Today I Learned Go - Part 6

Go iota

Go has an interesting feature called iota. When declaring a list of constants, this keyword represents successive untyped integer constants.

const (
    foo = iota  // foo == 0
    bar = iota  // bar == 1
    baz = iota  // baz == 2
)

Anytime const is invoked, the counter resets.

const foo = iota  // foo == 0
const bar = iota  // bar == 0

This is a cool way to quickly define a list of integer constants, such as 'true' and 'false', for later use.

Not So Random

Go's rand package makes it easy to generate all sorts of pseudo-random numbers. So if you write a program like so:

package main

import "fmt"
import "math/rand"

func main() {
    stuff := []string{
        "one",
        "two",
        "three",
        "four",
    }
    fmt.Println(stuff[rand.Intn(len(stuff))])
}

and then run it, you will get output like:

three

and any subsequent runs of the program will continue to produce three. This is because the default seed for global functions in math/rand is specified as 1.

If you want your program to be a little less predictable, you will want to seed it yourself, perhaps with the current time, instead of 1. Try adding the following to the beginning of the main function:

rand.Seed(time.Now().UTC().UnixNano())

You'll also want to import the time package. Things should appear to be a bit more random now.