Google created the Go language as an alternative to C++ and quickly carved its niche. This tool is one of the most popular programming languages, so many beginners should pay attention to it.
The Go language is easy to learn and use; it has many libraries and a simple syntax. It is used in popular areas: web development, creating server applications, and even AI training. But the language also has its drawbacks.
The essence of the Go language
Go (or Golang) is a compiled multi-threaded programming language that is open source. It is often used in web services and client-server applications. By the end of 2021, Go entered the list of the most popular languages. It even outperformed PHP, C#, and TypeScript.
The developers set themselves the goal of combining the ease of programming in Python and the speed of executing applications in C and C ++. Because of this, Go became compilable. The language ecosystem has its interpreter. However, it is not used since the code compiles quite quickly.
The Go language can create any product, console programs, or complex multi-threaded applications. However, its main scope is the development of server applications. The language has libraries for creating graphical interfaces. However, it isn’t easy to develop them.
Go is different because the programmer can fully focus on the application’s architecture when using it. It doesn’t have to deal with documentation or keeping track of obsolete syntactic constructs. Goland is easy to use. Monotonous work can be done with built-in tools. This greatly relieves the developer.
- Automatic memory management and garbage collector. Goland can be compared with languages such as C and C++ in terms of speed. However, writing on it is easier. Unlike these languages, the compiler handles memory management in Go, not the developer.
- Syntactic Sugar. We are talking about syntactic relaxations, thanks to which the code is created faster. For example, from a formal point of view, you need to put a semicolon at the end of some operations (if, for). However, the compiler can do this for the programmer.
- Automatic formatting of programs. The language knows how to indent and align elements in columns. The gofmt command is used for this. In this case, it is necessary to use only tabulation to break lines. This command will not understand spaces at the beginning of a line.
- Automatic generation of documentation. With the godoc command, you can find any comments. This allows you to create manuals for programs very quickly.
- Tracking obsolete designs. The gofix tool scans code and flags syntactical constructs that are outdated by today’s standards.
- Testing Tools. The Go programming language has a range of testing tools. For example, typecheck helps to check the conformity of types in the code, golint generates recommendations based on the official documentation (Effective Go and Code Review Comments), gosimple makes complex syntactic constructions simpler, and gas reveals weaknesses in the code.
- Race Condition Tracking. To interact with multi-threaded systems, following the correct sequence of actions is necessary when executing functions. Otherwise, you can mix up the data, leading to a race condition. This error can occur randomly and is extremely difficult to find. In Go, the risk of such problems is minimized. At the same time, the language has an additional tool that allows you to check the code for a race condition. To do this, enable the detector by adding the –race flag during compiling, building, testing, or installing the package.
- Profiling. Goland contains the pprof package and the go tool pprof console utility. Using the pprof profiler, you can find out which pieces of code are running too slowly, where the program uses a lot of memory, or overloads the processor. The analysis results are entered into a text report, a profile. If you want to visualize a profile and create a schema, you must install the utility.
- Low-Level Programming. Goland can work with memory on its own with the help of a package.
Pros and cons of the Go language
- Simple Syntax. This language lacks inheritance, classes, objects, and complex functions. Thanks to this, a developer can easily write a program and understand someone else’s code. The specialist does not need to know any standards.
- Low entry threshold. If you lack development experience, you can start with Go. The basic guide to the language is only 50 pages long. At the same time, it is designed so that you make as few mistakes as possible when writing code.
- A large number of built-in tools for programmers. Go has testing tools, a documentation utility, plugins for finding bugs in your code, and more. This makes it easier to work with the code.
- A large number of libraries. A ready-made standard library has been developed within the language for almost every task. There are also third-party options, which are increasing every year. Plus, you can connect C and C++ libraries to code written in Go. There are a huge number of such libraries on the Internet.
- High performance. You can rewrite code from another language to Goland to increase performance several times. At the same time, such results can be achieved without special optimization.
- Reliability. An application written in Goland consumes only a little memory and computing power. This allows programs to function more stably.
- Developed community. Go is an open-source programming language. This allows developers to create useful tools and share experiences with other community members.
- Little functionality. With Goland, you can create network and server applications. But it is not suitable for developing graphical interfaces. So you must use other tools and languages to write a custom application. The same applies to some other tasks.
- Simplicity. Understandably, this quality is an advantage and a disadvantage of the language. The fact is that, due to the simplicity of Go, it will not be possible to use it to perform some tasks. For example, you cannot develop a large project since the language does not have objects for collaborating with distributed code.
- Low popularity. Employers are much less likely to require knowledge of Go than Java, Python, or C++. The language is becoming increasingly popular but still needs to be called popular.
- Low entry threshold. This quality can also be considered a disadvantage. The ease of learning this language leads to the fact that many programmers master it very simplified way. At the same time, they confidently declare that they are “Go-developers.” Ultimately, the language gets not have the best reputation.
Where Go is Used
Having dealt with the advantages and disadvantages of Go, it is necessary to understand where it is most often used.
Programming languages are used in almost all areas of application development (for example, C# and Java). Therefore, it is almost impossible to compete with them. However, Goland originally claimed to be something other than a general-purpose language. It has its purpose and range of tasks.
But there is one important nuance. The fact is that the developers are striving to expand the scope of Goland. The first versions of the Go language were focused only on building Google applications. But after some time, the project received an open-source code, which is why this tool became more functional. Go one is considered a general-purpose language.
Every year there are more and more Go-developers. They create new tools, packages, frameworks, drivers, APIs, code generators, etc. The scope of Go is rapidly expanding. This language will likely become one of the main ones after some time.
Here are the tasks that Go can handle:
- cloud development of web services, especially microservices through Go kit, Micro, Gizmo, Kite, Goa, and Caddy;
- REST API development with Gin, Martini, Revel, Gorilla, and Beego;
- RPC API development via RPC, Twirp, Spiral, and Gorilla;
- development of GraphQL API graphql-go, gqlgen, thunder;
- development of serverless functions using frameworks for serverless applications, Google Cloud Functions, Sparta, Gordon;
- development of a web interface (WebAssembly) using Hugo, Vugu, TinyGo, and Vecty;
- robotics, IoT, and embedded systems development with Gobot, Mainflux, TinyGo, and EMBD;
- development of CLI applications using Cobra, cli;
- Machine learning and artificial intelligence development with GoLearn, Gorgonia.
There are several more non-obvious applications of Goland:
- development of mobile applications using gomobile;
- desktop application development through Lorca, Wails, and Fyne;
- game development with Ebiten, Pixel, and G3N;
- development of chatbots for Discord, Telegram, Slack, and more;
- development of blockchain and smart contracts.
Thus, Go is more suitable for cloud, web, and systems programming. However, creative developers come up with new language application areas.
Perspectives on the Go Language
The number of Go developers is constantly increasing. This language is the main one for 1.1 million programmers worldwide. About 35,000 professionals using Go live in the Russian Federation.
The number of vacancies is also increasing every year.
Various agencies and outsourced development companies use Golabd. In addition, this language is actively used in business. Go is also in demand in large IT companies that want to rewrite their code.
We list the most famous organizations in which Goland is used:
- Foreign: SAP, IBM, Google, Walmart, Dell, Intel, HP, RedHat, Microsoft, Adobe, BBC, Uber, Dropbox, Netflix, Twitter
- Russian: Yandex, VKontakte, Mail.ru Group, Avito, Ozon, Lamoda, Rostelecom, Citymobil, Delivery Club