October 19, 2016

Golang bridging

The Go tools are capable of static and dynamic linking with other libraries, and also there is possbility to create static and dynamic library, therefore it is possible to create a bridge between golang and the other language both ways.

Creating shared and static library in Go

Let’s create library we will use in external systems. Here is an example. File example.go:

package main

import "C"
import "fmt"

//export SayHello
func SayHello(hello *C.char) {

func main() {}

and Makefile that will contain build script that you can invoke by make static or make shared. I am not sure if my solution present shows a good practice. Feel free to send a PR with improvement.

static example.a:
	go build -o example.a -buildmode=c-archive example.go
shared example.dylib:
	go build -o example.dylib -buildmode=c-shared example.go

As far as I understand the main function is neccecery to include into library, because the final product has to have for example GC rutines. The comment starting from //export {function name} tells the comiler that this the function will be called from the outside.

Calling functrion from library in Go

First off we will create C++ library that we will use in out Go program. File example.cxx:

#include <stdio.h>

extern "C" {

void PrintHello(const char* u) {
    printf("Hello: %s\n", u);


And example.hxx:

#pragma once
void PrintHello(const char* u)

extern "C" {} informs the compiler that we want the function names to be preserved. That is, to not “mangle” the names as is done for C++ code. Makefile:

static example.a:
	clang++ -c -Wall -o lib.o ./example.cxx
	ar rc ./libexample.a ./lib.o
shared example.dylib:
	clang++ -dynamiclib -o libexample.dylib example.cxx

Statically linking an example library

package main

// #cgo CFLAGS: -I.
// #cgo LDFLAGS: -L. -lexample
// #include <example.hxx>
import "C"

func main() {
	C.PrintHello(C.CString("Hello Golang"))

The program is linked staticaly with libexample when you build it.

Example of using library with FFI

gem install ffi
require 'ffi'
module Example
  extend FFI::Library
  ffi_lib './example.dylib'
  attach_function :SayHello, [:string]


More informations about FFI: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_function_interface

Call shared library from Python

import ctypes
libc = ctypes.CDLL('./example.dylib')

Interesting websites

  • https://blog.filippo.io/building-python-modules-with-go-1-5/
  • https://id-rsa.pub/post/go15-calling-go-shared-libs-from-firefox-addon/