Go Programming (GoLang), the Not-so-New Kid on the Block

Since it first emerged about a decade ago, Google’s Go Programming Language has been going from strength to strength. GoLang’s continuously growing popularity can be attributed to its focus on taking a minimalist approach to develop simple, reliable, and highly efficient software products.

The recent popularity of Go might be news to some, but it shouldn’t. In recent years, GoLang has been consistently attracting programmers from various disciplines of application development and data analytics. 

Go Programming
Go Programming (GoLang)

According to the Dice 2019 Tech Salary Report, Go programmers command some of the best remuneration packages in the industry. This is evidenced by GoLang developers commanding an average salary of $132,827.

This doesn’t come as a surprise as the programming language is supported by key open-source tools that can also help design modern data center operations. 

These include both Docker and Google’s Kubernetes container management solutions (which are in high demand in 2019 and for the foreseeable future).

Key Characteristics of GoLang

What is GoLang?

Go is an open-source general-purpose programming language that features static typing (including primitive types like byte, int, and string) and native code complication. The system is also designed to help the compiler identify entire classes of bugs (saving time and resources during each iteration).

According to Redmonk, GoLang is the 15th most popular language in the industry. We can expect its popularity to keep rising as it’s simple to write like Python, but with the efficiency of C++. 

Go also comes with better features to write concurrent programs with built-in support and concurrency that’s demanded by multi-core apps. 

As a compiled, open-source language, it’s the product of innovation and evolution of other (more) conservative languages like C and C++.

What does that mean?

This means that software developers can build robust APIs without sacrificing performance. They can also do this without writing a bunch of code. 

It’s also easy to optimize and scale software products as the compiler can perform all the code inspection before running it.

Easy to Learn

Compared to other languages, Go’s syntax is small, making it easy to learn. It’s so simple that you can start coding based on whatever has been confined to memory. 

So you won’t have to spend a lot of time looking things up. It’s clean and effortless to read, and most C-style programmers don’t even have to learn it to understand what’s going on.

Go Is Fast

Go is fast. I mean really fast! 

As GoLang is compiled to machine code, it’s naturally placed to outperform the competition that’s tasked with the interpretation or have virtual runtimes. Accelerated compilation features can be leveraged to compile APIs within seconds. 

Simple Concurrency Model

Concurrent programming is never easy, but as mentioned above, Go makes it much easier than other languages. 

Lightweight threads called “goroutine” are almost trivial to create and communicate with via a “channel.” However, this doesn’t mean that highly complex patterns aren’t possible with Go.

Standard Library

The standard library comes with robust built-in functions that work well with primitive types. There are also tons of packages that make it easy to do anything from working with cryptography to efficiently managing Inputs and Outputs.

GoLang also makes it easy to manipulate raw bytes. When it comes to JSON serialization and deserialization in the standard library, for example, you just have to use “tags” and specify JSON field names right next to the constructed fields.

Multiple Interfaces

GoLang has several different interfaces that can be deployed simply by implementing its methods. This approach enables the decoupling on dependencies in the code, seamlessly. 

These dependencies can be mocked in tests by using the interface to write more modular testable code. These types of first-class functions can be leveraged to write code in a highly functional manner.

Test Support

The standard library comes with test support functions built into it. So there won’t be any need for an extra dependency. 

For example, if you have a file called intersog.go, you can write your tests in another file called intersog_test.go, and run “go test.” It’s important to note that GoLang can execute these tests at lightning speed.

Garbage Collection

Memory management in Go is considerably and intentionally made easier than both C and C++. Because it doesn’t allow pointer arithmetic, using pointers are much safer than other programming languages.

Go programmers can leverage the option of using value types to allocate objects that will be garbage collected dynamically.

Static Analysis Tools

GoLang offers a wide variety of robust static analysis tools. Tools like gofmt, for example, make formatting code according to the suggested style a breeze.

This approach can quickly help normalize opinions on any given project and allow your development team to focus on what the code is doing.  

Key Frameworks for GoLang

Go makes it easy for software engineers to leverage web frameworks and build an application quickly, and efficiently (with sufficient documentation). Some of our favorite GoLang frameworks at Intersog are as follows:

Beego

Beego is a comprehensive model view controller framework that boasts its own logging library, object-relational mapping, and web frameworks. This approach negates the need to find and install third-party libraries.

When you’re working with Go, you can use features like Bee Tool to watch out for code changes and run tasks whenever changes are detected. As a result, you can save a lot of time during the beginning of a project when you’re working on the logging framework or application structure.

Buffalo

Buffalo is an excellent framework to start new projects as everything is already set up to engage in both front-end and back-end development.

In a way, Buffalo is more than just a framework because its holistic development eco-system allows software engineers to start building right away. 

Key features like Hot Reloading are designed to automatically keep a close eye on .go and .html files and to rebuild and restart the binary when needed. 

Gocraft

Gocraft is a robust minimalistic framework that provides for fast and scalable routing performance. For example, it can be used as a standard library to add routing to the net/http package.

This Go mux middleware package also has casting and reflection capabilities. This means that you can type your code statically and add optional functionality with the built-in middleware (or write your own).

As speed is at the heart of Gocraft, you can expect to see it used a lot more, especially when it comes to backend web applications.

Mango

Although the creator of Mango, Paul Bellamy, has done little to maintain this framework, it’s still popular among GoLang developers. This can be attributed to Mango’s modularity

There are multiple libraries that can be included in projects, so don’t expect the popularity of Mango to wane any time soon. 

Other benefits include the ability to build reusable modules of HTTP functionality rapidly and seamlessly. In this scenario, the Mango framework will compile a list of applications and middleware into a single HRRP server object that helps keep the code self-contained. 

Revel

Revel can be described as GoLang’s high productivity framework. It includes the Hot Code Reload tool that can be easily leveraged to rebuild projects on every file change. 

Revel also includes a wide variety of comprehensive, high-performance features that negate the need to add external libraries (that have to be integrated into the framework).

Key Technologies and Tolls for GoLang

Go tools can be deployed across a wide variety of projects and web applications. Most of these tools are designed to help developers quickly build and release web applications.

Some of the GoLang tools that are popular among Intersog developers are as follows:

Apicompat

Apicompat is a GoLang tool that helps developers quickly identify exported declarations and backward-incompatible changes. When software engineers use this tool, they can avoid false positives. 

The only drawback here is the fact that not every background incompatible change can be detected. So you’ll still need the library author to swap argument parameters and make other changes.

Go-callvis

Go-callvis was developed to visualize the call graph with Graphviz’s dot format. This tool can be quite handy when building large projects with highly complex codebases 

The Go-callvis tool can also be used to better understand another engineers code structure or to rebuild someone else’s project. In the scenario, developers can zero-in on specific packages within the program.

This approach allows GoLang developers to group functions according to package and methods according to type. You can also use it to limit packages to custom prefixes and ignore ones that contain them.

Go-Swagger

The Go-Swagger toolkit comes with extensive features and functions that can be used to serialize and deserialize swagger specifications. Although it’s quite simplistic, it can be used as a powerful representation of RESTful APIs.

The following can be achieved with Go-Swagger:

Other popular tools include Gonative, Checkstyle, and Grapes.

The bottom line is this. GoLang is an excellent language to build single-page apps. However, as it doesn’t come with its own GUI library, developers will have to invest some time to connect libraries to the app (without using native solutions offered by the likes of Java and Python).

Go is still a young language, and high-levels of adoption will continue as Google makes it more prevalent. However, this doesn’t mean that it will be the go-to programming language for all projects. What’s your experience developing web apps with GoLang? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below or contact our experts for a free consultation to see if Go Programming is the best way to go for your project.

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