With the extensive number of programming languages available out there, for any language to emerge among the best is no easy feat.
Google’s Go programming language is one of the languages that has come out of obscurity and is now seeing clear traction in popularity for various development tasks.
Currently, Go is powering an extensive number of popular projects and supporting the development of top-notch innovations across several industries. For example, Docker, the popular containerization platform, is entirely crafted in the Go programming language.
Other big users of the language include Kubernetes (Google), CoreOS, Hugo, Lantern, and many more. Without Go, perhaps, these wonderful projects could have not seen the light of the day. The extensive usage of Go is a good indicator that the language is suitable for a wide range of use cases.
Go’s exciting features
Go is derived from the C programming language. More so, it offers additional capabilities such as garbage collection, native-style concurrency, and several other native features that allow developers to avoid writing lengthy code to handle networked applications or memory leaks.
As such, the language shines brightest when used for developing distributed networked services and cloud-native applications.
Go was designed to allow increased productivity during a period of multicore processors, computer networks, and voluminous codebases. The language was meant to be quick to learn, hassle-free to work with, and easy to read — some attributes which have made it one of the top programming languages.
The Golang programming language brings together the speed of developing applications using a dynamic language such as Python with the security and performance present in a compiled language such as C or C++.
With Go, typical builds can be completed instantaneously — even bulky binaries can be compiled within a few seconds.
Why developers love Go
Google’s Go programming language has been winning the hearts of most developers. Primarily, it’s an open source language, something which has opened it up for development to the larger community.
Go’s lightweight nature has made it the darling of developers building various applications. It has been developed to address the weaknesses of the traditional languages while natively making the most of the modern hardware infrastructures. Go is an explicitly designed programming language that places the needs of developers at the forefront.
A language that emphasizes code readability, like Go, attracts the love of developers. The combination of duck typing (through interfaces) and convenience capabilities like “:=” for declaring short variables provides Go with the merits of a dynamically typed programming language without losing the advantages of a strongly typed language.
Golang’s inherent garbage collection feature allows developers to avoid handling memory management issues. This way, the risks of introducing memory leaks through manual processes is prevented.
Furthermore, data scientists are increasingly developing a love for Go. The language has beneficial strengths that data scientists want to realize increased performance and agility.
For example, Go’s outstanding error handling and simple debugging capabilities are making it gain ground over R and Python, which are the common languages in the data science field.
How far could Go go?
The TIOBE Programming Community Index, which is an indicator of the popularity of programming languages, ranked Go as the Programming Language of the Year in 2009, the year it was released.
In 2010, it was awarded the 13th place, outdoing established programming languages such as Pascal. By June 2015, its TIOBE index had plummeted to below 50, which was lower than Fortran and COBOL.
However, in 2016, Go was again named the Programming Language of the Year. In July 2017, Go sprinted to the 10th place, signifying an incredible increase in adoption and popularity.
In October 2018, Go was ranked the 12th most popular programming language.
According to the Stack Overflow Developer Survey carried out in January 2018, Go is the 13th most popular programming language — if non-standalone and supportive technologies like HTML, CSS, and SQL are not considered.
The Stack Overflow Survey also had a section for “Most Loved, Dreaded, and Wanted Languages.” In the Most Loved Languages list, Go was ranked number 5.
Also, in the Most Wanted list, Go emerged number 3.
For example, 67% of survey respondents said that they are paid to use Go compared to 63% who said that they use the language outside of work.
However, in the Go 2016 Survey Results, 62% said they write the language at work and 66% said they write the language outside of work.
This drastic shift suggests the growing influence of Go in completing professional software development projects.
Here is a screenshot of the survey results:
Therefore, as the above positive Go programming trends indicate, the language could go places — and we expect to see its greater use in software development in the next few years.
Although Google’s Go programming language has some weaknesses such as the absence of generics and the absence of dependency management, the programming language has a bright future.
The team spearheading the development of Golang has demonstrated commitments to address the language’s weaknesses and reinforce its capability to build state-of-the-art applications.
Google is backing Go. Other companies are also supporting Go development. For example, ActiveGo, an open source language company, supports the usage of Golang in enterprise-level applications.
Additionally, as an open source project, the Golang initiative has a strong community that supports the development of the language.
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