How do you clear a slice in Go?

What is the appropriate way to clear a slice in Go?

Here’s what I’ve found in the go forums:

// test.go
package main

import (
    "fmt"
)

func main() {
    letters := []string{"a", "b", "c", "d"}
    fmt.Println(cap(letters))
    fmt.Println(len(letters))
    // clear the slice
    letters = letters[:0]
    fmt.Println(cap(letters))
    fmt.Println(len(letters))
}

Is this correct?

To clarify, the buffer is cleared so it can be reused.

An example is Buffer.Truncate function in the bytes package.

Notice that Reset just calls Truncate(0). So it appears that in this case line 70 would evaluate: b.buf = b.buf[0 : 0]

http://golang.org/src/pkg/bytes/buffer.go

// Truncate discards all but the first n unread bytes from the buffer.
60  // It panics if n is negative or greater than the length of the buffer.
61  func (b *Buffer) Truncate(n int) {
62      b.lastRead = opInvalid
63      switch {
64      case n < 0 || n > b.Len():
65          panic("bytes.Buffer: truncation out of range")
66      case n == 0:
67          // Reuse buffer space.
68          b.off = 0
69      }
70      b.buf = b.buf[0 : b.off+n]
71  }
72  
73  // Reset resets the buffer so it has no content.
74  // b.Reset() is the same as b.Truncate(0).
75  func (b *Buffer) Reset() { b.Truncate(0) }

It all depends on what is your definition of 'clear'. One of the valid ones certainly is:

slice = slice[:0]

But there's a catch. If slice elements are of type T:

var slice []T

then enforcing len(slice) to be zero, by the above "trick", doesn't make any element of

slice[:cap(slice)]

eligible for garbage collection. This might be the optimal approach in some scenarios. But it might also be a cause of "memory leaks" - memory not used, but potentially reachable (after re-slicing of 'slice') and thus not garbage "collectable".