Golang vs Java comparison. Why are more and more companies moving from Java to Golang?

The aim with Go was simple: Google wanted to improve productivity by designing a tool fit for their growing needs, including support for multicore CPUs whose share in the market was growing with each day.



Advantages of Golang

As it was built just 13 years ago, it’s much newer than Java and other languages. Thanks to that, it is more adapted to modern times and technology. The most important difference is that due to its young age, it’s built around multicore CPUs, which means that the development of applications using multi-threads is much easier while apps are more reliable. Also, it comes with memory safety, a rubbish collector, and a great handle of concurrency.


The decision to build a new language came with the fact that with years of experience developers could design Go as a fast and versatile language, easier to learn, with syntax more accessible, and make it scalable for bigger projects. This coupled with simplified ways to switch from other programming languages and a big community around Google make Golang a future-proof and safe choice for your project.


The number of uses for Go is rising each day. Besides web services, it can be used for big data, audio/video software, machine learning, networking, software engineering, and more. Similarly, more and more big companies are using Go in their projects. For example, Uber, Alibaba, Twitch, Twitter, Netflix, Dailymotion, and more!


Go vs Java – direct comparison

Java doesn’t need an introduction – it is much older than Go which means it’s much more popular and more refined. Similar to Go it’s a general-purpose object-oriented programming language, but through the years it has narrowed its field of operations. Syntax was based on C and C++, but the mechanics are different. A compiled Java code runs on Java Virtual Machine (JVM) and can work on every platform which supports it, which in reality means it can work pretty much on any machine.


Of course, both languages have their pros and cons, but where lies the difference?


Java vs Go Usage – what are the key differences?

According to a Stack Overflow survey, Java is mostly used for client-server web applications. It was designed for web services, including big systems like banking apps. You’ll often meet interactive JavaScript web pages with a backend made in Java (which communicates with a server also written in Java). It’s safe language as there’s full support from the developers.


On the other hand, Go was designed with a much broader aim: Web development, cloud and network services, command-line interfaces, development operations, and more.


Both programming languages have a wide usage spectrum although Java is more focused on the web service, while Go can also be used in the software. It is also worth mentioning that Go is faster than Java as Java just wasn’t designed to be as fast as possible.


Programming language Maturity

As we said previously – Java is an older language, which means it’s more popular and more refined. Many advantages come with that: it’s easier to find professionals skilled in Java, and its involvement in the banking system means it will be alive for a very long time (Java is displacing Cobol as the go-to language used by banks). Oracle is still supporting it and there are no plans to stop it anytime soon.


As a younger project Go is nowhere near as popular as Java, but that doesn’t mean it’s not good. It started as a Google internal language suited for their needs, but it evolved into a tool that gets adopted by bigger companies. As it’s newer and backed up by a giant like Google, it’s a safe bet that it will expand even more and convince more professionals to learn and use it.


Programmer Community

Java is an older and more mature programming language; therefore, its community is simply bigger. According to the 2021 Stack Overflow most popular technologies survey, Java is the fifth most popular language, with 35.35% of users declaring using it. Above are only the biggest names: JavaScript, HTML/CSS, Python, and SQL.


Go is further away at 14th place, with only 9.55% of users declaring to use it. This, of course, is to be expected considering what was said earlier – it’s normal for newer languages to have smaller communities.


Stack Overflow is doing such surveys each year, so we can easily check the dynamics of Java and Go. Three years earlier, Java was also in fifth place, but with 45.3% of users declaring the usage, while Go was in 16th position with only 7.1% of users declaring the use of it. This clearly shows that although Java is in the lead right now, soon it may be an “old news” while Go is gaining more popularity each year and there is no sign of slowing down.


Tools and Frameworks

Ongoing narration won’t change here. With a long history, a bigger community, and more programmers working with Java, there are more frameworks and other tools than anyone can count. Golang might look bland vs Java in this topic, but there’s nothing to worry about. A number of frameworks will rise together with the community and people involved.


Both provide tools needed to expand their possibilities with a small difference: for Java they’re coming from the community, while Google has the manpower to develop some of them by themselves.


Coding Consistency

Consistency is the key to success. It leads to habits, and these form the actions we take every day. This can apply to every programming language, as no one wanted to develop a tool that would be illogical or to put it more simply: complicated to use. Of course, the benchmark to what ‘easy’ means is evolving together with IT and technology overall. 


When Java was designed by James Gosling in 1995 its syntax was modelled after C++ although this is the only similarity as the developer wanted to omit what he thought were mistakes in C. Go designers (Robert Griesemer, Rob Pike, and Ken Thompson) followed a similar idea. They wanted to produce a programming language that learns from the mistakes of older ones. If, for example, you’re a programmer writing in C++ Go will feel superior to Java.


Summarizing – Golang is easy to learn, fast and scalable

Why does Golang grow in popularity? The easiest answer here is: because it was made by (and for) Google. Of course, there is more to it. With a long history of making new languages and omitting mistakes of its predecessors, Go is one of the newest entries. It’s built with modern technologies in mind, easy to learn, fast and scalable. Simplicity makes a better syntax, clear code, and easier to find errors. It’s great for young developers, who won’t have to learn more complicated code, as it’s not needed anymore. 


Golang can run several concurrent processes independently and built-in concurrency enables efficient processing of data without blocking, which is important for CPU-intensive operations and cloud computing. Go makes your apps and services faster, which might be the deciding factor not only for you, but for your users in particular. 


As we also proved before thanks to GitHub surveys, Go in contrast to Java is more popular each year. It’s the programming language that is still long before its peak popularity, it will attract more professionals and is better suited for young people who just entered the market. ‘Future-proof’ is the best term that you can use to describe Go. Couple it with backup from a giant as Google and you receive a language with a great future. A future is even more bright as it includes a well-thought way of switching to it from other languages and can be a great choice when you need to scale up your Java project.


FAQ about Go

Should I choose Go?

Honestly, you can’t go wrong with Go. It’s a programming language that will serve your project well for years to come. Thanks to the Google behind it, you can be sure that someone is always working on upgrades and that the community will grow. 


Unless your project aims for a really specific niche where other languages might be better suited, Go is always a better choice.


Should I switch to Go?

As Go was designed to make a switch less complicated than in other languages, it’s always a matter of details that can’t be covered in a ‘one-size-fits-all’ answer. You are welcome to contact us at GoSolve to schedule a meeting, where we will ask for the details about your project. After the meeting, we perform an analysis, may ask for additional resources, and come back to you to present the results which should help you make the best decision.

Golang (or Go in short) is a breath of fresh air in the coding market. A long-needed shakeup in the stale programming market with a cute gopher as a mascot. Its development was started in 2007 by designers Robert Griesemer, Rob Pike, and Ken Thompson.

Written by Yanick

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