Less Internal


There’s a stance in Open Source that can be summarized as “No is temporary, Yes is forever.” The intent of this statement is to convey that feature requests or changes may be vetoed due to the current understanding of support and complexity, but that no is a temporary decision. Once the change is made, the interface is published, and the release is made, it is almost impossible to retract the features that were released.

In Go, there is a language enforced way to make an interface internal, simply include the word internal in the path! This makes it so that no packages outside of the one hat defines the code can import the internal components. This is a major boon for making unstable interfaces stay restricted away from external consumers and the need to support them. Unfortunately, its a very much binary distinction and there’s no escape hatch, so there’s no way for packages that are part of the same project, but originating with a different package path to import the restricted contents.

Within NetAuth, many components are part of internal/ paths, but the most annoying one to deal with as a consumer is the token package which handles NetAuth’s internal authentication tokens. Having this package restricted is part of why no web interface exists for NetAuth at the time of this release. With the package internal, its almost impossible to write a good interface which hides and shows buttons appropriately.

With the next release, the token package has moved to the pkg/ path, making it available to other consumers. Similarly, the cache components that were previously part of the top level pkg/netauth package have moved to pkg/token/cache to more accurately reflect their function and relation to the token system. This change should be completely transparent to end users, but will make new integrations easier to build, easier to maintain, and easier to debug.

>> Home