The thing with technology is that it is constantly progressing. Everyday there is a new introduction or addition of features that would make a wonderful change to what you are doing technology-wise, whether it is the development of mobile apps, websites, or in the arena of programming languages. Like, one such introduction was in the form of Golang, also known as Go, which is a programming language launched in the year 2009. Since then it has been growing constantly and today has found a place of its own among the other programming languages.
In this blog, we would be discussing everything about Go or GoLang and tell you why it is time to learn this new programming language.
To start with, did you know that this Google’s very own open-source programming language was rated as the most prominent one of the year in TIOBE index. In fact, it won’t be surprising if very soon it breaks into top ten list of most-used languages. In just the period of one year, GoLang has witnessed tremendous prominence and it is only going higher in the graph. The top reasons why firms like using GoLang is owing to the following reasons:
- They enjoy this hands-on experience of applying Go to the real products.
- A prominent firm that uses GoLang claims that their service processes more than 50 million logs in a day.
- With GoLang, it is easier to handle even more than 200GB of the incoming data each day.
Below we have discussed in depth the pros and cons of using GoLang programming language:
What makes GoLang so good?
Ever since its launch, GoLang programming language has witnessed exponential growth in its usage, mainly in the last few years. It is like every startup business is using Go for its backend system. The reasons why developers are absolutely adored by GoLang is because:
Easy to Learn: As compared to the other languages, Go’s syntax is a lot smaller and is easier to learn. Here, most of the stuff can be easily fed into the brain, which means it is that easy, and hence it doesn’t require you to spend lots of time looking up for things. The programming language is very clean too and is easily readable. Here, the non-Go programmers, mainly the ones who are used to C-style syntax, can easily read a Go program and understand what is ongoing.
It is very Fast: Yes, GoLang is very fast programming language. As GoLang is compiled to the machine code, hence it naturally outperforms the languages, which are interpreted or those have virtual runtimes. Also, Go programs compile really fast, and the binary is still small. Like, its API does the compilation in seconds and it produces executable file, i.e. 11.5MB.
Easy Concurrency Model: Despite the fact that the concurrent programming is tough, still with GoLang it is a lot easier as compared to the other languages. Here, in fact it is super easy to create a lightweight thread, known as ‘goroutine’, and then to communicate with the same via a ‘channel’.
Garbage Collection: In GoLand, the memory management is made a lot easier than they are in the C & C++. Here the dynamically allocated objects are garbage collected, and with Go it gets easier to use pointers that are much safer as here it doesn’t allow for pointer arithmetic. Here one can even utilize value types.
Static Analysis Tools: The static analysis tools in GoLang are huge in numbers and they are very robust. There is this particular one called gofmt that formats your code as per style suggested by GoLang. It can efficiency normalize many of the opinions on a project and it allows your team to focus on what is being done by the code. Here, one can gofmt, golint, and vet on the very build, and in case there are any warnings found, then the build fails.
Testing Support: It is in the GoLang’s standard library where the texting support is built. It doesn’t require extra dependency and in case you are having a file called thing.go, then we advise that you write your tests in another file named things_test.go, and run the ‘go test’. With GoLang, these tests are executed pretty fast.
Standard Library: GoLang offers nice standard library, where it offers built-in functions to work with the primitive types. It offers packages that allows to easily stand up a web server, work with the cryptography, manipulate the raw bytes and handle I/O. This standard library provides JSON serialization & deserialization, however they do not hold much importance. Using ‘tags’, it gets easier to specify JSON field names very next to the struct fields.
Interface Types: GoLang consists of interfaces and here any struct can easily satisfy an interface very simply with implementation of its methods. This makes it easier to decoup dependencies in your code. Then your dependencies can be mocked in tests. With the use of interfaces, it is easier to write testable and modular code. At the same time, GoLang also has the first-class functions that offers this possibility of writing the codes in a functional manner.
Static Typing: Well, GoLang is totally and strongly statically typed language. It consists of primitive types, such as byte, int, & strong. Then there are structs as well, and like any strongly typed language, this type system enable the compiler to easily catch entire classes of bugs. There are also built-in types in GoLang for lists & maps, which are absolutely easy-to-use.
What are things that put GoLang in bad light?
Well, GoLang is indeed a good programming language, like it has a clean syntax, faster execution times and there are so many things good about this. But there is lot more to a programming language than its syntax. Below we have mentioned things that we do not really appreciate about GoLang.
Problematic Community: The thing with GoLang community is that it can be non-receptive to the suggestions. Like, there was a situation when it was found that golint couldn’t fail a build despite there being warnings. Not just this but Go community even seem to dislike web frameworks. Though Go’s HTTP library is covering a lot, but it doesn’t offer support for the path parameters, validation and input sanitization, or to many other concerns that are often faced in a web app. In case of Python developers, they have Django, Java developers have Spring MVC, and Ruby developers have Rails. However, in case of GoLang developers, they tend to avoid the frameworks. Still there are many frameworks available out there, but it is kind of impossible to find one that won’t be abandoned once you have begun a project with it.
Implicit Interfaces: Though it is great to have interfaces, but structs implement the interfaces implicitly and not explicitly. It is considered to be the strength of GoLang, but then it was found that it is absolutely difficult to comprehend by looking at a struct if it implements an interface. The only way to know is to compile a program, and if the program is small it is fine, but if it is a medium to large size, then it is not.
No Generics: It is a big downer, in fact! There are no generics in GoLang. This is really a downside and it clearly means reduced amount of reuse in your code. Even though Go has great functions, but when one writes functions, such as ‘map’, ‘reduce’ or ‘filter’, which are operating on a collection of just one type, then these same functions can’t be reused for this collection of different type. Though there are several ways to deal with this but they ultimately involve writing more codes. This can highly affect productivity and maintainability.
Should you use GoLang or not?
There are times when you require to think of the machine, like you send & receive bytes, manages tonnes of concurrent threads, could be writing an operation system or maybe a container system or say a blockchain node. It is possible in such situation that you don’t think about generics. But, then there are times when you are required to consider squishy and carbon-based humans and require working with the business domain data consisting of employees, customers, orders and products. It needs you to write the business logic that is operating on the collections of all of these domain entities and also require you to maintain this business logic for a long time. Like you would have to manage and deal with the shifting needs and it needs to be done priorly. For situations like these, developer experience matters the most.
When it comes to GoLang, well it is a kind of programming language which values machine time more over the human times. Quite often your domain is very much a machine, or your program’s performance is crucial. In such scenarios, GoLangserves as a good choice as C or C++ alternative. However when you write a typical n-tier app, then the performance logjams would appear in database and also in the way you model your data.
So, basically, when you work with Bytes, GoLang can be a good choice, whereas when you are working with data, GoLang might be a bad choice. Hence, you need to make the final choice as per your requirements.