Java vs Golang: A Battle of Programming Languages

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Java

A veteran in the programming world, this language was available in 1995 and created by Sun Microsystems. Java was once the most used platform in the world, but the arrival of other languages like Golang has begun to rise in popularity. Its long-standing, dedicated community has developed pre-made codes and modules that can be used for a variety of projects.

Golang

This language, commonly referred to as ‘Go,’ was released in 2011 by three developers—Rob Pike, Ken Thompson, and Robert Griesemer. They wanted to create a language similar to C but without its flaws. Additionally, Go is maintained by Google. It’s designed to run faster than other programming languages and is synchronous in its processes.

Comparing & Contrasting

These two programming languages may initially seem to be on even footing. However, analyzing them side by side under various lenses will show just how different they are.

  • Coding

Java’s combined use as an open-source program and broad implementations have led to an extensive library of reusable source code. However, the downside is that this library isn’t always current with the latest update of Java.

On the other hand, while Go’s library is smaller and current with information, its simplicity could actually be an issue. The code in Go removes unnecessary pieces to cut down on the amount of time spent coding. When that happens, debugging issues may arrive later.

Java or Go?: Either

  • Performance

The process of coding through Go is faster than Java. The latter uses a virtual machine that adds a step by turning bytecode into machine code. Java applications find this helpful when reading the code but, in terms of speed, Go is the winner. However, virtual machines allow for further integration.

Java or Go?: Go

  • Memory Usage

Within Go, there are pointers and garbage collection. Its optimized system also accounts for the decreased performance when garbage collecting. Java’s virtual machine functions in a similar way, though a bit less defined.

Java or Go?: Go

  • Community

The history and community built around Java give it an edge over Go in this section. Over 15 years separate the two languages, both of which have evolved significantly since their releases. Go may have a smaller community but the developers who use this language are enthusiastic. Ultimately, it’s the solid, veteran status that puts Java ahead.

Java or Go?: Java

  • Number of Users

Similar to the previous section, the number of developers using Java is much larger than Go. Again, this is because many people have been working with this language since its release and understand every aspect of it. The rise of Go’s popularity has begun to challenge that, however, with the number of developers using Java falling every year.

Java or Go?: Java

The Verdict

Those are only a few lenses to look at these programming languages through. The general consensus is that Go is faster, easier to learn, and simpler in design than Java. On the other hand, Java is more respected, flexible, and used in a broader range of projects than Go. To say whether one language is better than the other is a statement that poses a more important question for developers to ask themselves—What am I using a programming language for?