What is Golang Used For? Exciting Features and Advantages

Written by Nadiya Dubyna

Jul 28, 2020

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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 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.

How did it all start? In 2007, the iPhone was introduced. Although it wasn't the first smartphone on the market, it caused a mobile app revolution - from just 500 apps available on App Store as it first launched in 2008, to more than 2 million now - only there. Naturally, there was also a pressing market need for a language that could support the development of more responsive and faster apps. At Google, C++ and Java dominated server programming, and neither was easy to use. At that time, neither JavaScript nor Python had strong typing. So, all the characteristics required by the Google team were not available with most programming languages. Thus, the idea of a new language appeared.

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 Is Go?

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 typization, it means that software engineers can be more focused on creating neat and safe code.

Popularity and availability of programming tools

According to 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, who make 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. 

Popularity and availability of programming tools

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. 

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