An introduction to the Go (Golang) programming language

Strengths, weaknesses and applications of Go in contemporary software development

BlogUPDATED ON February 1, 2022

Cover image for blog post introducing the programming language Go(lang)

Go is an open source (OS) programming language designed at Google as the antidote to what the tech giants saw as limitations of the languages being used at the time, especially C++. As Google’s already huge codebase expanded in the late noughties and the era of multicore, networked machines and beginnings of the cloud computing revolution arrived, the tech giant’s top software engineers weren’t satisfied with the programming languages they had to rely on.

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Is it Go or Golang?

Go (sometimes mistakenly referred to as Golang as a result of the original domain was designed to improve the productivity of programming for these new environments. The idea was to retain the positive qualities of the programming languages Google designed it to replace, like C’s static typing and run-time efficiency and the readability and usability of Python and JavaScript. But to introduce higher performance networking and multiprocessing capabilities as well as greater efficiency that would optimise codebase size and make Go a perfect fit for the new generation of software designed to run in the cloud.

Go 1.0 was released in early spring 2012 and is today heavily used by Google across products including Google Chrome, Google Earth, YouTube and Google App Engine. Other big-name companies that have relied on Go to build and improve core software products include Uber, Twitch, SoundCloud, Docker, SendGrid and Dropbox.

In this blog, we’ll introduce you to Go’s technical qualities, strengths, weaknesses and common applications.

Introducing Go – a statically typed, compiled programming language designed by Google’s finest

Go was announced by Google in 2009, by which time three of its top engineers, Robert Griesemer, Rob Pike and Ken Thompson, were already developing version 1.0. It was launched as an open source project in 2012 and quickly gained popularity with each passing year thanks to its suitability for cloud-native development. It’s particularly popular with software developers for its

  • Type-safety.
  • Rich standard library.
  • Garbage collection, and;
  • Dynamic interfaces.

Can Go be used for front end development?

While Go can be used in front end development via the source-to-source compiler GopherJS, which compiles Go to JavaScript, we’re not big fans of using the language in this context. We would normally stick to the main JavaScript frameworks and libraries in a frontend context. But it does have other strengths. especially in back end development, where it can often be considered as an alternative to Node.js or Python.

Use cases for coding in Go – when do we use it?

Below, we have outlined some of the applications Golang is perfectly suited for and often used by K&C’s software development teams:

Real-time applications development

Go is popular for the development of real-time applications and software like:

  • Chat and instant messaging apps
  • Videoconferencing applications
  • Online gaming
  • Community storage solutions
  • Embedded software systems

Networking development

Go is now used extensively in networking solutions and can be particularly effective for those involving Docker, which is written in Go. Go features goroutines and channels which were designed to meet modern tech demand. Go attributes, such as speed of development and deployment, also work perfectly for this task.

Cloud infrastructure

Golang provides on-demand access to shared computer processing, allowing you to process your data on a private cloud or a third-party server. It is also worth noting that the well-known Google Cloud and Docker platform were developed using Golang.


Microservices refer to a service-oriented software architecture that structures an application, breaks it down into smaller services and makes it easier to understand, develop and test. Go-kit provides specialized support for microservices, such as infrastructure integration and system observability perfectly suited to coding this kind of cloud-native architecture.

Go: Pros and Cons

Like every programming language, Go has both strengths and weaknesses. Based on our experience, we have compiled a list of pros and cons for productive use of the language:

GoLang Pros

  • High speedGo is fast in compiling projects and can even be applied for editing directly on the web.
  • Compatibility with C language this feature, particularly the cgo command, enables the use of extensive C libraries.
  • A rich library – an expanded standard library covers many specific areas. Golang has a fully working web server as a part of its standard library.
  • Documentation as a standard feature – software engineers can more easily document their code and generate human-readable data out of source code comments.

GoLang Cons

  • Relatively young ecosystem – books, online courses and active developer community forums focused on Go are still scarce compared to more established alternatives like Python and Node.js. However, that is now changing so can be considered a weakness that is fading away.
  • Tooling limitationsGo’s tooling is inconvenient. On the surface, it has some really useful tools but limitations to them often become evident.
  • Steep learning curve while Go is a user-friendly language, it isn’t easy to learn and fixing bugs can be a particular frustration for those less experienced with it.

How popular is Go as a programming language?

According to Tiobe data, Go is, as of December 2021, the 19th most used programming language in the world. While it has slipped from 16th position a year ago, Go’s utility in cloud development and technologies will continue to ensure its place as one of the languages the most lines of code are written in for years to come.

If you need to hire a development team or team extension that includes Go expertise in its tech stack for a current or upcoming project, please do get in touch. We’d love to hear about what you have planned and contribute towards its optimal execution!

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