I’ve had this idea for a fun weekend project for a while: generate the WP-CLI manual concurrently, instead of one page at a time.

All I needed was the right programming language 1. Since I’ve heard good things about Go, I decided to give it a try. I took the Go Tour and then just started hacking.

A WP-CLI manual page is generated by:

  • collecting data from inline PHP docComents
  • reading a markdown file with additional documentation
  • running everything through ronn to generate the final ROFF output

At first, I tried to do all these steps in Go, but soon discovered that it would duplicate too much code. Eventually, I settled on just letting WP-CLI generate each page, using the existing logic.

So, I ended up with less than 100 lines of Go code:

I’ve tried on several occasions to use threads in various programming languages, but never felt I really mastered them. By contrast, I was able to grok goroutines and channels in a weekend; they just made sense.

In general, the Go documentation is the best I’ve seen so far. For instance, when you look up a function from the standard library, besides a helpful example, there’s also a link to its source code.

I also like go fmt, which takes care of formatting your code; no more worrying about spaces vs. tabs etc.

Even if it yielded a modest 23% speedup (from 17 seconds down to 13 seconds to compile all the pages), it was a worthwhile experiment.

  1. PHP doesn’t have any support for concurrency.