In this post, we take a closer look at Node.js and Go in order to uncover the strengths and weaknesses of each language. (For further information on Go, check out our podcast with developer Mat Ryer – speaker, author and Go enthusiast – where he outlined how Go can offer significant advantages to modern businesses.)
What is Node.js?
What is Golang?
According to the Go home page:
“Go is an open-source programming language that makes it easy to build simple, reliable, and efficient software”
Rather than being an evolutionary language, the creators have done a complete rethink of programming. They’ve gone back to the first principles of C and built from there. This is what gives Go its unique properties. The most important of these is a simple and effective way of dealing with concurrent programming properties. In addition, this novel programming approach allows for potentially huge performance improvements over other languages.
For this reason, some huge projects have now switched over to Go. Both Dropbox and Docker have now chosen Go to develop their massive, concurrent applications.
Concurrency and Scalability
This is where Go excels. The reason the teams at Docker, and Dropbox use Go is that they have very large applications that need things to be done in parallel. Go has a completely different approach to concurrent programming than other languages. It manages threads with things called ‘goroutines’ that handle communication in parallel very effectively. This means concurrent tasks that normally get very complicated, can be done simply and intuitively with Go.
Tools for developers
Best Practices and Conventions
A “that will do” attitude
Scalability issues with callbacks
This can be a problem for developers and those that hire developers. It’s hard to break old habits, and it’s hard to find developers with good habits. On the other hand, Go fundamentally encourages good programming practice. Google designed it so that large teams could work on large projects effectively and easily.
Which is best?
This depends on a variety of factors such as:
Type of project
The current skill level of your developers
The size you intend to scale to in the future
Any skilled development team will know what languages and tools to use for a given project. The important thing is to define your requirements well. There are no silver bullets in software development. Every choice you make is a trade-off that will bring its own set of pros and cons. Discover why we’re different from other IT recruitment agencies.