You can of course build a REST API by yourself, but frameworks are powerful tools, built to offer a user simplified ways of doing things, in this case: REST API. A framework is essentially a tool built for one purpose with features and libraries. As it’s pre-built you can also be sure that it works and it eliminates the need to do it yourself. And this means that’s an easy way to suit it to your needs.
Considering everything above, most projects choose the proper framework at some point. Since Go is equally suitable for enterprise and small projects, you only have to pick a matching library to build a restful API with Golang. The choice might be challenging, as Go has been around long enough to have numerous solutions available. We will go through some of the most popular options.
Gin – fast framework to build REST API with Go
Gin Web Framework allows you to build web applications and microservices in Golang. It is based on Martini-like API but claims to be 40 times faster. Gin also seems to be the most popular option out there.
Gin library is minimalistic and supports only the most essential features, making it lean and appropriate even for systems with limited power.
Gin is fast, as it uses radix tree-based routing to speed things up. You can also group different routes, i.e. different API versions. This can be done infinitely without any degradation in performance.
Middleware support is also crucial because it enables multiple middlewares to handle an incoming HTTP request. So, it is possible to first use Logger, then Authorization, and in the end, handle the request itself. Creating your own middleware is an easy job too.
Starting to use Gin is much simpler with its thorough documentation. Thanks to this, even beginners can learn to use it quickly, and handling errors/issues is much simpler.
Supported data formats: JSON, XML and HTML.
Gin is genuinely minimalistic, and to extend it, you would have to use third-party solutions. It is fine if you can find some that are well-supported and reliable, but overall this is a tricky aspect.
Beego – Golang web framework focused on high performance and modularity
Beego is an open-source framework that offers a wide range of features when the codebase stays relatively small. It is built with modularity in mind, meaning it contains 8 loosely coupled modules that can be used independently or as a set. It also follows an MVC architecture.
These 2 factors make it perfect for enterprise applications that need flexibility and to limit their dependencies on third-party resources.
Beego offers numerous features. It includes loggers, caching, or even a command-line tool. But not only that – it also supports an ORM out of the box. Using the ORM makes integrating a database with sessions or logging features is much easier. In addition, you can monitor your QPS along with CPU and memory usage.
Usage of native Go HTTP package makes it fast and efficient. Thanks to this, an app built with Beego can handle tremendous traffic. It is another variable that makes it suitable for large-sized projects.
And if you encounter any issues? Not to worry. Beego has great community support, and therefore it is easy to find a solution to an error.
Beego can be simply too big and has too many features for a beginner to learn. Therefore, it is intended for more advanced Golang programmers.
Unfortunately, this framework might be an overkill for a small project – the MVC architecture requirement and the overall advancement of this Golang framework could be too much for a simple REST API.
Echo – a simple but extensible restful framework for Go
Echo framework is minimalistic at its core but is easily extensible as well. Therefore, this framework is scalable and can be used for small and large projects.
The most considerable quality of Echo is a refined HTTP router with zero dynamic memory allocation. The router is excellent at smartly prioritizing routes.
An interesting Echo’s functionality is an automatic installation of TSL certificates from Let’s Encrypt. Templates usage is another one – this feature empowers you to use any template engine to render templates with Echo.
Other than that, Echo supports HTTP/2, improving speed and providing a better user experience. It contains lots of handy middleware out of the box to make it more useful. In addition, it lets developers write their own.
Echo’s developers take good care of documentation – this aspect is always a great match for either large or pint-sized projects. Good documentation means it should be easier to resolve any issues or errors.
Supported data formats – JSON, XML, HTML, File, Attachment, Inline, Stream or Blob.
Chi – build a REST API that scales with your requirements
Chi is a lightweight router for building RESTful APIs. Its primary purpose is to support large REST API services and be composable to grow and change with your needs.
Chi works with net/HTTP. You can use any HTTP or middleware package compatible with net/HTTP. This comes with another asset – no external dependencies required, as Chi is based upon Go stdlib + net/HTTP package. This way, you don’t risk issues caused by a lack of support from third-party implementations.
Chi was designed for modular/composable APIs. You can add and use middlewares, inline middlewares, route groups, and sub-router mounting.
While using all of the above features, Chi enables you to generate API documentation through docgen (a subpackage to Chi). It generates routing documentation from source to JSON or Markdown. Automatically!
Your routing can be much more flexible, as Chi supports variables in URL paths and regexp route patterns. And when it comes to routes, it is impossible to leave out the ability to group routes that use the same middleware. It helps to keep the code clean and manage routes in more extensive applications.
There is one factor to consider when building a public API. Chi doesn’t automatically set an Allow header in 405 responses or handle OPTIONS requests.
Another con is backward compatibility. Clearly not a priority to Chi developers – it is something to keep in mind when choosing Chi for a long-lasting project.
As stated at the beginning, the choice might seem like a complex one, but our team of professionals will always choose an option that suits your needs the most. Frameworks are always a good choice. As frameworks come with everything needed to make it easier and faster to implement, upgrade and maintain them, you can’t go wrong with the decision to use one.
- It’s hard to think of a reason to not use a framework.
- Good for every project, no matter the size.
- Saves time.
- Easy to maintain and upgrade.
- Numerous solutions to choose from.
Please remember: you’ve seen only a handful of solutions here. There are many more that might just be better for your particular situation. Go as a programming language also offers its standard library to develop web services. The decision depends purely on your application. However, since the decision often requires expertise in this subject, at GoSolve, we leave it to our best developers.
Which framework would GoSolve select to develop REST API with Golang?
At GoSolve, we consider it vital to select not the most popular framework, but the one that suits our client’s needs. Therefore, our decision is based on at least a few factors:
- whether the framework’s creators provide continuous support or not,
- the necessity for third-party dependencies, and if dependent, their reliability,
- project size.
Our rule of thumb is to prioritize safety and reliability. Only then we can be sure that the project will be developed seamlessly.
Why is it important to reflect on third-party implementations?
Before you pick the proper framework, you need to check every dependency that goes with it. It is vital to go through all possible scenarios and choose every dependency you will use. You want to avoid any instability, as it could shut down your whole project if the dependency breaks.
Our team at GoSolve always checks these dependencies for:
- when the last update was made (it should be in the loop),
- any cybersecurity flaws,
- if the issues raised by the community are being resolved.