GoLang: USP, Use Cases and How it Stacks Up Against Its Competitors
GoLang is relatively a new programming language designed by Google. It is Open-Source and used by software developers in various OS, web applications, cloud applications, and other types of software.
It was developed in 2007 to simplify the software development process, as most of the languages at that time were complex to use. Ken Thompson, Rob Pike, and Robert Griesemer were the ones who developed it.
GoLang was designed to be simple to use yet build complex programming systems. It has clean syntax, steady performance, a smart library, and solid security.
Unique Features of GoLang Programming Language
There are many programming languages around but GoLand has some unique features which separates it from the rest. Let’s have a look at some of the unique features GoLang offers.
This is GoLanguage's most famous feature, which allows processing in parallel over the number of available cores on the computer. This feature makes the most sense when the processes are separate and do not rely on each other. In this case, time performance is critical.
This feature is vital in input/output requirements, where reading or writing to a disk or network is much slower than all other processes.
You can use the "go" keyword before a function invocation to run that function concurrently.
Concurrency in Go is an in-depth and advanced feature, but wherever it fits in, it provides a potent way to ensure the optimal performance of your program.
GoLang generates binaries with all dependencies built-in for the applications. So, you don't have to install runtimes that are necessary for running those applications. This feature makes it easy to deploy applications and provide necessary updates across installations.
GoLang provides support for multiple Operating Systems and processor architectures, which is a big advantage of this language.
No Centrally Hosted Service
Projects are shared via source code repositories (GitHub), and then go install command line allows downloading repositories this way.
Centrally hosted dependency services like Marven Central, NPM, and PIP are like black boxes. They prevent the hassle of downloading and installing dependencies, but when a dependency error occurs, it is difficult to debug.
GoLang does not have a central service, and therefore the process of installing and managing your Go project dependency is very clear.
If you want to make your module available to other developers, it is as simple as putting it in a version control system.
Programs often have to release and clean up resources, files, and connections. Go has a defer keyword which can manage this task efficiently.
Any statement which is preceded by deferring delays that function until the surrounding function exits. This simply means that you can place clean up/tear down code at the top of a function and rest assured that it will execute once it completes.
In coding, you would have heard the design mantra, "Favor composition over inheritance" This basically means you should break your business logic into different interfaces and not rely on the hierarchical inheritance of properties from a parent class.
Another well-known adage is, "Program to an interface, not an implementation." This means that an API should only publish its method signatures and not details about how the behavior is implemented.
Both these sayings point to the critical importance of interfaces in modern programming.
GoLang has support for interfaces; in fact, interfaces are the only abstract type in Go. Unlike other languages, in GoLang, interfaces are not implemented explicitly but implicitly.
A concrete type will not declare that it implements an interface; rather, in GoLang, the object implements the interface. This type of implicit interface implementation, called structured typing, allows GoLang to enforce both decoupling and type safety.
On the other hand, explicit interfaces bind the client and implementation together, which makes replacing a dependency comparingly more difficult.
In GoLang, errors are handled in a different way as compared to other programming languages. In this programming language, errors are handled by returning a value of type error as the last return value for a function.
If a function is executed as expected, nil is returned for the error parameter, else error value is returned. The calling function will check the error return value and handles the error, or it will showcase an error of its own.
GoLang operates in this way due to specific reasons. It forces programmers to think about exceptions and handle them properly.
The orthodox try-catch exceptions also add at least one new path through the code. They also indent the code in a manner that is difficult to follow.
GoLang, on the other hand, prefers to treat the "happy path" as non-intended code. If there are any errors, they are identified and returned before the "happy path" is completed.
Functional Programming Features
Functional programming is an effective, creative programming model, and GoLang incorporates the best features of the same. In GoLang:
- Functions have values, which means they can be added as values to a map. They can be passed as parameters to other functions. These functions are called higher-order functions.
- Anonymous functions can be created and invoked.
- Functions declared inside other functions allow for closures.
In GoLang, when you supply a primitive, i.e., number, boolean or string, or a struct as a parameter to a function, GoLang makes a copy of the value of the variable.
This effectively means that any changes made to the object in the receiving function are reflected in the original object.
In GoLang, structs and primitives are default passed by value and have the option of passing a pointer through the use of an asterisk operator.
There is a clear distinction between Call-by-value versus Call-by-reference.
Unit testing is brought into the language itself by GoLang. The language provides a simple way to write your unit tests in parallel with the code.
GoLang tools also provide support for understanding code coverage by your tests and writing example code. This helps in generating code documentation.
Comparison Chart - GoLang vs Java vs Python
Use Cases of GoLang
Having seen the unique features of GoLang programming language, let’s have a look at how it is being used in the business world. The use cases belong to different sectors giving you a gist about how GoLang can be used.
(image source: PayPal)
The payment processing giant was able to increase the development speed with GoLang. The company operates a payment system in many countries worldwide, providing users with easy and secure payments.
Any company which is growing quickly needs to be at the top in every aspect, and technology is no exception. PayPal was a platform that was becoming more complicated with every passing day. So, they decided to try a new programming language.
For PayPal, fast transactions and high availability are important. As a result, developers' productivity becomes a must to meet these requirements. This means that the programming languages they write should be secure, fast, and easy at the same time.
They were using C++, which was good, but it slowed down the software developer's work. GoLang turned out to be the appropriate language for developing, testing, and pipeline release.
After GoLang was implemented, engineers noticed a reduction in CPU usage by 10%. Within a period of 6 months, the development process was optimized. Programmers now solve tasks efficiently as they don't have to focus on code fighting.
(Image source: Allegro)
Allegro is a famous eCommerce giant in Europe, of which 135 thousand vendors attract 22 million customers. It is a very large marketplace that was founded in Poland, serving millions of users and storing a lot of data.
They wanted to support the system's reliability under high loads. As a result, Allegro decided to develop a fast cash service having the capacity to handle numerous entries, which get deleted after some time.
Before using GoLang, PayPal had tried Python, Java, and PHP, which are more complicated and provide lower performance. GoLang was a comparatively easier language with high compilation speed and effective memory management.
PayPal used the function FreeCashe available in Go, and the outcome was that the longest request, which used to take 2.5 seconds, speeded up to 250 ms.
(Image Source: Twitch)
Twitch is a video streaming platform in the USA for video game live streaming and other entertainment content. The platform receives simultaneous requests from over 30,000 users every day.
Twitch streams over 2 million concurrent videos, and its chat service delivers over 10 billion messages per day. Along with that, Web APIs used by the company handles more than 50 thousand requests per second.
For Twitch, high availability and reliability are absolutely necessary. Most of its users stick with Twitch because they don't get any unexpected problems. As a result, Twitch has chosen GoLang for a large part of their highly loaded systems:
- Transcode system is implemented with both Go and C++
- For providing the highest quality video, GoLang is used
- Chat service uses GoLang
Due to the advantages of Go, including Scalability, Simplicity, multithreading system, and good concurrency, the programming language has no competitors at Twitch.
Engineers at Twitch created their own Remote Procedure Control(RPC) framework using tools in GoLang.
(image source: Uber)
Uber has been using Node.js and Python Shop, but now the company has started using GoLang extensively for its new services.
Uber has coded a large number of its services in GoLang, and Geobase is one of them. This service matches riders to drivers. The highlights of usage of GoLang at Uber include:
- GoLang generally takes only a few days for a C++, Java, or Node.js developer to learn.
- The service handled a peak load of 170 Queries Per Second with 40 machines running at 35% CPU usage on NYE 2015
- It had 99.99% uptime since inception. The one downtime which happened was caused due to programming error & file descriptor leak bug in a third-party library. This shows that GoLang is very reliable.
(image source: Riot Games)
Riot Games was founded in the year 2006 with the motive of creating player-focused games. In 2009, League of Legends was released, which went on to become the most-played PC game ever.
Riot's choice of languages for service are GoLang and Java, which are easy to package and deploy. GoLang is used at Riot for a number of reasons, including:
Deployment Tool: It is used to manage the lifecycle of services running in our Docker runtime
Reduce Latency: It is used to minimize latency in forwarding logs and metrics to backend platforms such as New Relic.
Used to build the entire backend microservice architecture, including spinning up and managing a game server process to purchasing items.
(image source: American Express)
American Express is a well-known company across the globe that provides payment card services to businesses as well as individuals.
It has several products and financial solutions serving billions of people across the globe with high availability. As the number of transactions per second keeps growing, the firm regularly upgrades its architecture to make its processes as fast as possible.
Before making use of GoLang, the company tried Java, Node.js, and C++. The company's engineers decided to use GoLang and compared it with the languages used before.
GoLang performed well, with 140,000 requests per second, and its toolset appeared to be perfect for the company's goals.
GoLang provided American Express with a fast and scalable development process. It helped them to upgrade payment and rewards processing. GoLang also became the primary language for microservices architecture.
(image source: MercadoLibre)
MercadoLibre is an online store for auctioning and retailing. It is based in Buenos Aires and is a leading firm in its domain in Latin America.
Their user base and the number of transactions are constantly increasing. The eCommerce firm is also adding new features and looking at scalability constantly. Although with the previous stack, API framework, scaling was a difficult task.
As a result, they decided to use GoLang and see how it performed. GoLang provided them with simplicity, scalability, and up-to-date tools. MercadoLibre modernized its software and got great results in scalability.
GoLang helped the firm with an increase in the speed of processing requests. They were now able to process a request in 10 milliseconds. They needed much lesser servers than they used before, and CPU usage was reduced by half.
Thus, MercadoLibre was able to save a lot of resources.
(image source: Solarisbank)
Solarisbank is a tech company with a full German license. They provide a Banking-as-a-Service platform to enable businesses to offer financial products using APIs like Payments, cards, Digital Banking, and lending.
GoLang is used by the company's multiple teams in the following areas:
Core Banking: To build banking systems such as SEPA and SWIFT
Auth Team: Authentication & Authorization systems
Data Platform Team: For turning raw data into knowledge
(image source: Dropbox)
Dropbox is a cloud solutions provider which allows you to store files and other content. The firm owes a large part of its success to Python, which helped them to iterate and develop quickly.
With a growing user base, they were looking for a platform that could help in scaling in a more efficient manner. Therefore, they migrated some critical back end from Python to GoLang, increasing execution speed and leveraging better concurrency support.
However, this required about 200,000 lines of code in GoLang, which was accomplished by a small team of engineers.
Along with that, Dropbox made use of several GoLang libraries, which enabled them to improve standard error interface and caching.
(image source: SoundCloud)
SoundCloud was incorporated in 2007 and is an online audio distribution platform. It became immensely popular in as many as 190 countries. SoundCloud has millions of active users listening to over 300 million tracks.
The company adopted GoLang as a simple yet powerful language. It helped SoundCloud in faster development, testing, and deployment of its app.
GoLang being statically typed and compiled, and SoundCloud uses it for unit testing during development.
Programmers at SoundCloud state that with GoLang, they focus on problem-solving and not the language. GoLang provides only one way to do a particular task, and therefore they don't have to spend time choosing a way of code writing.
Even programmers who don't want to spend much time learning GoLang can quickly start writing simple and clear code.
Additionally, half a dozen services of SoundCloud are written in GoLang, along with a dozen repositories. Programmers at SoundCloud resort to GoLang when developing new backend projects.
GoLang can be used in various sectors, which include Fintech, banking, entertainment, retail, and eCommerce. Like other programming languages, GoLang also has its pros and cons. Pros include simplicity, flexibility, speed of execution, and reliability.
These features make GoLang an ideal choice for web development, APIs, databases, systems, and servers.
Cons include the fact that migrating to GoLang takes a lot of effort. It is not recommended to go with GoLang if you are in the early stages of your business development or testing your business model.
It is expected to be used by a large number of corporations as 5G, IoT data, and cloud solutions become more widely used. So, what are; you waiting for? Go for GoLang.
Impressed with GoLang as a programming language and looking for top companies who can do software development with GoLang, check out this list by Goodfirms.
Victor Ortiz is a Content Marketer with GoodFirms. He likes to read & blog on technology-related topics and is passionate about traveling, exploring new places, and listening to music.
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