Transitioning to a new programming language involves resources, training, and possibly rehiring programmers who are adept in the language. It also means discarding most of the works that have been carried out on old platforms.
However, with internet speed increases steadily over the years, businesses are pressured to deliver a faster and more responsive app experience. In the age of multicore processors and high-speed broadband internet, Go was shoved to the limelight with promises of creating exponentially faster apps.
As a business owner, you ought to know what’s the hype around Go and why developers are getting all excited with it.
First published in 2009, Go is an open-source programming language developed by a team at Google and the combined effort of other contributors. It is meant to simplify the process of software development, particularly for complex architecture and processes.
The Go language promises code efficiency, which translates into faster software and apps for businesses. Companies that recognize the need for lean and efficient code have adopted Golang. Here are some notable firms that have done so:
Instead of building from scratch, Go was developed based on the C language. Golang inherits the disciplined syntax of C, albeit with some changes and feature improvements that allow developers to manage memory safely. This helps to eradicate the notorious memory leakage issues when programmers do not release unused memory by mistake.
Golang has some distinct advantages over some of its established counterparts.
1. GOLANG IS FAST
Golang is a compiled language, which means the code written is directly translated into formats that a processor understands. Meanwhile, the program in Java is compiled into bytecode that are executed by the virtual machine.
Think of Golang as having a leaner organizational structure in business, where the lack of mid-level managers improves the speed of getting things done. Go has been proven to be generally faster than languages like Java and Python, which enhances the availability and reliability of services.
2. GOLANG IS EASY TO LEARN
Picking up Go is easy for software developers, particularly if they already have a solid foundation in C or Java. While the keywords and syntax may slightly differ, Go has the same procedural approach that programmers would familiarize in no time.
3. GOLANG IS WELL-SCALED
One of the reasons why you ought to use Golang is its ability to support concurrency. The Go language has Goroutines, which are basically functions that can run simultaneously and independently.
Golang’s Goroutines are the opposite of what Java’s thread is, where the latter is a heavyweight that gobbles up memory. Technically, you can run millions of GoRoutines without crashing the system. Having a leaner and meaner software gives you an edge over your competitors.
4. COMPREHENSIVE PROGRAMMING TOOLS
As an open-source initiative, you’ll have no issues in getting the development tools for your team. There are various editors, IDEs, and plugins that you can download from the GitHub repository for Go. A handful of cloud-based IDEs that support Go are also available.
5. GROWING POOL OF TALENT
According to Hired, Go is the #1 most in-demand programming language across the planet. Companies are gaining more awareness of how powerful Golang is, and programmers are brushing their skills of the language in drove.
By making Golang part of your software strategy, you’re tapping into a pool of talent that will only increase in time. Chances are, you’re likely to hire a programmer who is already well-versed in Go.
Despite the growing popularity of Go, it is not a perfect programming language. Well, no programming language is. Here are some cons that you’ll need to consider before adopting Go.
1. TIME CONSUMING
Golang is not as descriptive as Python, as the former is strictly a simple compiled language. A programmer may need to code dozens of lines to accomplish a similar function that can be done with a couple of lines in Python.
The prolonged duration spent in coding is a turn-off for teams that are rushing against deadlines in crafting their software.
2. IT’S A YOUNG LANGUAGE
Despite chalking its 10th year anniversary, Golang is still a relatively young language. Programmers may struggle with the existing libraries, especially if they are interfacing with other platforms. The lack of SDK for 3rd party interfaces means your team will be burdened with writing extra codes in to patch multiple programs together.
3. GOLANG DOESN’T SUPPORT GENERIC FUNCTIONS
A function is a block of code that takes an input, processes it, and returns an output. Generic functions are a collection of different functions with the same name, but with undefined types of inputs during compile time.
Without support for generic functions, programmers will need to create multiple footprints of functions to deal with different types of parameters. Just like C, which Golang is based on, the lack of support for generic functions can severely limit code reusability and decrease efficiency during development.
Golang helps software engineers to a certain extent with developing with empty interfaces. However, there’s a limit to its efficiency as there are areas of development that Golang isn’t designed for, and languages like Python are better options.
There are always trade-offs for every programming language, and Golang is no different. For the simplicity and speed of execution of the code built with Golang, it takes more effort to develop compared to a scripting language like Python.
It’s undeniable that Go is a promising language, but it has yet to be feasible for building every type of application at its young age. The reason why Google creates Golang is to solve software issues of scalability, where resources are limited by hardware. In other words, Go is handy when it’s used for addressing bottleneck issues in processing time.
Usually, late-stage startups with growing users will face problems where the backend is struggling to cope with the volume of activities. Golang’s support for concurrency functions and small memory footprint means it’s a perfect fit for backend developments where servers need to deal with heavy requests.
Dropbox, a cloud-storage sharing service, uses Golang to manage more than 500 million users on its network efficiently. The language is also ideal for building e-commerce sites, which handles millions of traffics per month. Golang also powers Resource-intense services like Docker, Terraform, and Kubernetes.
Go isn’t something that you’ll want to pick up if your business is still validating its concept. It’s not the right fit to quickly craft a demo for investors. The time it takes to piece up the codes is better spent on other areas for early startups. However, you ought to have a plan to move over to Go when the existing code is bloated and affects user experience.
As an early startup, it’s vital that you’re getting your services to the market at god-speed. With cleverly-crafted marketing strategies, it is only a matter of time before the large size of users forces a consideration for adopting Golang, or risks compromising user experience.
Netflix, which aggressively expands its service worldwide, has rewritten Rend service, which is responsible for connection management, in Go. Uber has also leveraged the efficiency of Golang to scale its geofence microservice, which increases service delivery speed.
If you’re planning to offer on-demand services or expanding e-commerce functionalities on your existing business, migrating to Golang is a wise option. By opting Go, you’ll avoid the speed-constraint often faced by thread-based programming languages.
As software grows and new features are added, programmers may struggle to read existing codes written by their predecessors. Such issues can lead to increased response time in troubleshooting and maintenance. Salesforce foresees the possibilities of having readability issues and switchover to Golang for its Einstein Analytics.
The bottom line about migrating to Golang is it needs to be done if you’re anticipating a surge in service demands that will crash existing infrastructure capacity. Golang is good for businesses with predictable growth and is reliant on quick server responses.
It's been a while since the developer community got excited over a new programming language. Golang, a brilliant initiative by Google, is poised to benefit businesses of various industries. Switching over to Golang may be decisive in shaping your software strategy and delivery for the near future.