Developing Golang functions

Golang function template structure

When you create a Golang function using the kn func CLI, the project directory looks like a typical Go project, with the exception of an additional func.yaml configuration file. Both http and event trigger functions have the same template structure:

Template structure
├── func.yaml (1)
├── go.mod
├── go.sum
├── handle.go
└── handle_test.go
1 The func.yaml configuration file is used to determine the image name and registry.

Golang functions have very few restrictions. The only requirement is that your project must be defined in a function module and exports the function Handle().


You can add any required dependencies to the go.mod file, which can include additional local Golang files. When the project is built for deployment, these dependencies will be included in the resulting runtime container image.

Example of adding dependencies
go get

Invoking a function

When using the kn func CLI to create a function project you can generate a project that responds to CloudEvents, or one that responds to simple HTTP requests. CloudEvents in Knative are transported over HTTP as a POST request, so both function types will listen and respond to incoming HTTP events.

Function triggered by HTTP request

When an incoming HTTP request is received, your function will be invoked with a standard Golang Context as the first parameter, followed by two more parameters:

You can use standard Golang techniques to access the request, and set a proper HTTP response of your function.

Example HTTP response
func Handle(ctx context.Context, res http.ResponseWriter, req *http.Request) {
  // Read body
  body, err := ioutil.ReadAll(req.Body)
  defer req.Body.Close()
  if err != nil {
	http.Error(res, err.Error(), 500)
  // Process body and function logic
  // ...

Function triggered by CloudEvent

When an incoming CloudEvent is received, the event is invoked by the CloudEvents Golang SDK and the Event type as a parameter.

You can leverage the Golang Context as an optional parameter in the function contract, as shown in the list of supported function signatures:

Supported function signatures
Handle() error
Handle(context.Context) error
Handle(cloudevents.Event) error
Handle(context.Context, cloudevents.Event)
Handle(context.Context, cloudevents.Event) error
Handle(cloudevents.Event) *cloudevents.Event
Handle(cloudevents.Event) (*cloudevents.Event, error)
Handle(context.Context, cloudevents.Event) *cloudevents.Event
Handle(context.Context, cloudevents.Event) (*cloudevents.Event, error)
CloudEvent example
  1. A CloudEvent is received which contains a JSON string in its data property:

      "customerId": "0123456",
      "productId": "6543210"
  2. To access this data, you must define a structure which maps properties in the CloudEvent data, and retrieves the data from the incoming event. This example uses the Purchase structure:

    type Purchase struct {
      CustomerId string `json:"customerId"`
      ProductId  string `json:"productId"`
    func Handle(ctx context.Context, event cloudevents.Event) err error {
      purchase := &Purchase{}
      if err = cloudevents.DataAs(purchase); err != nil {
    	fmt.Fprintf(os.Stderr, "failed to parse incoming CloudEvent %s\n", err)
      // ...
  3. Optional: Alternatively, you can use the Golang encoding/json package to access the CloudEvent directly as JSON in the form of a bytes array:

    func Handle(ctx context.Context, event cloudevents.Event) {
      bytes, err := json.Marshal(event)
      // ...

Return values

HTTP triggered functions can set the response directly by using the Golang http.ResponseWriter.

Example HTTP response
func Handle(ctx context.Context, res http.ResponseWriter, req *http.Request) {
  // Set response
  res.Header().Add("Content-Type", "text/plain")
  res.Header().Add("Content-Length", "3")
  _, err := fmt.Fprintf(res, "OK\n")
  if err != nil {
	fmt.Fprintf(os.Stderr, "error or response write: %v", err)

Functions triggered by a CloudEvent may return nothing, error, or CloudEvent in order to push events into the Knative eventing system. In this case, you must set a unique ID, proper Source and a Type for the CloudEvent. The data can be populated from a defined structure, or from a map.

Example CloudEvent response
func Handle(ctx context.Context, event cloudevents.Event) (resp *cloudevents.Event, err error) {
  // ...
  response := cloudevents.NewEvent()
  // Set the data from Purchase type
  response.SetData(cloudevents.ApplicationJSON, Purchase{
	CustomerId: custId,
	ProductId:  prodId,
  // OR set the data directly from map
  response.SetData(cloudevents.ApplicationJSON, map[string]string{"customerId": custId, "productId": prodId})
  // Validate the response
  resp = &response
  if err = resp.Validate(); err != nil {
	fmt.Printf("invalid event created. %v", err)

Testing a Golang function locally

Golang functions can be tested locally on your computer. In the default project that is created when you create a function using kn func create, there is a handle_test.go file which contains some basic tests. These tests can be extended as needed.

  • Run the test:

    $ go test