support for Godep tool.


golang-builder will package your compiled Go application into a Docker image automatically, then the final requirement is that your Dockerfile be placed at the root of your project directory structure. After compiling your Go application, golang-builder will execute a docker build with your Dockerfile.

The compiled binary will be placed in the root of your project directory so your Dockerfile can be written with the assumption that the application binary is in the same directory as the Dockerfile itself:

FROM scratch
COPY hello /
ENTRYPOINT ["/hello"]

In this case, the hello binary will be copied right to the root of the image and used as the entrypoint. Since we're using the empty scratch image as our base, there is no need to set-up any sort of directory structure inside the image.


There are a few things that the golang-builder needs in order to compile your application code and wrap it in a Docker image:

  • Access to your source code. Inject your source code into the container by mounting it at the /src mount point with the -v flag.
  • Access to the Docker API socket. Since the golang-builder code needs to interact with the Docker API in order to build the final image, you need to mount /var/run/docker.sock into the container with the -v flag when you run it.

Assuming that the source code for your Go executable package is located at/home/go/src/ on your local system and you're currently in the hello directory, you'd run the golang-builder container as follows:

docker run --rm \
  -v "$(pwd):/src" \
  -v /var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock \

This would result in the creation of a new Docker image named hello:latest.

Note that the image tag is generated dynamically from the name of the Go package. If you'd like to specify an image tag name you can provide it as an argument after the image name.

docker run --rm \
  -v "$(pwd):/src" \
  -v /var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock \
  fabriziopandini/golang-builder \

Additional Options

  • CGO_ENABLED - whether or not to compile the binary with CGO (defaults to false)
  • LDFLAGS - flags to pass to the linker (defaults to '-s')
  • OUTPUT - if set, will use the -o option with go build to output the final binary to the value of this env var
  • DOCKERFILE - if set, will use the -f option with docker build and use the Dockerfile that correspond to the value of this env var

The above are environment variables to be passed to the docker run command:

docker run --rm \
  -e CGO_ENABLED=true \
  -e LDFLAGS='-extldflags "-static"' \
  -e OUTPUT=/bin/my_go_binary \
  -e DOCKERFILE=myDockerFile \
  -v $(pwd):/src \


A makefile will help in making your development pipeline simpler and straight forward:

NAME = fabriziopandini/hello

all: package

#..other targets for testing your app locally e.g. build, test

    docker run --rm -v $(PWD):/src -v /var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock fabriziopandini/golang-builder $(NAME):$(VERSION)

    docker run --rm $(NAME):$(VERSION)

    docker tag $(NAME):$(VERSION) $(NAME):latest

    docker push $(NAME)


in a future release, we will add support for cross compilation.

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