Google, the God of everything IT related, released an open-source programming language Go, back in 2009. That’s probably not news to you, if you have anything to do with the IT world. However, what might have sneaked under your radar (as it did under mine) – is that starting from version 1.5 the language became compatible with the Android platform. Using Go language and Android together opens a lot of new opportunities for both people with app ideas in mind, and for developers, who bring these ideas to life.
Therefore, since Go is gaining momentum at a rapid pace, we’ve decided that now would be a good time to discuss what exactly does this programming language bring to the current world of app development.
So, strap in, brew a cup of tea and get ready for some education.
A little bit of history
Launched in 2009, Go Successfully simplifies countless development processes, and initially, the language was created for Google’s own indoor usage. Hence it handles exceptionally high-scale software development – lots of lines of code with many engineers working on it simultaneously – without hiccups.
As Go creators. themselves put it, the languages they were building their massive projects on, C++ and Java in most cases, didn’t present enough construction ease and fluidity, so they decided to come up with the programming language that would meet their needs.
Yes, Go is most suitable for building big server software that’s running on huge clusters, but its overall features benefit development of any scale. Especially native Android development.
Go and Android’s relationships
At this point in time, Go is not commonly used for building standalone Android apps – most of them are written in Java, which is a poor fit with Go.
Go’s 1.4 version release notes brought the official notion of Android support. Developers were warned though about the probability of a bumpy adaptation journey – the libraries were still under development.
Then, some of the programmers decided to put one foot in, so to speak, and use pieces of Go as libraries inside Java apps. Others – created apps entirely with Go using portable APIs, which at that point, provided a limited functionality in terms of graphic, video elements and so on.
Little by little, the practice of using Go for mobile began to evolve. Tools became more familiar to the developers’ crowd, and Go’s functionally – more extensive for native Android Apps, thanks to the richer APIs. Gomobile, for example, makes toolchain installation and app deployment easier to complete.
Such improvements made some enthusiasts believe that Go will soon replace Java as the main language for Native Android Development. Well, It didn’t happen yet but we’ll see.
To sum this chunk up we’ll say this – Go is incredibly efficient for building the server parts in the server/client systems (which we will discuss in great detail later in the article) but its usage for development of standalone Android apps is still on its way to becoming traditional.
Despite the degree of Go involvement you choose when creating an Android app – writing the whole thing in it, or using Go partially, as a library or as a language for building web services – here are some of its benefits that we feel you should know about.
The perks of using Go programming language
- Go is the easiest programming language to understand. A major problem with code in general is, for developers who didn’t write it, to figure it out. Go addresses this issue effectively – simplicity guides developers towards creating a clean, straightforward and high-quality code. These, among other characteristics, generate a lot of fuzz around Go – according to the feedback on the web, lots of software engineers are nuts for this new language.
For people who hire developers, such features might result in a solid cut of expenses. Since most programmers, even those who are unfamiliar with Go, only need as little as a day to pick it up and work efficiently. You won’t invest too much in their education. That is a definitive plus for a Start-up environment where every penny is accounted for.
Also, huge spendings on hiring top talents are not a thing anymore too – thanks to Go’s simplicity, even average developers can handle it effectively.
- Go is strongly typed. Though there’s not a universal agreement on how this term should be interpreted, the common understanding appears to be this: strongly typed languages leave no way for programmers to work around restrictions their type systems impose. That means – not many mistakes can make it through the code compilation stage with Go, instead, they become obvious and, thus, easy to fix. Besides contributing a lot to overall code quality, this feature saves a great deal of time on bug tracking for developers and, consequently, lots of money for those who hire them.
- Go keeps the compatibility promise. Despite the fact that multiple changes were implemented to Go programming language over the course of its evolution, most of the programs that were written on the early Go versions run and compile on the newer ones without any changes. That is due to the compatibility promise Go developers gave when releasing the 1.0 version of the language.
What does it mean to you, selfishly? There’s no need to jump through hoops to update your apps. With Go, such procedures require minimal effort, time and money expenses.
- Go is new. Though Go has been around since 2009, its support for Android platform was established only in 2014, with the release of 1.4 version. Therefore, it is still somewhat of a novelty for many Android app developers.
Considering how obsessed programmers are with experiments, writing in and examining a new programming language is going to be exciting for them, which will lead to passionate and enthusiastic work. When something is fun to do, it, typically, gets done faster, and in the realm of programming – faster means cheaper.
- Go is fast. To understand this benefit, let’s look at how a typical web, database driven app functions, particularly, at what is happening on its back-end. By back-end, in this instance, we mean services that operate on servers and handle requests sent to them by mobile apps.
In short, the app sends a request to the server, and, then receives the needed info from a database. In the context of social apps that necessary data are texts, pictures, video clips and so on – everything that is associated with social media. Okay, here’s the good news – if such services are built on Go, they will handle requests rapidly, which means that a huge amount of them will be processed, which means that fewer actual servers will be needed for processing. And since you, the guy who pays for everything, generally have to buy (rent) these servers – Go’s speed will be very beneficial to you financially.
- Go supports concurrent programming and, finally, simplifies it. Without being too technical (and boring) about it, we’ll provide such explanation – concurrent programs are those that have multiple components operating at overlapping time periods. Concurrent coding structure is the one that allows to develop an app in a form of composition of interacting processes that work together, simultaneously or not.
Generally, the idea of writing multitasking code scares lots of mediocre engineers, leaving just the top level ones (which cost $100-$150/hour) available for hire for grand tasks. Go might put a stop to that – concurrency is built-in in the language, and, what is even more important, it is easy to understand there. According to Rob Pike, one of Go’s founding fathers – a lot of people used Go to write concurrent programs who had never written a concurrent program before, and found it, actually, quite easy to do. That, to us, is a revolutionary change in a current state of affairs in programming. Since even average developers, whose rate is below $100/hour are now able to write complex applications without much hassle, the average cost of developing an app might drop dramatically when Go becomes more widespread.
- Go goes further in saving your time. Another advantage we should list is Go’s renowned automatic garbage collection. Roughly speaking, this function eases up the code writing process, by automatically restoring the memory that the program or processes within the program use, once there’s no longer a need to use it. In other words, it is an effective memory management – a task so hellishly exhausting on languages like C and C++, where it must be done manually. It also ensures that the code won’t ever reach its memory quota, and, thus stop functioning.
Since garbage collection isn’t a concern for Go developers, writing the code becomes way simpler for them. Especially considering that Go improves this feature, by shortening the expected latency with each new release.
The features mentioned above, surely, do not describe Go completely – there is a lot more to this programming language that can be packed into one article. However, the info provided here is aimed at introducing this language, and describing its main characteristics, the purpose we, hopefully, completed. In case you’ve already got an idea and want to use Go programming language to build Android apps – Diligences will gladly help you! Contact us right now to have your raw concept turned into an advanced live app seamlessly.