The Rise of Go: A Fast and Efficient Programming Language
Developed by Google engineers with a view of creating reliable and efficient software, Golang (generally known as Go) is an open source programming language that’s often referred to as ‘the language of the cloud’. Essentially, many organisations are now writing back-end distribution systems with this tool.
Easy to learn and get started with, while offering built-in concurrency and a robust standard library, Go is establishing an ever-growing ecosystem of partners, communities and tools, and is one of the fastest compiling programming languages available. With the demands for concurrency increasing against a need for a programming language that enables concurrent programs to be implemented too, Go has a proven reputation for meeting this requirement.
Designed by and for individuals that write, read, debug and maintain large software systems, because Go is compiled to machine code, it can easily outperform languages that are interpreted or have virtual run-times.
Here, we’ll give you an overview of why Go is such an effective tool, how it compares with other programming languages, and how Mobica has used the code for projects that it’s been involved with.
What are the main benefits to Go?
There are five key benefits to Go:
- Easy to maintain and debug
- Quick to learn
How does Go compare with Python and other coding languages?
While a relatively young language when compared with Python, tests have proven that Go is approximately 30-40 times faster than Python because of the fact it’s a compiled language. For systems requiring high performance, then, Go is a better alternative. It even fares well when compared with languages such as C/C++, with its compilation times outperforming these too.
Go also offers greater scalability due to built-in multi-threading. If a thread is a small sequence of instructions that can be performed independently by a processor, multi-threading, then, is possible in a process when resources such as instructions and context are shared. How well a system can manage multi-threaded processes can have a considerable impact on efficiency levels and performance.
In Go, this is achieved through goroutines. These do not require a large amount of memory - taking up only 2kb - and should almost be viewed as lightweight threads. They can grow and shrink depending on the application’s requirements. In contrast, the stack size of a thread has to be specified and is fixed.
Goroutines allow a developer to use a large number of parallel tasks, and are extremely easy to use, thanks to tools such as the built-in data race detector. While typically hard to trace, this tool enables occurrences of race conditions to be easily identified. In contrast, Python does not have native threading support.
Go is also statically typed. Therefore, it does not need to check types dynamically while executing, delivering better performance as a result. In Python, errors are more often detected at the time of code execution, whereas any errors can be found at the compiling stage with Go.
For software developers, Go is easy to learn too, particularly if they’re skilled in languages such as Java or C++. While there are differences in syntax and keywords, most tech experts would find they can become well-acquainted with Go extremely fast, as it’s based on the same procedural approach that programmers can quickly adopt. While Python does offer advanced options, such as adding a function to the list of built-in functions, these can often impact the readability of the code.
Finally, even though the development time for a Go solution might be longer than one built in Python, the need to optimise the code is reduced, offering a great advantage to smaller development teams.
What experience does Mobica have with Go?
We recently used Go on a project for a major client in the silicon sector, developing an edge networking solution. The business was seeking to move applications from a single data centre to multiple geo-locations across their own network. This decentralised approach would serve to reduce latency, accelerate analytics, and simplify scaling, even over LTE and 5G networks.
Our engineers developed and tested microservices of various levels, which are part of the Kubernetes multi-cluster deployment process. The development of these back-end microservices was completed in Go, as well as low-level architecture.
We also developed plug-in solutions in Go, which served to improve application response time, lower latency, and prioritise applications according to need. These also improved predictability, which enables more servers to be added to compute a problem, more end users to be served, and ensure greater consistency is achieved in meeting a customer’s service-level agreements.
The solution we devised consists of three main elements. Firstly, a device plug-in that is responsible for resource management. Secondly, the container network interface, responsible for creating a network namespace. Finally, a network priority that includes a watcher on the directory, which inspects any new subdirectories that have been created, checks if there are any requests, and then releases these resources.
We also created tools that assisted with automation for a security scanning process, as well as backend development to visualise the scan results. This was all part of our client moving to a DevSecOps approach.
We have also been responsible for developing, benchmarking and testing support systems for the new infrastructure processing solutions, which would allow for possible upgrades to offload some protocol elements into the hardware.
What opportunities does Go present?
Go, then, presents a number of opportunities for software developers and businesses. Allowing for faster and more cost-effective development, Go outperforms other programming languages. As a concurrent language, it can be used to run multiple processes at the same time, with goroutines that communicate fast and securely, and do not have big memory requirements. It’s safe, too, with its statistically typed language ensuring errors can easily be detected. And given Google’s prominence, there’s no question that Go - as a programming language that backs Google - will continue to receive support and updates from the platform going forward.
For developers, Go is easy to use and understand. Those proficient in programming languages such as Java and C++ will find picking up Go a straight-forward process. And with the rise of Go showing no signs of slowing down, being skilled in this programming language will stand any software talent in good stead when it comes to their career, with this tool increasingly in demand.