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How to iterate over multiline strings in Go

In this article, we will discuss the best approach to iterating over each line of a newline delimited string (such as the contents of text files) in Go

If you need to iterate over each line of a string in Go (such as each line of a file), you can use the bufio.Scanner type which provides a convenient interface for reading data such as lines of text from any source. The way to create a Scanner from a multiline string is by using the bufio.NewScanner() method which takes in any type that implements the io.Reader interface as its only argument.

If you want to read a file line by line, you can call os.Open() on the file name and pass the resulting os.File to NewScanner() since it implements io.Reader. You can also cause an ordinary string to implement the io.Reader interface by calling the strings.NewReader() method on it.

Once you have a Scanner, you can call the Scan() method to advance to the next line which can be accessed through the Text() method. Scan() returns a boolean each time it is called. It will return false if there are no more lines.

Here’s an example that reads an HTML file line by line in Go. Here’s the file in question:

index.html
<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
  <head>
    <meta charset="UTF-8" />
    <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0" />
    <meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="ie=edge" />
    <title>Document</title>
  </head>
  <body>
    <script></script>
  </body>
</html>

And here’s the code to iterate over each line in the file:

main.go
package main

import (
	"bufio"
	"fmt"
	"log"
	"os"
)

func main() {
	file, err := os.Open("index.html")
	if err != nil {
		log.Fatal(err)
	}

	scanner := bufio.NewScanner(file)

	counter := 1
	for scanner.Scan() {
		line := scanner.Text()
		fmt.Printf("Line %02d -> %s\n", counter, line)
		counter++
	}

	if scanner.Err() != nil {
		log.Println(scanner.Err())
	}
}
Output
Line 01 -> <!DOCTYPE html>
Line 02 -> <html lang="en">
Line 03 ->   <head>
Line 04 ->     <meta charset="UTF-8" />
Line 05 ->     <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0" />
Line 06 ->     <meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="ie=edge" />
Line 07 ->     <title>Document</title>
Line 08 ->   </head>
Line 09 ->   <body>
Line 10 ->     <script></script>
Line 11 ->   </body>
Line 12 -> </html>

The for loop above will continue until the Scan() method returns false. Each time Scan() is invoked, the next line is accessed using scanner.Text() and printed to the standard output. Errors must be handled by checking if scanner.Err() is not equal to nil. It returns the first non-EOF error that was encountered by the Scanner.

Thanks for reading, and happy coding!