Is Golang the future? Reasons why Golang is better than others? Golang- A hype or future? Is Golang better than Python?
These are the few titles you will get while searching the importance of Golang or the future of Golang on Google’s initial pages. Is Golang really great? Is it really the future? Do I really need to learn the Go programming language? And most importantly, is learning Golang worth my time?
In this article, we will try to answer all these questions, but before, let’s understand what is Golang?
An Overview of Golang
Go programming language was released by Google in around 2007. It was designed by Robert Griesemer, Ken Thompson & Rob Pike, and was open-sourced in 2009.
With the clear vision of designing a language that is easy to use, simple to learn but still good for tackling major challenges of programming, Golang was created. Today, Golang is viewed as an answer to some of the most common problems in software development at Google. It is based on C++, Python & Java, and is inherited mostly from the Oberon language.
Since it was created by Google, it is simple to understand the reason behind its popularity. Google is really good at envisioning products that is user-friendly & promises efficiency. And you can experience these in Golang as well.
Apart from these, Golang is secure, fast, supports cross-platform, open-source, & has regular updates. You also gets tons of guides & documents for free regarding Golang. Go is also a part of Dropbox, AWS, Google Cloud & Microsoft Azure.
Golang has truly eliminated the clumsiness & slowness faced during software development making the whole process scalable & productive. A lot of organizations has also appreciated this language since programs written in Golang is good for navigation regardless of numerous lines of code. It is really very easy to manage & comes with numerous tools for development.
All these things have notably helped Golang to garner popularity among both large corporations looking to scale or improve their projects, and new software developers who are ready to start building their programs quickly. Isn’t it amazing?
A Brief History of Golang?
As discussed earlier, Golang was developed by Robert Griesemer, Ken Thompson & Rob Pike. All of them are talented engineers and have also worked on other renowned projects. For instance, Robert Griesemer has worked on distribution systems in Google, Java Hotspot, Sawzall, while Ken Thompson is a no new name. He is known for developing the UNIX operating system & is also the co-author of UTF-8 encoding. Lastly, Rob Pike has participated in the development of 2 operating systems i.e. Inferno & Plan9, and the development of UTF-8.
It was the year 2009 when the initial version of Golang was made available to the public. And in 2012, the Golang version 1.0 was released. Since a majority of the languages created in the 90’s were based on single-core systems, the number of physical cores were increased in languages created in the early 2000’s. This was also true for Golang.
In 2013, the Golang 1.1 was released & was mainly dedicated to improve the performance & some features like garbage collector, go scheduler, compiler & map. It also included a race detector which later becomes one of the most popular features of Golang. In December 2013, Go 1.2 was released with the support of “Go tool cover” and “Code coverage”.
6 months later, yet another version was released with an important improvement in the stack management for improving the efficiency & allocating contiguous segments of memory.
With the version Go 1.4, the official support for Android was released that allow developers to write Android apps using just the Go programming. It was made available in December 2014. Its garbage collector was completely re-engineered in Go 1.5, and it also included the execution trace.
Go 1.6 released in Feb 2016 included the support for HTTP/2 & the release of Go 1.7 included a context package allowing users to deal with task cancellation & timeout. Both of these versions were released in 2016.
2017, saw the release of 2 other versions of Go i.e. 1.8 & 1.9. It came with the improvements in the garbage collector & the introduction of aliases, respectively. Go 1.10 arrived in Feb 2018 with a new smart cache. With this, a developer don’t have to run the tests in case of no changes. Later in 2018, Go 1.11 was also released with another important features i.e. Go modules. According to all the surveys done by Google till then, the absence of the Go module was one of the biggest challenges faced by Google developers.
In 2019, Google again released 2 versions of Golang. Both of these versions were more focused to bring flexibility & allowed to developers to write their own code. In 2020, Google released Go 1.14 & Go 1.15.
It included substantial improvements in allocation for small objects & linker.
The Purpose of Golang?
Created with the aim to provide efficiency, Go was designed to handle a huge number of competitive but independent requests that any program receives simultaneously. €secondly, it was also created to enhance the effectiveness & efficiency of a programmer with its simple syntax. It significantly helps in writing codes quickly & easily.
It created a standard code format so that programs can be checked anytime. It also has a built-in IDE tool that allows automated formatting. On top of this, you don’t have to main for long until it’s assembled to check whether your program works or not, because, it also offers easy & quick compilation as well.
In Go, all code lies in one place, hence it is convenient for anyone to work with dependencies while working with Go.
So, now the big question is, “learning Go worth your time?”
Below, we will discuss why you should learn Golang or what makes it worth learning despite the presence of so many programming languages!
Why You Should Learn Golang?
There are literally various factors on which Go developers can argues why one should learn Go programming. But here, I will list down some of my top reasons that make Golang unique, or at least, gives it an edge over others.
1. Backed by Google
It might not be the only reason why anyone should learn Go. But whether you accept it or not, Google backing definitely gives Go an edge. As of now, Google is one of the leading players in cloud infrastructure & it is scaled too. Google created Go to solve their problems of effectiveness & scalability.
Apart from this, already Go has been used by some big names like Adobe, IBM, Intel & others. More on this on the later section of the article!
2. Everyone loves Golang
Okay, not everyone, but a lot of developers love to write in Golang. As per the 2019 survey by Stack Overflow, Go was one of the language in the top 5 most wanted programming languages by the developers.
Apart from this, Go developers also receives high salary. As per 1 survey, Go developers receives 2nd highest salary all across the globe. Not only this, but Go has also made to the list of top 10 most loved languages in the world (by Stack Overflow 2019 survey). It was placed at 9th position, just over the C# programming language.
3. Go language is easy to use, maintain & handle
Golang has a neat & clean syntax, and because its syntax is somewhat similar to syntax, it is very easy to understand & learn. And if you are Java or C-style programmer, then nothing better could happen for you. Also, it is very different from other languages as well. On comparison, it is as efficient as C or C++ & writing code is as easy as Python or Ruby.
When compared to other languages, its syntax is smaller& includes minimalistic features required for completing any given task. At the core, it includes some of the few orthogonal, simple features that can be used in combination in various ways.
Apart from these, it also has huge & extensive documentation that can help you to learn any concepts from the ground up. To make it more simple for a programmer, it lacks some complicated features such as:
- Classes- in Golang, everything is divided into packages & has structs instead of classes.
- Inheritance- Lack of inheritance makes it easy for anyone to modify the code.
- No annotations
- Lacks constructors
- No generics & exceptions
All these things together makes Golang a simple and an easy language to learn, read, write, maintain & handle.
4. It is a powerful language
Executing programs at the same time is one of the biggest challenge that every modern applications faces during the current time. Golang has been successful in solving this issue.
This language has adopted to the CSP or communicating sequential processes model. It is also known as the Actor model, and is successfully used by Erlang. Go combines the goroutines that are light-weight green threads with communication pipelines, also called channels to form a powerful yet simple concurrency model.
With this, an application can run 100’s or even 1000’s of actors. It can be done without any burden of trying to keep shared memory free from corruption.
The concept of Goroutine
Being a developer, you should always have knowledge of hardware, software, programming, coding, scripting & threading.
In order to understand goroutines, you should know all these things. We all know that the working speed is always affected by hardware limitations, and to overcome this issue, Go has goroutines. Instead of threads, goroutines were developed during the time when multi-core processors were easily available.
Some of its features include:
- Faster startup time when compared to threads.
- It has growable segmented stacks that use excess memory only when it is required.
- It helps to avoid facing mutex locking while sharing the data structures.
- It has built-in primitives for communicating securely between channels.
- OS threads & goroutine don’t have 1:1 mapping. Any gprputine can run on multiple threads.
5. Runs directly on the underlying hardware
The main reason why programmers consider C or C++ over modern languages like Python or Java is the performance. C/C++ has great performance because it is compiled & not interpreted.
Everyone knows that processors understand binaries. While building an app using Java or any other Java-based language, compilation results in compiling the human-readable code into the byte-code that is understood by JVM or any other virtual machines running on top of the operating system. Upon execution, these JVM or VMs interpret & convert the bytecodes into binaries so that a processor can understand it.
Contrary to this, upon compiling in C/C++, execution doesn’t takes place in VMs and this removes one step from execution cycle ultimately, increasing the performance. In C/C++ or any other similar languages, the code is directly compiled from human-readable form to binaries.
However, allocating & freeing in such languages is a big issue. Since most of the languages handle freeing and object allocation using Reference Counting Algorithms or using Garbage Collector.
Coming back to Golang, you get the best of both the world! Just like C or C++ or any other low-level programming language, Go is a compiled language bringing the performance almost equivalent to the lower-level languages. On the other hand, it also includes removal of object & garbage collection to allocation.
6. Golang tools & batteries
In order to create modern & mesmerizing applications, you require more than just a great language. You require a variety of tools, testing for corrections, linters to ensure right coding standards, and documentation generators for communicating how an app works. Go consists of all these things. You get an instant access to all of these things upon installing Go dev tools.
Moreover, since it is an open-source language, you will also get additional development tools for almost anything. For instance, you can get tools for refactoring your code, documentation look-up, pointing out unreliable concurrent codes, memory outline, generating code coverage for test & so much more. You can also leverage numerous IDEs, code editors & plugins and its standard library for creating CLI tools & other things.
7. Its focused vocabulary
You can fund lots of keywords in every programming language that any developer has to remember. Many such keywords are there for supporting the concepts of programming that have been present for decades.
In Golang, a majority of these keywords have been condensed as much as possible to reduce the total no. of keywords required for working with Golang. Because of this, Go has currently around 25 keywords in contrast to over 50 keywords for Java, C# and other similar languages.
8. Built-in garbage collection
Garbage collection is always one of the most difficult problems to solve. Moreover, manual memory management results in high cost on developers and also makes it more difficult to write error-free code.
Because of this, creators of Go has made built-in garbage collection as a mandatory aspect of this language. AT first, a garbage collector significantly affects an app when it comes to its performance. But thanks to the recent determined efforts, the cost of garbage collector is falling at significant pace.
9. Go’s simple scoping rules
For ensuring that the functions & the variables are hidden from other parts of the code base, numerous languages provides lot of flexibility to the programmers. When it comes to Go, it has only 3 levels of scoping and are really simple.
The conventions for determining the scope are local variables that are declared within the function are scoped to the current block. When starting with a lower case letter, package-level variables are scoped to the package; and, when starting with an upper-case letter, they are scoped publicly.
As you may expect, there is not any private scope which might make some developers uncomfortable, but when applying, it brings a lot of opportunities.
10. Its first-class functions
Though, it doesn’t means that it has rejected object-orientation, but has successfully blended the top aspects of object-oriented styles & functional programming. It helps in providing a great degree of flexibility with as little effort as possible.
11. Golang standard library
The standard library of Golang is amazing. It provides a wide range of features & plugins that are convenient & easy to use. These significantly help in working with primitive types. These can be used for manipulating raw bytes, encoding, decoding, parsing, debugging, easy to handle I/O and a lot other things. It also has a built-in support for testing that eliminates the need for an extra dependency.
Which Are The Countries That Are Widely Using Go Programming Language?
Famous countries using Golang are India, USA, UK, France, Germany, Canada, Brazil, Japan, Korea, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Australia, Denmark, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Thailand, Poland & others.
Which Are The Big Companies Using Golang?
Some of the popular companies using Golang are as follows:
What Is The Average Salary of Go Developers?
Go developers are one of the highest-paid developers in the industry across all over the world.
What Are the Best Books to Learn Go Programming Language
Till now it is clear that Go has become an important language, thanks to its simplicity, ease of use & other notable features. Some even have considered it as the future of programming, and some are saying that it might overshadow Python programming language.
Considering this, we have listed down some of the best books that you can read to learn, understand & master Go programming. These books for Go language is suitable for all skill level. So, without wasting any time, let’s start with the best books to learn Go programming language.
1. Go in Action
It is a simple book that can make any newbie a Go guru with its practical approach. It comprises of several exercises to give you a more tangible real-world examples that will help you to develop ideas while learning Golang. Each lesson of Golang’s book is progressive in nature & gets more difficult as you will go ahead.
Each next lesson will require you to use previously discussed ideas that will allow you to connect all the dots. This book on Go will help you to learn local testing, data structures, using Go’s std. library & concurrency. All the presentation techniques are superb making it the best book for any beginner.
Though without any prior knowledge of coding, you may find difficult to understand some of its code, but is definitely doable. All its exercises will help you learn all the concepts that any other theoretical book can.
2. Introducing Go: Build Reliable, Scalable Programs
This book is written by Caleb Doxsey, and is one of the sweetest & shortest book written on Golang. Its 120 pages will help you learn all the fundamentals of Go programming in a pithy writing style.
If you know any other programming language then this book will be very easy for you; & as per me, it is suited for a complete beginner who is looking to explore the Golang without getting into advanced or complicated things.
Exercises present in this book may not be as suitable for the real-world scenarios but can be the excellent way of showing you the abilities of Go programming language. Upon completion, you can easily write your own apps & then, can look for other resources to get deeper insights of the Go language.
These exercises are not as practical for the real world but they do an excellent job showcasing what you can do in Go. By the end of this book you should feel comfortable writing your own applications and expanding your knowledge on your own.
3. The Go Programming Language
Till date, it is one of the most authoritative book ever written on Go programming language. It has around 400 pages including numerous exercises with lucid explanations of how Go functions. You will learn everything from scratch.
To start with this book, you don’t need any prior knowledge & picking up all the concepts is extremely simple. The way this book is written makes it very simple even for the beginners who have never written any code before.
Though this book is good for beginners, but it gets technical as you proceed & offers huge detail of each concept. If you are thinking to get started with this book, I will recommend to do some prior research about this book in order to know whether it is suitable for you or not.
4. Go in Practice
It is great to see how this book has covered the Go language with its practical approach. It includes 70 real-world projects that offers a step-by-step learning of the Go language. The authors of this book will get you started with Go language by writing simple “hello, world!”
After this, you will get insights into CLI & tips required for local scripting. It will include working with routing, math computations, and learning goroutines for concurrency. If all of these have gone over your head, then stop worrying. It will help you understand everything from scratch through its concise & clear writing style.
5. The Way to Go
Thanks to the simplicity of Golang, often it is confusing for developers to understand its codebase. This Go book “The Way to Go” will help you to learn & understand the simplified syntax & how it is different from others.
Ivo Balbaert is the author of this book on Golang & has done a great job with his simple nature of writing. You will learn the basics of Go programming along with the setup with the initial chapters. After this, you will be introduced with maps, tree systems, structs, & parallel programming required for Go programming. You will also get insights into the best practices & things to avoid in Go language.
6. Go Programming Blueprints
To master the Go language & understanding the best techniques as per your project, it takes a lot of practice for every developer despite of the simplicity. Go Programming Blueprints can help you tackle this issue by teaching all the techniques right from the beginning.
It is another simple book comprising of 250 pages covering all the details of every important concepts of Go language. All these concepts are explained using a lot of examples. You will also get insights into good and not so good practices of Go programming language.
Remember, if you are a complete beginner, then this book is not the right one for you. It requires some basic knowledge of Go programming along with previous experience.
7. Web Development with Go
It is a long book but one of the best resource for learning Go language or seeing how server-side Go operates. If you are looking for API work or building concurrent connections for big web apps, then you will love this book!
It doesn’t require you to have any of your ideas or even have the knowledge of working of such web applications. All and all, you may need a reason to put effort for Go language & some work ethics. It include huge number of exercises that will teach you several techniques for any type of Go projects. Some of these are structuring projects on cloud services and BDD-style testing.
You will also get some tips for custom database work & MongoDB. I will recommend this book to you if you are the one who is willing to learn web development with Go programming. This book on Go also includes 100s of exercises & reference materials.
8. Go Web Programming
Whether you believe it or not, but yes, you can run Go code on web servers. It will allow you to develop scalable programs for running a high-performance apps on any system. Its author Say Sheong Chang will help you learn modern design principles for the web & will let you apply all of them to your next project. Important concepts like writing concurrent apps for the web & dependency injections are also covered well.
This book also includes 100s of practical exercises for simplifying all the core techniques. Things like API calls for traversing XML/JSON data, scaling the app, benchmarking & unit testing are covered in detail. In the later chapters, you will learn to run PaaS apps on Golang with maintaining projects with a container platform such as Docker.
If you have just heard of Go programming and is looking for a simple resource that is not too lengthy then this book is for you. This book is written by Steven Keller & is a complete guide for learning Go language. At least for me! You will learn concurrent programming from scratch & use the HTTP/2 protocol in your next project.
Other important concepts like how TCP/IP calls work with sockets & Go clients are also covered. Agreed that it doesn’t cover the entire world of Go language but it covers everything any programmer requires to learn Go for any type of project.
What Did We Learn?
With this, I will wrap this article. Till now, we have learned the basics of Go programming language, its history & all the past versions of Golang. We have seen how Golang & its features have evolved over the past decade, the purpose behind creating Go programming language & all the issues that it has solved for the programmers.
We have read how the ease & simplicity of Go programming gives it an extra edge over others. Apart from these, we have also uncovered crucial factors that shows the importance of Go. Whether be it its library, ease of use & handle, program execution, Goroutines, library, scoping rule, built-in garbage collection, focused vocabulary or any other features, every features contribute equally to its rapid rise among the giants of programming world.
We have also checked top countries & big organizations who are using the power of Go programming language. Also, the salary part… we have also found out that the salary of Go developers are among the highest in the industry.
If all these points were enough to convince you then definitely you should check out all the books listed to learn Go programming language. All the mentioned books were for various skills level, and you can pick as per your requirement.
I will hope that it was equally fun for you to read as it was for me to write this article!
Also Read: Top 5 Programming Languages for Beginners