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Learning Google Go

So, I heard from a friend that Google Go was worth learning, so I've started to look into it. I must admit, while working on updating my C++ knowledge to account for the new 2011 and 2014 standards, and working on learning boost, picking up Go is a lot of fun by comparison.

I'm finding that Go is filling a nice spot between say, C++ and Python, as Python is much more productive to develop in, but it's byte-compiled and does not tend to perform anywhere near as well as C++, but C++ is filled with language cruft, low level details that programmers usually shouldn't have to bother with, and requires far more code typically to perform an equal task in a higher level language.

Go also has built-in multi-threading and synchronization support, in the form of "goroutines" and "channels". Here's a pointless example that fires up ten goroutines, has each one count to a billion, and report back via the passed channel.

package main

import (

func wastetime(ch chan<- string) {
    start := time.Now()
    // Burn some time pointlessly looping
    for i := 0; i < 1000000000; i++ { }
    ch <- fmt.Sprintf("took %f seconds", time.Since(start).Seconds())
    ch <- "done"

func main() {
    ch := make(chan string)
    count := 10
    for i := 0; i < 10; i++ {
        fmt.Printf("Starting goroutine %d\n", i+1)
        go wastetime(ch)
    for {
        s := fmt.Sprintf("%s", <-ch)
        if s == "done" {
            fmt.Printf("%d goroutine done\n", count)
        } else {
            fmt.Printf("%s\n", s)
        if count == 0 {

Once you get the syntax down, it's not bad at all. The left arrow operator is reading from or writing to the channel, which blocks until the goroutine on the other end does its part. It's like using threads and queues in other languages, but a tad higher level and simpler. Should be fun to continue learning. And it's compiled and fast:

Starting goroutine 1
Starting goroutine 2
Starting goroutine 3
Starting goroutine 4
Starting goroutine 5
Starting goroutine 6
Starting goroutine 7
Starting goroutine 8
Starting goroutine 9
Starting goroutine 10
took 0.663542 seconds
10 goroutine done
took 0.663968 seconds
9 goroutine done
took 0.658279 seconds
8 goroutine done
took 0.663875 seconds
7 goroutine done
took 0.652669 seconds
6 goroutine done
took 0.645463 seconds
5 goroutine done
took 0.652085 seconds
4 goroutine done
took 0.655896 seconds
3 goroutine done
took 0.357376 seconds
2 goroutine done
took 0.342241 seconds
1 goroutine done

Neat huh? More to come, I suspect.

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