Go Variadic Functions

Variadic Functions are functions that accept an unlimited number of arguments. Typically, they are expressed in the form

func hello(friends ...string) {
    // ...

Very easy to recognize from the 3 dots ....

We can call hello() like this:

hello("tony", "mark", "mary", "joe")



or with an infinite number of strings.

An example from the standard library: append()

append is a variadic function, defined as

func append(slice []Type, elems ...Type) []Type

A common usage is when removing an item at position i from an array a.

a = append(a[:i], a[i+1:]...)

This line creates a new slice by removing the item at position i in a, by combining the items from 0 to i (not included), and from i+1 to the end.

What is the purpose of ...?

append accepts a slice as first argument, and an unlimited number of arguments, all with a type assignable to the type of its elements.


a = append(a[:i], a[i+1:]...)

is equivalent as writing

a = append(a[:i], a[i+1], a[i+2], a[i+3], a[i+4]) //and so on, until the end of the slice.

Using a[i+1:]... is basically a shorthand syntax, as the Go spec describes in https://golang.org/ref/spec#Passing_arguments_to_..._parameters:

If f is variadic with a final parameter p of type …T, then within f the type of p is equivalent to type []T. If f is invoked with no actual arguments for p, the value passed to p is nil. Otherwise, the value passed is a new slice of type []T with a new underlying array whose successive elements are the actual arguments, which all must be assignable to T