Create build pipelines in Go

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This package aims to simplify the creation of build pipelines in Go instead of using scripts or Make.

taskflow API is mainly inspired by the testing, http and flag packages.

Check Go Build Pipeline Demo to compare taskflow with Make and Mage.

Star this repository if you find it valuable and worth maintaining.


Create a file in your project build/build.go.

Copy and paste the content from below.

package main

import "github.com/pellared/taskflow"

func main() {
	flow := taskflow.New()

	fmt := flow.MustRegister(taskFmt())
	test := flow.MustRegister(taskTest())

		Name:        "all",
		Description: "build pipeline",
		Dependencies: taskflow.Deps{


func taskFmt() taskflow.Task {
	return taskflow.Task{
		Name:        "fmt",
		Description: "go fmt",
		Command:     taskflow.Exec("go", "fmt", "./..."),

func taskTest() taskflow.Task {
	return taskflow.Task{
		Name:        "test",
		Description: "go test with race detector and code covarage",
		Command: func(tf *taskflow.TF) {
			if err := tf.Cmd("go", "test", "-race", "-covermode=atomic", "-coverprofile=coverage.out", "./...").Run(); err != nil {
				tf.Errorf("go test: %v", err)
			if err := tf.Cmd("go", "tool", "cover", "-html=coverage.out", "-o", "coverage.html").Run(); err != nil {
				tf.Errorf("go tool cover: %v", err)

Sample usage:

$ go run ./build -h
Usage: [flag(s)] [key=val] task(s)
  -v    Verbose output: log all tasks as they are run. Also print all text from Log and Logf calls even if the task succeeds.
  all     build pipeline
  fmt     go fmt
  test    go test with race detector and code covarage
$ go run ./build all
ok     0.453s
$ go run ./build -v all
===== TASK  fmt
Exec: go fmt ./...
----- PASS: fmt (0.06s)
===== TASK  test
Exec: go test -race -covermode=atomic -coverprofile=coverage.out ./...
?       github.com/pellared/taskflow/example    [no test files]
Exec: go tool cover -html=coverage.out -o coverage.html
----- PASS: test (0.11s)
ok      0.176s

Tired of writing go run ./build each time? Just add an alias to your shell. For example, add the line below to ~/.bash_aliases:

alias gake='go run ./build'

Additionally, take a look at this project’s own build pipeline script – build.go.


Task registration

The registered tasks are required to have a non-empty name. For future compatibility, it is strongly suggested to use only the following characters:

  • letters (a-z and A-Z)
  • digits (0-9)
  • underscore (_)
  • hyphens (-)

Do not use the equals sign (=) as it is used for assigning parameters.

A task with a given name can be only registered once.

A task without description is not listed in taskflow’s CLI usage.

Task dependencies

During task registration it is possible to add a dependency to an already registered task. When taskflow is processed, it makes sure that the dependency is executed before the current task is run. Take note that each task will be executed at most once.

Task command

Task command is a function which is executed when a task is executed. It is not required to to set a command. Not having a command is very handy when registering “pipelines”.

Task runner

You can use type Runner to execute a single command.

It may be handy during development of a new task, when debugging some issue or if you want to have a test suite for reusable commands.

Verbose mode

Enable verbose output using the -v CLI flag. It works similar to go test -v. When enabled, the whole output will be streamed. If disabled, only logs from failed task are send to the output.

Use func (*TF) Verbose to check if verbose mode was set within the task’s command.


The parameters can be set via CLI using the key=val syntax after CLI flags. For example, go run ./build -v ci=true all would run the all task with ci parameter set to "true" in verbose mode.

Default values can be assigned via Params field in type Taskflow.

The task’s command can get the parameters using func (*TF) Params.

Helpers for running programs

Use func Exec(name string, args ...string) func(*TF) to create a task’s command which only runs a single program.

Use func (tf *TF) Cmd(name string, args ...string) *exec.Cmd if within a task’s command function when you want to execute more programs or you need more granular control.

Supported Go versions

Minimal required Go version is 1.10.


Why not use Make?

While Make is currently the de facto standard, it has some pitfalls:

  • Requires to learn Make, which is not so easy.
  • It is hard to develop a Makefile which is truly cross-platform.
  • Debugging and testing Make targets is not fun.

However, if you (and your team) know Make and are happy with it, do not change it.

Make is very powerful and a lot of stuff can be made a lot faster, if you know how to use it.

taskflow is intended to be simpler and easier to learn, while still being able to handle most use cases.

Why not use Mage?

taskflow is intended to be an alternative to Mage.

Mage is a framework/tool which magically discovers the targets from magefiles.

taskflow takes a different approach as it is a regular Go library (package).

This results in following benefits:

  • It is easy to debug. Like a regular Go application.
  • Tasks and helpers are testable. See exec_test.go.
  • Reusing tasks is easy and readable. Just create a function which registers common tasks. Mage does it in a hacky way.
  • API similar to testing so it is possible to use e.g. testify for asserting.

To sum up, taskflow is not magical. Write regular Go code. No build tags or special names for functions.

Why not use Task?

While Task is simpler and easier to use than Make it still has some problems:

  • Requires to learn Task’s YAML sturcture and the minimalistic, cross-platform interpreter which it uses.
  • Debugging and testing tasks is not fun.
  • Harder to make some reusable tasks.
  • Requires to “install” the tool. taskflow leverages go run and Go Modules so that you can be sure that everyone uses the same version of taskflow.

Why not use Bazel?

Bazel is a very sophisticated tool which is created to efficiently handle complex and long-running build pipelines. It requires the build target inputs and outputs to be fully specified.

taskflow is just a simple library that is mainly supposed to create a build pipeline consisting of commands like go vet, go test, go build. However, take notice that taskflow is a library. Nothing prevents you from, for example, using Mage’s target package to make your build pipeline more efficient.


I am open to any feedback and contribution.

Use Discussions or write to me: Robert Pajak @ Gophers Slack.

You can also create an issue or a pull request.