Rapid development of microservices

0. Why building microservices are so difficult#

To build a well working microservice, we need lots of knowledges from different aspects.

  • basic functionalities

    1. concurrency control and rate limit, to avoid being brought down by unexpected inbound
    2. service discovery, make sure new or terminated nodes are detected asap
    3. load balancing, balance the traffic base on the throughput of nodes
    4. timeout control, avoid the nodes continue to process the timed out requests
    5. circuit breaker, load shedding, fail fast, protects the failure nodes to recover asap
  • advanced functionalities

    1. authorization, make sure users can only access their own data
    2. tracing, to understand the whole system and locate the specific problem quickly
    3. logging, collects data and helps to backtrace problems
    4. observability, no metrics, no optimization

For any point listed above, we need a long article to describe the theory and the implementation. But for us, the developers, it’s very difficult to understand all the concepts and make it happen in our systems. Although, we can use the frameworks that have been well served busy sites. go-zero is born for this purpose, especially for cloud-native microservice systems.

As well, we always adhere to the idea that prefer tools over conventions and documents. We hope to reduce the boilerplate code as much as possible, and let developers focus on developing the business related code. For this purpose, we developed the tool goctl.

Let’s take the shorturl microservice as a quick example to demonstrate how to quickly create microservices by using go-zero. After finishing this tutorial, you’ll find that it’s so easy to write microservices!

1. What is a shorturl service#

A shorturl service is that it converts a long url into a short one, by well designed algorithms.

Writting this shorturl service is to demonstrate the complete flow of creating a microservice by using go-zero. But algorithms and detail implementations are quite simplified, and this shorturl service is not suitable for production use.

2. Architecture of shorturl microservice#

  • In this tutorial, I only use one rpc service, transform, to demonstrate. It’s not telling that one API Gateway only can call one RPC service, it’s only for simplicity here.
  • In production, we should try best to isolate the data belongs to services, that means each service should only use its own database.

3. goctl generated code overview#

All modules with green background are generated, and will be enabled when necessary. The modules with red background are handwritten code, which is typically business logic code.

  • API Gateway

  • RPC

  • model


And now, let’s walk through the complete flow of quickly create a microservice with go-zero.

4. Get started#

  • install etcd, mysql, redis

  • install protoc-gen-go

    go get -u github.com/golang/protobuf/protoc-gen-go@v1.3.2
  • install goctl

    GO111MODULE=on go get -u github.com/zeromicro/go-zero/tools/goctl
  • create the working dir shorturl and shorturl/api

    mkdir -p shorturl/api
  • in shorturl dir, execute go mod init shorturl to initialize go.mod

    module shorturl
    go 1.15
    require (
    github.com/golang/mock v1.4.3
    github.com/golang/protobuf v1.4.2
    github.com/zeromicro/go-zero v1.3.0
    golang.org/x/net v0.0.0-20200707034311-ab3426394381
    google.golang.org/grpc v1.29.1

5. Write code for API Gateway#

  • use goctl to generate api/shorturl.api

    goctl api -o shorturl.api

    for simplicity, the leading info block is removed, and the code looks like:

    type (
    expandReq {
    shorten string `form:"shorten"`
    expandResp {
    url string `json:"url"`
    type (
    shortenReq {
    url string `form:"url"`
    shortenResp {
    shorten string `json:"shorten"`
    service shorturl-api {
    handler: ShortenHandler
    get /shorten(shortenReq) returns(shortenResp)
    handler: ExpandHandler
    get /expand(expandReq) returns(expandResp)

    the usage of type keyword is the same as that in go, service is used to define get/post/head/delete api requests, described below:

    • service shorturl-api { defines the service name
    • @server defines the properties that used in server side
    • handler defines the handler name
    • get /shorten(shortenReq) returns(shortenResp) defines this is a GET request, the request parameters, and the response parameters
  • generate the code for API Gateway by using goctl

    goctl api go -api shorturl.api -dir .

    the generated file structure looks like:

    ├── api
    │   ├── etc
    │   │   └── shorturl-api.yaml // configuration file
    │   ├── internal
    │   │   ├── config
    │   │   │   └── config.go // configuration definition
    │   │   ├── handler
    │   │   │   ├── expandhandler.go // implements expandHandler
    │   │   │   ├── routes.go // routes definition
    │   │   │   └── shortenhandler.go // implements shortenHandler
    │   │   ├── logic
    │   │   │   ├── expandlogic.go // implements ExpandLogic
    │   │   │   └── shortenlogic.go // implements ShortenLogic
    │   │   ├── svc
    │   │   │   └── servicecontext.go // defines ServiceContext
    │   │   └── types
    │   │   └── types.go // defines request/response
    │   ├── shorturl.api
    │   └── shorturl.go // main entrance
    ├── go.mod
    └── go.sum
  • start API Gateway service, listens on port 8888 by default

    go run shorturl.go -f etc/shorturl-api.yaml
  • test API Gateway service

    curl -i "http://localhost:8888/shorten?url=http://www.xiaoheiban.cn"

    response like:

    HTTP/1.1 200 OK
    Content-Type: application/json
    Date: Thu, 27 Aug 2020 14:31:39 GMT
    Content-Length: 15

    You can see that the API Gateway service did nothing except returned a zero value. And let’s implement the business logic in rpc service.

  • you can modify internal/svc/servicecontext.go to pass dependencies if needed

  • implement logic in package internal/logic

  • you can use goctl to generate code for clients base on the .api file

  • till now, the client engineer can work with the api, don’t need to wait for the implementation of server side

6. Write code for transform rpc service#

  • under directory shorturl create dir rpc
  • under directory rpc/transform create transform.proto file

    goctl rpc template -o transform.proto

    edit the file and make the code looks like:

    syntax = "proto3";
    package transform;
    option go_package = "./pb";
    message expandReq {
    string shorten = 1;
    message expandResp {
    string url = 1;
    message shortenReq {
    string url = 1;
    message shortenResp {
    string shorten = 1;
    service transformer {
    rpc expand(expandReq) returns(expandResp);
    rpc shorten(shortenReq) returns(shortenResp);
  • use goctl to generate the rpc code, execute the following command in rpc/transofrm

    $ goctl rpc protoc transform.proto --go_out=. --go-grpc_out=. --zrpc_out=.

    the generated file structure looks like:

    ├── etc
    │   └── transform.yaml // configuration file
    ├── internal
    │   ├── config
    │   │   └── config.go // configuration definition
    │   ├── logic
    │   │   ├── expandlogic.go // implements expand logic
    │   │   └── shortenlogic.go // implements shorten logic
    │   ├── server
    │   │   └── transformerserver.go // rpc handler
    │   └── svc
    │   └── servicecontext.go // defines service context, like dependencies
    ├── pb
    │   ├── transform.pb.go
    │   └── transform_grpc.pb.go
    ├── transform.go // rpc main entrance
    ├── transform.proto
    └── transformer
    ├── transformer.go // defines how rpc clients call this service
    ├── transformer_mock.go // mock file, for test purpose
    └── types.go // request/response definition

    just run it, looks like:

    $ go run transform.go -f etc/transform.yaml
    Starting rpc server at

    you can change the listening port in file etc/transform.yaml.

7. Modify API Gateway to call transform rpc service#

  • modify the configuration file shorturl-api.yaml, add the following:

    - localhost:2379
    Key: transform.rpc

    automatically discover the transform service by using etcd.

  • modify the file internal/config/config.go, add dependency on transform service:

    type Config struct {
    Transform zrpc.RpcClientConf // manual code
  • modify the file internal/svc/servicecontext.go, like below:

    type ServiceContext struct {
    Config config.Config
    Transformer transformer.Transformer // manual code
    func NewServiceContext(c config.Config) *ServiceContext {
    return &ServiceContext{
    Config: c,
    Transformer: transformer.NewTransformer(zrpc.MustNewClient(c.Transform)), // manual code

    passing the dependencies among services within ServiceContext.

  • modify the method Expand in the file internal/logic/expandlogic.go, looks like:

    func (l *ExpandLogic) Expand(req types.ExpandReq) (*types.ExpandResp, error) {
    // manual code start
    resp, err := l.svcCtx.Transformer.Expand(l.ctx, &transformer.ExpandReq{
    Shorten: req.Shorten,
    if err != nil {
    return nil, err
    return &types.ExpandResp{
    Url: resp.Url,
    }, nil
    // manual code stop

    by calling the method Expand of transformer to restore the shortened url.

  • modify the file internal/logic/shortenlogic.go, looks like:

    func (l *ShortenLogic) Shorten(req types.ShortenReq) (*types.ShortenResp, error) {
    // manual code start
    resp, err := l.svcCtx.Transformer.Shorten(l.ctx, &transformer.ShortenReq{
    Url: req.Url,
    if err != nil {
    return nil, err
    return &types.ShortenResp{
    Shorten: resp.Shorten,
    }, nil
    // manual code stop

    by calling the method Shorten of transformer to shorten the url.

Till now, we’ve done the modification of API Gateway. All the manually added code are marked.

8. Define the database schema, generate the code for CRUD+cache#

  • under shorturl, create the directory rpc/transform/model: mkdir -p rpc/transform/model

  • under the directory rpc/transform/model create the file called shorturl.sql`, contents as below:

    CREATE TABLE `shorturl`
    `shorten` varchar(255) NOT NULL COMMENT 'shorten key',
    `url` varchar(255) NOT NULL COMMENT 'original url',
    PRIMARY KEY(`shorten`)
  • create DB and table

    create database gozero;
    source shorturl.sql;
  • under the directory rpc/transform/model execute the following command to genrate CRUD+cache code, -c means using redis cache

    goctl model mysql ddl -c -src shorturl.sql -dir .

    you can also generate the code from the database url by using datasource subcommand instead of ddl

    the generated file structure looks like:

    ├── shorturl.sql
    ├── shorturlmodel.go // CRUD+cache code
    └── vars.go // const and var definition

9. Modify shorten/expand rpc to call crud+cache#

  • modify rpc/transform/etc/transform.yaml, add the following:

    DataSource: root:@tcp(localhost:3306)/gozero
    Table: shorturl
    - Host: localhost:6379

    you can use multiple redis as cache. redis node and cluster are both supported.

  • modify rpc/transform/internal/config.go, like below:

    type Config struct {
    DataSource string // manual code
    Table string // manual code
    Cache cache.CacheConf // manual code

    added the configuration for mysql and redis cache.

  • modify rpc/transform/internal/svc/servicecontext.go, like below:

    type ServiceContext struct {
    c config.Config
    Model model.ShorturlModel // manual code
    func NewServiceContext(c config.Config) *ServiceContext {
    return &ServiceContext{
    c: c,
    Model: model.NewShorturlModel(sqlx.NewMysql(c.DataSource), c.Cache), // manual code
  • modify rpc/transform/internal/logic/expandlogic.go, like below:

    func (l *ExpandLogic) Expand(in *transform.ExpandReq) (*transform.ExpandResp, error) {
    // manual code start
    res, err := l.svcCtx.Model.FindOne(l.ctx, in.Shorten)
    if err != nil {
    return nil, err
    return &transform.ExpandResp{
    Url: res.Url,
    }, nil
    // manual code stop
  • modify rpc/shorten/internal/logic/shortenlogic.go, looks like:

    func (l *ShortenLogic) Shorten(in *transform.ShortenReq) (*transform.ShortenResp, error) {
    // manual code start, generates shorturl
    key := hash.Md5Hex([]byte(in.Url))[:6]
    object, _ := l.svcCtx.Model.FindOne(l.ctx, key)
    if object != nil {
    return &transform.ShortenResp{
    Shorten: key,
    }, nil
    _, err := l.svcCtx.Model.Insert(l.ctx, &model.Shorturl{
    Shorten: key,
    Url: in.Url,
    if err != nil {
    return nil, err
    return &transform.ShortenResp{
    Shorten: key,
    }, nil
    // manual code stop

    till now, we finished modifing the code, all the modified code is marked.

10. Call shorten and expand services#

  • call shorten api

    curl -i "http://localhost:8888/shorten?url=http://www.xiaoheiban.cn"

    response like:

    HTTP/1.1 200 OK
    Content-Type: application/json
    Date: Sat, 29 Aug 2020 10:49:49 GMT
    Content-Length: 21
  • call expand api

    curl -i "http://localhost:8888/expand?shorten=f35b2a"

    response like:

    HTTP/1.1 200 OK
    Content-Type: application/json
    Date: Sat, 29 Aug 2020 10:51:53 GMT
    Content-Length: 34

11. Benchmark#

Because benchmarking the write requests depends on the write throughput of mysql, we only benchmarked the expand api. We read the data from mysql and cache it in redis. I chose 100 hot keys hardcoded in shorten.lua to generate the benchmark.


as shown above, in my MacBook Pro, the QPS is like 30K+.

12. Full code#


13. Conclusion#

We always adhere to prefer tools over conventions and documents.

go-zero is not only a framework, but also a tool to simplify and standardize the building of micoservice systems.

We not only keep the framework simple, but also encapsulate the complexity into the framework. And the developers are free from building the difficult and boilerplate code. Then we get the rapid development and less failure.

For the generated code by goctl, lots of microservice components are included, like concurrency control, adaptive circuit breaker, adaptive load shedding, auto cache control etc. And it’s easy to deal with the busy sites.

If you have any ideas that can help us to improve the productivity, tell me any time! 👏

Last updated on