Golang aka Go was developed by Google as an open-source procedural programming language in 2007. R Griesemer, Rob Pike & Ken Thompson are the brains behind Go programming language. It was launched in 2009. Go programmingsupports concurrent programming allowing multiple processes to run simultaneously. It is attained by using goroutines, channels and so on.
Since its arrival, several popular applications have been developed using the Go programming language. These include Dropbox, Kubernetes, Docker, Openshift, Netflix, InfluxDB and even the language Go was written in Go.
The Story Behind Go Programming Language?
Griesemer, Pike & Thompson created Go by taking inspiration from other languages like Algol, C, Oberon, Pascal, Modula, Newsqueak & Smalltalk. Mostly, it was inherited from Oberon programming and C programming was responsible for its syntax. OOP of Go programming is similar to Smalltalk, though you can attach methods to any type. While concurrency is based on Newsqueak, another language created by Rob Pike.
Despite having so many languages, why Google created Go language?
Every language has its own flaws along with its benefits. For instance, fast languages like C are not safe and are difficult to work on along with vast compiling speed, runtime errors and dependencies. When it comes to interpreted languages like Ruby, it might be safe but it is slower and has several dependencies including interpreter itself. On the other hand, programming languages like Java requires a virtual machine to run the code. JS or NodeJS are wild kids.
Considering all these drawbacks, Go was designed for fast compilation. Because of this, it’s hard for programmers to create compiling programs that are slow when compared to programming languages like C++ or C. Moreover, Golang combines the ease of programming of a dynamically, interpreted type language with the safety and efficiency of a compiled & statically typed language. It also has the capability of being modern and can support multicore computing.
Recommended Course: The Go Programming Language Guide – Code Like a Pro
What are the things of other programming languages that Go programming language lacks?
Throughout the design of Go programming, developers have tried to reduce clutter and complexity. It helps in reducing the amount of typing. However, you will not be able to find any forward declarations or header files, as everything is declared exactly once. There is not any type of hierarchy. Apart from some hardware limitations, sluttering is also reduced by simple type derivation using the := declare-and-initialize construct.
Go installation for macOS, Windows & Linux
This programming language is supported on all the three major platforms i.e. Windows, Linux & macOS. You can visit https://golang.org/dl/ for downloading the binary for the corresponding platform.
- First, download the MSI installer from https://golang.org/dl/.
- To start the installation double tap and follow the prompts.
- By doing so, you will install Go in c:\Go along with incorporating the directory c:\Go\bin to your path environment variable.
- First, download the Mac OS installer from https://golang.org/dl/.
- To start the installation double tap and follow the prompts.
- This will install Golang in /usr/local/go and will add the folder /usr/local/go/bin to your PATH environment variable.
- You have to first download the tar file from https://golang.org/dl/.
- Once downloaded, now unzip it to /usr/local.
- Add /usr/local/go/bin to the PATH environment variable.
- This will install Go in Linux.
Read More: Getting Started with Go Programming
Best Golang IDE in 2020 & Ahead (Golang Code Editors Included)
Before going any further let’s first understand the IDEs & Editors. IDE is an integrated development environment or a software suite that allows developers to perform all their programming tasks in one application. With a single tool, you can compile, debug and test your programs. It also posses tons of extra features that make any programmer’s task very efficient and fast. But because of several features, it is very heavy and a little slow. To tackle this issue, there are code editors that are fast but comprises of little fewer features.
Benefits of IDE & Editors:
- Enhance programmers productivity and efficiency
- Promote continual learning
- Good product management
- Simple and easy collaboration
2020 Best Golang IDEs & Editors
1. Lite IDE
It is a simple, cross-platform and open-source IDE for Golang. It is available for Windows, Linux, macOS 10.6 (64 bit) or higher, FreeBSD 9.2. or higher and OpenBSD 5.6 or higher (64 bit).
It was developed by the Golang and is also considered as the backbone of Go programming. It highly resembles C++ and features a set of useful features such as code editor, configurable build command and extensible support. Some of the other notable features are:
- Plug-in system
- System environment management
- Configurable build commands
- MIME-type management
- Symbols, quick open files, and commands
- Support file search, revert and replace
It is our 2nd best IDE that can be used for Golang. It is highly popular among Go programmers and is also a very powerful integrated development environment. Using this IDE for Go, a Golang support plug-in needs to be installed, It has a fast indexing technique for providing contextual hints on import suggestion and auto-completion object members.
Other worth mentioning features are on-the-fly error detection along with refactorization. Every aspect of this IDE is designed to enhance the productivity of any developers and to provide a great experience during coding.
Basically, GoClipse is a plug-in for Eclipse IDE that is widely used by developers from all over the world to increase the effectiveness of their programming. It is open-source and is packed with some of the super features such as:
- Exclusive code editors
- Autocomplete code
- Debug functionality
- Wizard and project build
- A quick outline and editor outline
The majority of the developers know that this IDE was built by Facebook that provides tons of unmatched features to them. It is now maintained by GitHub and is supported by an open-source community. This IDE includes certain features like a smart editor, hover-to-reveal, smart context-aware auto-completion, improved language integration, and simple coding suitable for both experts and novice programmers.
To use this IDE for Golang, you are required to download the open-source Go-plus package along with Atom IDE. Once integrated, you can access certain exclusive GOlang support tools such as linters, build flows, vet and coverage tool that leads to an exclusive coding environment along with on-the-fly debugging. Not only this but is also provides impeccable documentation and formatting for all the programmers that make their life way easy.
This IDE has several improved plug-ins for making coding in Go easy for the programmers. The Vim-Go plug-in can be integrated to have all the required binaries for creating a better development environment for Go programmers.
Certain core features of using Vim-Go are as follows:
- Great compiler
- Folding and syntax highlighting
- Program debugging on-the-fly
- Integrated delve support
- Auto-complete support
- Ability to quickly running snippets & tests
- Finding errors in a quick window
- Fixing errors on-the-fly
It is another very popular tool developed by Microsoft. It is a cross-platform and you can find plug-in related to Golang for both Windows and macOS. This tool for Golang comes with tons of features such as a debugger, code editor auto-completion and so much more, that some even debate that it is the best tool for Go programming.
The famous company JetBrains is the creator of Go(g)land. Again just like other mentioned tools in this list, it also provides several features such as on-the-fly error detection, suggestions, quick fixes, safe refactoring, impressive documentation, one-step undo, dead code detection, intelligent code completion and so much more. All these make this IDE suitable for both a seasoned professional developer as well as beginners.
It very reliable for code and also let developers jump between files, types, or any other symbols during navigation searches.
GoSublime is a plug-in for Sublime text that allows programmers to develop in Golang. Some of its exclusive features are context-aware snippets, code auto-completion from GoCode, lint or syntax check and live command output.
So, these were our top picks for Go IDE & Code Editors that you can use it right away. But remember before choosing anyone; make sure that you know the actual demand for your projects that will help you in making the right choice.
Read More: 4 Minimal Web Frameworks for Go (“Golang”)
Exploring the Golang Advantages & Disadvantages
Recently, I used Go for one of my projects. It taught me a few things which I’ll state below. Before choosing any programming language, I believe that you should understand the real aim and requirements before starting. Some of the Golang pros & cons that I found out are:
Things that give Golang an edge:
1. It is fast:
Honestly, Go programming language is very fast mostly because it is compiled to machine code. Naturally, Golang outperforms other languages that have virtual runtimes or are interpreted. Also, you can compile Go programs very fast and API can be compiled in seconds, producing an executable file of over 11 MB. The resulting binary is very small too.
2. Very easy to learn:
When compared to other popular languages, the syntax of Go is very small and easy to learn. Because of this, you are not required to spend a lot of time looking for various things. This language is also very easy to learn and understand. For the non-Go programmers, reading a program written in Golang and understanding is not that hard, especially for those who are used to C-style syntax.
3. Static typing:
This programming language is a strongly, statically typed language. You can find primitive types like int, byte, and string along with structs. Just like any other strongly typed language, you can catch entire classes of bugs with the help of compiler, all thanks to its type system. It is also packed with built-in types for maps and lists that are easy to use.
4. Interface types:
Go includes interfaces that can be satisfied by any structs by implementing its methods. It will allow you to decouple the dependencies in your code. Afterward, you can even mock your dependencies in the test. The interface also allows you to write more testable and modular code. There is also the provision of first-class functions that opens up the possibility of writing your code having a more functional style.
5. Standard library:
A nice standard library is provided for this programming language and is good for built-in functions for working with primitive types. With some of its packages, you can easily handle I/O, stand up a web server, manipulate raw bytes and work with cryptography. You can use tags to specify JSON field names just next to struct fields.
6. Testing support:
It is built into its standard library and there is no need for an extra dependency. In the case, where you have a file having a name thing.go, you just have to write your tests in another file called thing_test.go to test it in Golang. This programming language has the capability to test these types of tests really fast.
7. Static analysis tools:
You can find numerous and robust static analysis tools for Golang. One of the most popular and useful ones is gofmt that can format your code as per Go’s suggested style. It can help your team to focus more on the code by normalizing a lot of opinions on a project. I tried golint, gofmt and vet in almost every build and the build fails in case of any warnings came.
8. Garbage collection:
Intentionally, memory management in Golang was made easier than other popular programming languages like C or C++. Dynamically allocated objects are garbage collected & with Golang, you can use pointers much safer because it doesn’t allow pointer arithmetic. You also have the option of using value types.
9. Easier concurrency model:
The majority of programmers know the fact that concurrent programming is not easy, but Golang makes it very easier for all the programmers. You can create a lightweight thread known as “goroutine”, and communicate with it via a “channel”.
Read More: Why We Switched from Python to Go Language?
Things that were missing in Golang:
1. No generics:
Yes, Golang doesn’t have generics and it is a big hurdle for you if you are more into languages like Java. This decreases the level of reuse in the code. For instance, if you write functions like “reduce”, “map”, or “filter” that generally operates on a collection of a type, you can’t reuse those same functions for a collection of any other type. Though there are several ways to deal with this, but eventually you will end up writing more codes. It ultimately affects your productivity and maintainability.
2. Interfaces are implicit:
Yes, having interfaces are great for any developers but in this language, structs can implement interface implicitly but not explicitly. Many might consider it as strength of this programming language, however, for me, it was difficult to tell from looking at a struct whether it implemented an interface or not. The only way you can find out this is by attempting to compile the program. For many programmers, it is not a big task if the file is small but it becomes a hectic task when your file is of large or even medium size.
3. Poor library support:
4. Difficult community:
The community behind Golang seems non-receptive. As I found out that there was an issue in the GitHub repository where a user has requested the ability for golint to fail a build when there are warnings found. It was immediately dismissed by the maintainer and when some more people commented on the same issue, the maintainer added the requested feature almost a year later. Moreover, Git also seems a strong dislike from the Go community towards web frameworks. There are hundreds of developers who are now avoiding to use the frameworks as it’s practically impossible for them to choose any framework that will not be abandoned after you have started your project.
Summing Up Golang Programming Language!
I will simply suggest that before choosing Go programming or any other programming language, you should first be clear about the aim of your projects, its outcomes, and the desired output. If these three are covered by Golang then you should definitely use it. And if you are new to it then it will not be very difficult to learn Golang. If you are looking for the Golang installation instructions then that is also mentioned above.
Lastly, if you are new to Go programming but you are sure that you have to use it then you can check out the lists of top Golang IDEs & Code Editors that developers are using in 2020. And if you think we have missed something then do mention it in the comment section below.
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