Benefits of programming with Go

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For most businesses, their early web applications aren’t built with scalability and ease of use in mind. And as the business grows, it becomes increasingly difficult for these applications to handle more frequent requests and heavier loads. Faced with similar growing pains, a small team of Google engineers built a language called Golang, or Go for short, in 2007 to address these issues. Ease of deployment, strong concurrency and a simple syntax make Go a great language to build fast, scalable applications that grow alongside your business. 

So, what benefits could Go bring to your projects? Let’s take a look at some of Go’s features that make it a smart choice for development. 

Compiled language

Go is a compiled language. Compiled languages are known for their speed, as they’re converted directly into machine-level code that can be read directly by the computer instead of being interpreted every time the application is run, like JavaScript on a web page. So, when you’re done writing source code, it’s run through a compiler which converts the source code into an executable file that can be distributed to run the program on another machine.

Go compiler

In addition to its quickness as a compiled language, the Go compiler offers additional benefits like being able to check for errors, easier deployment and the ability to optimize your code for efficiency. 

Error checking

The Go compiler’s error checking is able to detect variables that went unused, missing packages or imports necessary to run and mistyped or invalid operations. 

The compiler finds these errors during the build process of your program. Consequently, Go is able to give you a heads up about what works and what doesn’t before you even run your program—saving you time during development without having to search for bugs. 

Cross compiling

Another unique feature of Go is the ability to cross-compile your application to run on a different machine than the one used for development. The Go compiler allows you to generate executable binaries for different operating systems with simple commands. Instead of requiring Go to be installed on foreign machines, you can easily cross-compile your original source code to run on multiple machines. This makes deploying Go applications to production servers or local machines a breeze—all it requires is moving the final executable file. 

Additional benefits of Go

Garbage collection

Garbage collection, or automatic memory management, is a key feature of the Go language. Go excels in giving a lot of control over memory allocation and has dramatically reduced latency in the most recent versions of the garbage collector, with average latencies below 1ms. Go’s garbage collector achieves this by running concurrently with the program and by using a tricolor mark-and-sweep algorithm. 

Scalability

Because Go was built by Google, it was designed with scalability in mind. As applications grow, they need to handle many smaller sub-tasks at the same time, like delivering HTML pages to individual web browsers. Running simultaneous tasks within an application is called concurrency. Go has many built-in features designed to handle concurrency, most notably goroutines and channels.

Goroutines are functions capable of running concurrently with other functions. Channels allow different goroutines to communicate with each other to determine how best to complete a task.   

Simplicity

Finally, Go excels in being simple and easy to understand. With a very small language specs document, Go strives to be easy to both read and write. The official Go website also includes a tutorial to get started with the language by typing and practicing code in the browser. 

Is Go right for my team?

Depending on the size of the applications you’re building, Go might be the perfect solution to help you scale your business. Go’s thorough concurrency support, simplicity and memory allocation make it easy to see why many businesses are using Go on their back-end.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Go language, check out Code School’s On Track with Golang course, or our upcoming Ready, Set, Go! webinar. Code School instructor, Carlos Souza, will explore the basics of programming with Go and include a demo of creating a cross-compiled application created with Go in his live presentation on Thursday, March 30. 

Watch the webinar: Ready, set, Go! - Getting started with Golang 

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