Leveraging cgo: Interpolating C Code with Go

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Elevator Pitch

Are you tired of grappling with C code when working with graphic libraries, low-level/system libraries, or accessing APIs? Enter cgo—the powerful bridge between Go and C. Join us in this talk as we explore the ins and outs of cgo, uncovering its advantages and limitations. Discover how you can seamlessly integrate C code into your Go projects, leveraging existing C libraries while harnessing the benefits of the Go programming language.


In this session, I will provide a comprehensive introduction to cgo and its pivotal role in the Go ecosystem. I’ll also begin by delving into the motivations behind using cgo and its significance in specific scenarios. Through practical examples and a step-by-step approach, and will guide you in setting up cgo, ensuring you have the necessary foundation to start integrating C code with Go.

During the talk, I will cover essential topics such as utilizing compiler flags like #cgo and go build -tags=, invoking C functions from Go, leveraging macros, handling type conversions, accessing struct fields, customizing cgo configurations, and sharing best practices for optimal usage.

Furthermore, I will delve into the internals of cgo, shedding light on its underlying workings and highlighting common pitfalls to avoid. By the end of the talk, you will have a comprehensive understanding of when and how to effectively use cgo, as well as insights into its adoption patterns within the Go community.

Agenda Outline

  1. Introduction to cgo and its role in Go development
  2. Setting up cgo in your development environment
  3. Basic code examples showcasing cgo usage
  4. Leveraging compiler flags and build tags with cgo
  5. Interfacing with C functions and macros from Go
  6. Handling type conversions and accessing struct fields
  7. Customizing cgo configurations and best practices
  8. Exploring the internals of cgo and common pitfalls
  9. Q&A session


To make the most of this talk, attendees should possess a basic understanding of pointers, types, and functions from the reflect and unsafe packages in Go. While prior knowledge of C programming is not mandatory, it may enhance your understanding of the concepts discussed.

As a developer of The V Programming Language, I have extensive experience working with C code and leveraging cgo for seamless integration. The V Language, which transpiles to C, heavily relies on C interpolation, similar to Go. With my expertise and contributions to the Go community, including the creation of Box CLI Maker—an acclaimed Go project with 300+ stars on GitHub, widely adopted in Kubernetes—I am well-equipped to deliver this professional and developer-oriented talk on cgo.

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