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VSCode, GOOS, and you.

by on under books
2 minute read

VSCode & gopls: friends or foes?

I’ve had issues with VSCode and gopls on macOS since it’s been a thing. I was really excited about it at first, and then the problems started coming:

  • unresponsiveness
  • no imports
  • no code hints
  • no IntelliSense

This generally made the language server not worth using to me, and I reverted to goimports and friends. I had the feeling of always knowing that a day would come when the language server would be foisted upon me and I’d have limited options of what to do about it.

When leaving my last job I took the time to drag my settings.json along with me, just in case, but I tried a fresh install. Things just worked and life was great. I didn’t give another thought to it, because I had no need to. This all changed when I found out that I’d be targeting Windows on a project- everything went sideways.

The error was opaque and I was back to the above list of issues, minus the unresponsiveness because most things just weren’t loading. Even the smallest thing, like not knowing how many return values a function had ground my coding to a halt. I then truly realized how heavily I depended on the Go toolchain to help me get to workable code.

Does this scream “I have a cross-compile issue when starting the language server?”. It sure didn’t to me.

terse error message

That message didn’t return useful search results, so the debugging continued. On a whim I tried GOOS=windows code . and everything was magical. Things just worked.

So it seems when dealing with build constrained packages, there needs to be something that happens when the above situation occurs.

I ended up testing workspace settings and all was revealed. It feels like there should be a much more friendly way of getting to this solution through some sort of detection, but I ended up scripting a solution instead.

if [ -d .vscode ]; then
  echo ".vscode directory exists- refusing to overwrite."
  exit 1

mkdir .vscode

cat << EOT > .vscode/settings.json
    "go.toolsEnvVars": {
        "GOOS": "windows"
golang, goos, vscode, windows, darwin
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