First impressions of Go

I have been in search for a language I can use for web programming, writing computationally intensive and general scripting among other things. The language that came close to fitting all of these things was Racket, a dialect of Chicken Lisp. It can even do geometry drawings. However, there were issues with it so I ended up concluding it wasn’t that language in was in search of.

I started learning Go some time ago and, at first, found its syntax backwards. Declaring types after variable names was hard to get used to. And, the syntax for writing “classes” is even more weird. However, when I found out that Go supported concurrency (and parallelism) natively, I was intrigued. On a side note: default Python and Ruby interpreters do not support parallelism. PHP has some support through pthreads but using it could mean you not being able to use other extensions.

If you want to have a true parallel app in Ruby or Python you have to get the interpreter that runs on JVM. So, you Ruby code is run by the Ruby interpreter which is running on JVM. Ruby and Python support concurrency but their threads run one at a time. So, no parallelism.

Once you get past the syntax weirdness, Go is actually a pretty cool language. It makes it easy to write concurrent apps. They call them “go routines”. From what I have learned, go routines are cheaper to create and maintain than normal threads and the way Go is designed, it is very easy to communicate between threads (using channels). And, all of this makes sense since one of the goals of Go was to make multi-threaded network applications.

Those used to dynamic languages might find it a bit difficult to work with Go in the beginning as it is strongly typed. I was, however, able to adjust pretty easily (then again I have done C++, Java and C# in the past). Your mileage may vary but I highly recommend trying it out. You might like it.

By Moazzam

Moazzam is a software developer working in the big apple. He has over a decade of experience in development. While most of his work involves developing web applications, he does development for Android and Windows Mobile in his spare time.

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