Introduction to Golang: A Modern Programming Language

Introduction

  • In this blog, we will briefly introduce the language and the problems it solves. Go is an open-source programming language designed at Google. It started gaining popularity because of its "development-focused philosophy" and its concise and simple type system; if you come from a C++ or JAVA background, you must have spent ample time planning your abstract classes and interfaces. Go provides a flexible hierarchy-free type system that enables code reuse with minimal refactoring overhead.

Problems

  • Programming languages have come a long way, and we have too. Remember the joy of writing the "Hello World" program? We have kept up with the rapid evolution of technologies, but the same is different with programming language. They are yet to be involved with the fast pace of technological advancement in hardware.

  • Today's high-powered servers have multiple cores, yet we still use the programming techniques designed for single-core processors.

  • Additionally, programming has evolved into a team effort, with multiple developers working on different project parts. As a result, there is a growing need for efficient code-sharing and collaboration

  • This is where Go comes in. Go is a programming language designed for modern computing needs.

Solving Modern programming challenges with Go

  1. Concurrency: One of the challenging things to do as a programmer is to write highly scalable applications and utilize the available resources of the hardware running. Most programming languages need adequate tools for utilizing those additional resources efficiently. Example: Java handles concurrency using threads, but threads management can be complex and error-prone as the application grows.

    Go's built-in concurrency support is one of the most robust features that the Go Team develops. In simple terms, Goroutines are lightweight threads that require far less memory than normal operating system threads or kernel threads. You can spawn 50,000 Goroutines in your applications, and if you try doing that with the operating system threads, it will surely eat all the resources and hang your machine.

  2. Type System: If you come from a C++ or JAVA background, you must have spent ample time planning your abstract classes and interfaces. With its flexible hierarchy-free type system, you can easily reuse your code without the added headache of tedious refactoring. Also, as it is a statically-typed language, the types of values are checked at compile-time rather than at runtime. This helps catch errors early in development and leads to more robust code.

    One exciting thing about the Go-type system is that it does not have an inheritance. Instead, it has composition. This means you can create new types by embedding existing ones within them. This leads to more flexible and modular code

  3. Fast Compile time: It can make a big difference in the productivity and efficiency of software development. Imagine testing one scenario; you have to wait even hours for code to compile, which decreases productivity and efficiency. From an operational perspective, you also have to deploy a hotfix in your production environment. If the code takes less time to compile, it significantly affects the business. Go provides a faster compile time, and developers can quickly see the results of their code changes and iterate more rapidly to the next steps in the development cycle.

  4. Garbage Collection: As a developer, you might have come across the terms garbage collection when you just started building efficient and reliable software. Most modern programming languages support these built-in features, meaning you don't have to manage the memory manually.

    Go's garbage collection uses a mark-and-sweep algorithm for garbage collection. The garbage collector starts marking the object used by the application and sweeps through the entire heap memory looking for unmarked objects and deleting them. Also, it runs concurrently with the rest of the program, ensuring no significant pause time to clean the unused memory. As Go is designed to work well with multi-core processors the garbage collector utilizes all available CPU cores.

  5. Complier with standalone binaries: A standalone binary is an executable file that can run on any machine without needing external dependencies. The user can run the binary without installing any additional software or libraries. This also means that even if Go is not installed on the other developer's machine, it can run on that single executable file. This makes deploying the application on the cloud easy without worrying about the environment.

    How does the go do this magic? The secret lies in Go's static linking. Go's compiler includes all the necessary dependencies in the binary itself. This improves the performance of your application as it eliminates the need for any dynamic linking at runtime, which can slow down the application.

Conclusion

In this short guide, we explored some of the problems Go solves and the cool features it provides out of the box. I hope this blog post has given you a brief introduction to Golang. If you are interested in learning more, let's connect on Twitter (@narharistwt)and interactively share the learning.

Happy Learning! Happy Coding ✨