Go: implementing a microservice

We should move towards writing actual code for our service. We are writing a simple statistics collection service for tracking page views. We are going to create a database schema for collecting page views and improve things along the way.

The database schema

To refresh, we will be implementing our Push() RPC call:

service StatsService {
	rpc Push(PushRequest) returns (PushResponse);

message PushRequest {
	string property = 1;
	uint32 section = 2;
	uint32 id = 3;

message PushResponse {}

I’ve created a database schema which serves my use case for logging the request. In addition to the request data for the RPC, I added fields remote_ip, and stamp to track the user making the page view and the time the page view was logged. I also defined an id uint64 primary key, which I’ll fill out with a K-sortable Sonyflake ID.

Name Type Key Comment
id bigint(20) unsigned PRI Tracking ID
property varchar(32) Property name (human readable, a-z)
property_section int(11) unsigned Property Section ID
property_id int(11) unsigned Property Item ID
remote_ip varchar(255) Remote IP from user making request
stamp datetime Timestamp of request

As you can see, our docs generator is already paying for itself. This is our migration, with the comments stripped out to cut down verbosity:

CREATE TABLE `incoming` (
 `id` bigint(20) unsigned
 `property` varchar(32)
 `property_section` int(11) unsigned
 `property_id` int(11) unsigned
 `remote_ip` varchar(255)
 `stamp` datetime

CREATE TABLE `incoming_proc` LIKE `incoming`;

We are automatically creating a copy of incoming into incoming_proc. This has to do with processing caveats - renaming tables in mysql is an atomic operation, meaning we can issue the following queries and replace the tables between each other:

RENAME TABLE incoming TO incoming_old, incoming_proc TO incoming, incoming_old TO incoming_proc;

The rename table statement would replace the tables between each other. This is to separate our reads from our writes - one table is always getting written to, the other is getting read and aggregated into other tables, grouped by various time intervals (hourly, daily, monthly,…).

In the previous version of this service, the table schema had an ID field which was an AUTO_INCREMENT. In InnoDB, an AUTO_INCREMENT column triggers a special table-level lock, which blocks other transactions so that they recieve consecutive primary key values. We aren’t resorting to auto incrementing fields so we already eliminated a possible source of performance issues.

After adding the migration, we run make, so all our assets are generated.

Improving the microservice environment

We do a few improvements of our code generators in order to increase consistency. Since wire generates wire_gen.go, we rename our types_db.go to types_gen.go so we can be consistent. We also notice that the fields from our migration result in a few oddly named struct fields:

  • Id
  • PropertyId
  • RemoteIp

When we were writing our camelizer, we didn’t consider that we want to stay compliant with common Go naming styles, e.g. “JSON” instead of “Json”. Let’s quickly improve that part of our code generator, by importing a package that handles common initialisms.

package main

import (

func camel(input string) string {
	return snaker.SnakeToCamel(input)

And now we can use ID, PropertyID and RemoteIP respectively. The package serenize/snaker lists common initialisms which it sources from golang/lint#lint.go. We can even add golint to our CI jobs? Let’s do it. Add the following at the end of docker/build/Dockerfile:

# Install golint
RUN go get -u golang.org/x/lint/golint

Rebuild the image by running make and make push so it can be used with Drone, and then let’s add a Makefile target and Drone CI step to lint our code:

	golint -set_exit_code ./...

And our .drone.yml:

--- a/.drone.yml
+++ b/.drone.yml
@@ -29,6 +29,7 @@ steps:
     - make tidy
     - wire ./...
+    - make lint
     - make build

I fixed the issues that showed up, mostly about having comments for exported fields, like:

--- a/templates/client_wire.go.sh
+++ b/templates/client_wire.go.sh
@@ -15,6 +15,7 @@ function render_wire {
        echo ")"
+       echo "// Inject produces a wire.ProviderSet with our RPC clients"
        echo "var Inject = wire.NewSet("
        for schema in $schemas; do
                echo -e "\t${schema}.New,"

And after adding all the possible comments to our code generated code and a few stylistic fixes around our db package, we are ready to implement our service up to spec.

Implementing Push

As mentioned before, we will need an additional dependency - as we don’t have an AUTO_INCREMENT column, we will use a Sonyflake ID generator to provide us with k-sortable uint64 values. In our inject package, define the following provider:

import (


// Sonyflake produces a sonyflake ID generator dependency
func Sonyflake() *sonyflake.Sonyflake {
	var serverID uint16
	if val, err := strconv.ParseInt(os.Getenv("SERVER_ID"), 10, 16); err == nil {
		serverID = uint16(val)
	if serverID > 0 {
		return sonyflake.NewSonyflake(sonyflake.Settings{
			MachineID: func() (uint16, error) {
				return serverID, nil
	return sonyflake.NewSonyflake(sonyflake.Settings{})

Sonyflake has 16 bits reserved for a Machine ID. By default, Sonyflake calculates the Machine ID from the bottom 16 bits of a valid LAN address from your container. This may prove problematic if you run your services on multiple stand alone hosts, as the individual networks may provision the same IP to multiple instances of your service. I added in support for a SERVER_ID environment variable to be prepared for this.

Update the ProviderSet in the inject package:

// Inject is the main ProviderSet for wire
var Inject = wire.NewSet(

and include *sonyflake.Sonyflake in the Server{} definition for the stats service. Wire will regenerate the wire_gen.go file, where the sonyflake generator will be created.

Implementing our Push RPC with all the scaffolding which we have now is pretty trivial:

package stats

import (


// Push a record to the incoming log table
func (svc *Server) Push(ctx context.Context, r *stats.PushRequest) (*stats.PushResponse, error) {
	var err error
	row := Incoming{}

	row.ID, err = svc.sonyflake.NextID()
	if err != nil {
		return nil, err

	row.Property = r.Property
	row.PropertySection = r.Section
	row.PropertyID = r.Id
	row.RemoteIP = ""

	fields := strings.Join(IncomingFields, ",")
	named := ":" + strings.Join(IncomingFields, ",:")

	query := fmt.Sprintf("insert into %s (%s) values (%s)", IncomingTable, fields, named)
	_, err = svc.db.NamedExecContext(ctx, query, row)
	return nil, err

This is an initial implementation. There are two notable things to take care of. Since the Stamp field was mapped into a *time.Time, we can’t assign the output of time.New() time.Time directly to it. Since I don’t particularly like wrapping a timeNewPtr() *time.Time in every service, I modified the code generator to add a setter for this field type:

	for _, table := range tables {
		fields := []string{}
		primary := []string{}
		setters := []string{}
			if columnType == "*time.Time" {
				setters = append(setters, []string{
					fmt.Sprintf("// Set%s sets %s which requires a *time.Time", columnName, columnName),
					fmt.Sprintf("func (s *%s) Set%s(t time.Time) { s.%s = &t }", tableName, columnName, columnName),
		for _, v := range setters {
			fmt.Fprintln(buf, v)
		if len(setters) > 0 {


And the other thing is still a TODO item - I want to log the Remote IP of the request. Now, since we’re dealing with a Twirp implementation, we know that we have a *http.Request as the entrypoint. This is the first real divergence between the implementation of a Twirp or a gRPC service.

What we need to do to get the IP here is to wrap our twirp handler in our own http.Handler, which gets the information about the IP from the *http.Request, and updates the context so we can get the value for this field from the context passed to our handler.

  1. http.Request provides a Context() context.Context function to get the request,
  2. http.Request provides a WithContext(context.Context) *Request to build a new *Request

This should be pretty simple. Let’s see if we can do it on the first try (no cheating!). To help you out with some starting code, this is a wrapped handler:

--- a/templates/cmd_main.go.tpl
+++ b/templates/cmd_main.go.tpl
@@ -15,6 +15,12 @@ import (
        server "${MODULE}/server/${SERVICE}"
+func wrapWithIP(h http.Handler) http.Handler {
+       return http.HandlerFunc(func(w http.ResponseWriter, r *http.Request) {
+               h.ServeHTTP(w, r)
+       })
 func main() {
        ctx := context.TODO()
@@ -25,5 +31,5 @@ func main() {
        twirpHandler := ${SERVICE}.New${SERVICE_CAMEL}ServiceServer(srv, nil)
-       http.ListenAndServe(":3000", twirpHandler)
+       http.ListenAndServe(":3000", wrapWithIP(twirpHandler))

Now stop reading and go write your wrapper!

I said no cheating? Read the IP from a HTTP Request{}, set it into a context, and then come back when you have it working!

Ok, enough of that. Let’s see what I did on the first try:

func wrapWithIP(h http.Handler) http.Handler {
	return http.HandlerFunc(func(w http.ResponseWriter, r *http.Request) {
		// get IP address
		ip := func() string {
			headers := []string{
			for _, header := range headers {
				if addr := r.Header.Get(header); addr != "" {
					return strings.SplitN(addr, ", ", 2)[0]
			return strings.SplitN(r.RemoteAddr, ":", 2)[0];

		ctx := r.Context()
		ctx = context.WithValue(ctx, "ip.address", ip)

		h.ServeHTTP(w, r.WithContext(ctx))

I implemented a wrapper that checks X-Forwarded-For and X-Real-IP headers, and returns the first relevant IP listed in there. In case none of these headers are present, I take r.RemoteAddr, and strip away the port number which is expected from reading the docs.

Let’s modify our Push implementation to read from the context:

	if remoteIP, ok := ctx.Value("ip.address").(string); ok {
		row.RemoteIP = remoteIP

So, at worst - the RemoteIP field will be empty. Hopefully I didn’t do too bad of a job above and we will see a real IP get logged into the database when we issue our first request to the service.

This article is part of a Advent of Go Microservices book. I’ll be publishing one article each day leading up to christmas. Please consider buying the ebook to support my writing, and reach out to me with feedback which can make the articles more useful for you.

All the articles from the series are listed on the advent2019 tag.

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