What is GoLang? Introduction to Go Programming Language

Go is an open-source, compiled, high-level, and statically typed programming language. It is also known as GoLang. It was designed at Google in 2007 by Robert Griesemer, Rob Pike, and Ken Thompson. It is developed to improve programming productivity in the era of multicore, networked machines, and large codebases. Go was publicly launched in 2009 and version 1.0 was released in March 2012. Go is widely used in production at Google and in many other organizations and open-source projects.

Why should you learn GoLang?

Go language is one of the fastest-growing, in-demand skills and rising programming languages and it makes sense to learn Go language to develop Software in a quicker time. Let's discuss some use cases to learn to Go Programming Language.

Cloud and Network Services: 

GoLang helps enterprises build and scale cloud computing systems. Most of the cloud-native software is written in GoLang. The major cloud providers like GCP (Google Cloud Platform), AWS (Amazon Web Services), and Azure have Go APIs for services, and popular open-source libraries provide support for API tooling (Swagger), transport (protocol buffers, gRPC), monitoring (OpenCensus), Object-Relational Mapping (gORM), and authentication (JWT). The open-source community also provided several frameworks including Go Kit, Go Micro, and Gizmo which can help the developer to build the cloud-based application easily and in a quicker time. 

There are two widely used Go tools for cloud computing Docker and Kubernetes. Clod Developers use docker to quickly deploy and scale applications into any environment and developers use Kubernetes to build, deliver, and scale containerized apps quickly.

CLI (Command Line Interfaces): 

CLI developers prefer Golang portability, performance, and ease of creation. Developers of CLIs find Go to be ideal for designing their applications. Go compiles very quickly into a single binary, works across platforms with a consistent style, and brings a strong development community. From a single Windows or Mac laptop, developers can build a Go program for every one of the dozens of architectures and operating systems Go supports in a matter of seconds, no complicated build farms are needed. No other compiled language can be built as portably or quickly. Go applications are built into a single self-contained binary making installing Go applications trivial.

When developing CLIs in Golang, two tools are widely used: Cobra & Viper

Cobra is a Golang library for creating powerful modern CLI interfaces. In addition to providing an interface, Cobra simultaneously provides a controller to organize your application code. 

Viper is a complete configuration solution for Go applications, designed to work within an app to handle configuration needs and formats. Cobra and Viper are designed to work together. Viper supports nested structures in the configuration, allowing CLI developers to manage the configuration for multiple parts of a large application. Viper also provides all of the tooling needed to easily build twelve-factor apps.

GoLang for Web Development:

Go can be an excellent choice for web development, particularly for applications that prioritize performance, scalability, and concurrent handling of requests. Go is designed to enable developers to rapidly develop scalable and secure web applications. Go have standard libraries that include packages for building web servers, handling HTTP requests, and working with templates. This reduces the need for third-party libraries and simplifies the development process. 

Go has excellent support for all of the latest technologies from HTTP/2, to databases like MySQL, MongoDB, and Elasticsearchto the latest encryption standards including TLS 1.3 that help to develop secure and user-friendly web applications.

Development Operations & Site Reliability Engineering:

Go offers several features and benefits that can greatly assist Development Operations (DevOps) and Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) teams in their day-to-day tasks and responsibilities. Go compiles very quickly into a single binary, Go's single-binary output means that DevOps and SRE teams can package their tools and services as standalone executables, reducing dependencies and easing deployment across various environments.

Go can be used to create custom automation scripts and tools that streamline CI/CD pipelines, automate testing, deployment, and monitoring, and enhance overall workflow efficiency.

How GoLang is different from other programming languages

The most notable difference between GoLang and many other programming languages is its concurrency model. Traditional general-purpose programming languages use threads provided and scheduled by the operating system (or a rather abstract concept of “workers” that are based on OS threads) to allow you to run multiple functions concurrently.
  • Those threads usually have a stack of a few megabytes in memory meaning that you can’t spawn too many of them, for example, 1000 threads where each consumes 1 MB of memory would require 1 GB of memory already.
  • Requesting a thread from the operating system isn’t cheap, you better take as many as you need during the initialization phase of your program and reuse them.
  • Context switches on OS threads aren’t cheap. Most registers and some caches will need to be swapped out.

The limitations associated with OS threads make writing non-blocking concurrent systems unnecessarily difficult. Go has a completely different concurrency model. In Go, you can run functions in separate so-called “goroutines”.
  • Go’s goroutines have a flexible stack that’s at least 2kb in memory and it grows as needed. This means that you can literally spawn millions of them compared to only thousands of threads.
  • Goroutines are multiplexed through an OS thread pool in the built-in runtime and can thus achieve 99.9% CPU utilization.
  • They’re scheduled cooperatively, meaning that they return control to the built-in user-space scheduler when they’re getting blocked (by, for example, a database operation)
  • Context switches on goroutines are very cheap since fewer registers need to be swapped out.
  • Creating and suspending goroutines is very cheap because it’s done on the application level and doesn’t require a system-space roundtrip.

Finally, what makes Go unique in a sense, is the combination of compilation to actual binary executables, the concurrency model, the runtime, the garbage collector, and the particular qualities of the language itself.

Limitations of GoLang

  • One of the most notable limitations of GoLang is the lack of generics, which can make code more repetitive and less abstract. 
  • Golang doesn't have direct support for object-oriented programming. But we can achieve OOP in Go with the help of struct and interfaces.
  • There is no implicit type conversion in Golang, which can sometimes result in more explicit type casting in code.

What is GoLang? Introduction to Go Programming Language What is GoLang? Introduction to Go Programming Language Reviewed by Prashant Srivastava on August 12, 2023 Rating: 5

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