Go (often referred to as golang) originated as an experiment by Google engineers Robert Griesemer, Rob Pike, and Ken Thompson to design a programming language that would resolve common criticisms of other languages while maintaining their positive characteristics. Go was conceived at Google in 2007.
The new language was to:
- be statically typed, to ease delivery
- be scale on large systems
- be productive and readable, with few keywords, “light on the page” like dynamic languages
- include strong developer tooling
- be platform independent supporting Linux, windows, and Mac OS X (amd64, 386, and arm)
- be cloud and networking ready
- leverage multi-core multiprocessors
- be free and open source (FOSS)
- be fast (rivaling C and C++)
Go is recognizably in the tradition of C, but makes many changes to improve conciseness, simplicity, and safety.
Two things are most impressive about Go: compiling to static binaries, and concurrent processing.
Static binaries are easy to deploy, and maintain. Applications written in .Net, Ruby, Python, or PHP have versioning incompatibilities and package requirements that, when unmet, can be frustrating. Statically bound binaries in Go run without any external dependencies.
Write “go” before any function in Go and it runs in a go routine, a lightweight thread managed by the Go runtime. Channels allow concurrent functions to share data by communicating.
Are there any companies using Go?
Surely, there are some notable companies using this relatively new language. Of course, Google uses the language for many of its projects – most of them confidential. Netflix currently uses go for two portions of their server architecture. Uber, the car sharing company uses go to handle high volumes of geofend-based queries. Strava uses go to serve maps for the world’s athletes. Dropbox has recently migrated some of their critical components from Python to Go. Other users of Go include Facebook, GitHub, and Intel.
Adoption of Go has steadily increased since its release. Today, Go popularity ranks 9% that of the most widely used language, java! In just a few years, go has entered the mainstream of computer languages.
DRC delivered its first golang component this year, and we’re excited to be using Go. Watch out for what comes next!
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