What Is Go?
This procedural (systematic and well-structured) coding language was designed by Google’s lead developers – Rob Pike, Ken Thompson, and Robert Griesemer. They brainstormed it in 2007 but published it two years later after refinement. Google has thousands of programmers who deal with large server software hosted on countless clusters. The purpose of creating Golang was to eliminate the unnecessary complexity of the software development process and address scalability issues.
In his presentation at the Gopherpalooza Conference 2019 (one of the 27 devoted to Go held that year), Robert Griesemer mentioned the main strengths of his child – simplicity, strong typing, concurrency, garbage collection, fast compilation times, and ease of use. Let’s have a closer look at Golang’s advantages compared to other languages, the value it can create for a project, and the type of projects it is best suited for.
What Are the Main Advantages of Using Golang?
Performance and scalability
There is an upward tendency for a higher number of processor cores to enhance performance, for instance, in data centers. As applications grow, they need to process multiple sub-tasks. To maintain database connections, message queues, and caches, they require numerous microservices. Thanks to many built-in features, Golang has concurrency, which means that the app will perform multiple tasks simultaneously on one CPU. It’s what makes it well-suited for big scalable applications. Creating micro-threading apps might also be a solution, but with many programming languages, it is hard and not memory efficient. Golang has an equivalent of threads – goroutines, which are lightweight, take only 2KB of memory – and millions can be spun simultaneously. Goroutines have several other merits compared to threads. All in all, Go is a powerful tool in terms of concurrency, while the concurrency execution code is simple and beautiful.
Stable and straightforward syntax, code readability
As we already mentioned, simplicity was among the reasons to create Golang. Go is based on C syntax but taken to a new level for safer memory management and prevention of memory leakage. Apparently, code complexity is often an obstacle to the smooth work of a big team. As mentioned above, it is a procedural language, so there are strict programming rules and established ways to perform a task. Another factor – the independence of code segments is important for its overall maintainability and the possibility of modifications. Packages instead of classes, no type inheritance, etc., in Golang syntax, helps to achieve great clarity of the code.
Understanding the code is critical for the project’s success: you always need to know what it does precisely and estimate the time and memory it will use. Transparent syntax meets this goal.
Speed and fewer bugs
Being a compiled language, Go is faster than Python and Java, which influences the reliability and speed of services. It is converted into machine-level code and directly read by the processor.
The compiler also has such advantages as error checking, code optimization, and facilitation of deployment. Cross-compiling is another excellent feature, which makes Golang apps compatible with many OS and platforms.
Golang is statistically typed and has a strict stylization, which means that software engineers can be more focused on creating neat and safe code.
Popularity and availability of programming tools
According to the 2020 State of Software Engineers Report by Hired – a recruiting marketplace, Go is the #1 most demanded programming language globally, based on the number of interview requests per candidate on this website. As of 2019, a decade after its introduction, 1.6 million developers (a.k.a. gophers) were estimated to be using it worldwide. 1200 companies have adopted it, among them IBM, Twitter, Apple, Dropbox, and YouTube. Also, it is an open-source language with over 2,000 contributors worldwide, which makes it cleaner and more efficient. Apart from other interesting insights, the Go Developers Survey 2019 from the Go Blog with more than 10,000 respondents, indicates the overall high level of satisfaction with the language. It is also easy to learn, especially for those software engineers who have a background in C or Java. Predictably, with further improvements, its popularity will only increase, so you can tap into a vast pool of talents.
One more reason to opt for Golang is the easy availability of development tools, such as plugins, editors, and IDEs, which can be freely downloaded from the GitHub repository.
Summary: When Golang might be good for your project?
Golang allows for creating a lightweight and highly scalable apps. It makes the language perfect for resource-intense projects, where servers need to deal with a large number of requests, for instance, e-commerce websites with millions of users. If you plan considerable growth for your online business and want to maintain a great speed of server responses, Go is a wise choice.
Despite such disadvantages as no generics, which allow creating reusable code and might save time, and lower flexibility compared to dynamically typed languages, Golang is clean and efficient. It combines the best features of many modern languages. You can create transparent and lean software that runs smoothly on different networked devices, e.g., IoT, and multicore machines, and provide a great experience to a continually growing number of users.