Trying to get a better grasp of intefaces in Go. The talk below has been a great resource for having a deep understanding of dealing with interfaces in the language.

Smaller is Better

// this is better
func Write(w *Writer)

// this is too big
func Write(rw *ReadWriter)

As Rob Pike says in Go Proverbs, “The bigger the interface, the weaker the abstraction”. If a function just requires a type that can Write, a Writer is enough, and a ReadWriter is not needed.
This sort of thinking should permeate through all areas of your interface design.

Return concrete types

func New() *os.File

When returning, you should return conrete types instead of interfaces. Returning interfaces will lead to confusion on the part of the user of the function. The user of a function should feel comfortable and clear to use whatever type of value that has been returned to him/her.

It is okay to write interfaces in many places

This is one point which I initially had trouble getting used to. For example, if there is a struct

type Storage struct

func (s *Storage) Store(f *os.File)

and let’s say there are three different packages that just want to take advantage of the Store() function. Should you create one package that contains the interface,

type Storer interface {
  Store(f *os.File)

and think about the placement of that package and manage it as another dependency for the package? The answer is no. It is okay to go ahead and write the interface definition in all three packages. It may seem like redudndant code is bad, but in fact this is not redundant code.
In reality, each of the three packages are deducing the interface from the concrete definition.

In the same way, you can always create interfaces of existing third-party libraries. For example, if you have a SFTP reader using the sftp package (crude example):

func ReadFile (c sftp.Client) {
  f, err := c.Open("/somefile")
  defer c.Close()

If you want to mock out the Client for easier testing, what should you do? The sftp package doesn’t provide a nice interface for you to use.
The answer is, just deduce the interface from the methods you are using. In this case:

type sftpIface interface {
  Open(path string) (*File, error)
  Close() error

func ReadFile (c sftpIface) {
   f, err := c.Open("/somefile")
  defer c.Close()

Now you can inject a mock type in your test, instead of having to use the sftp library.
This kind of thinking should be applied not only to third-party packages, but to your own packages too. This will allow for much cleaner and smarter decoupling of your packages, even within one large application.