Go At Eight
Written by Sue Gee   
Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Go is celebrating its 8th birthday today and has a lot to celebrate as it continues to gain in popularity and to add features that consolidates its position as the language of cloud infrastructure.




Google's system programming language Go originated as an in-house experiment pioneered by Robert Griesemer, Rob Pike, and Ken Thompson who started work on it in 2007. It was open sourced in November 2009 and since then has built a strong community and a strong presence.

In the blog post Eight years of Go Steve Francia notes:

Since Go was first open sourced we have had 10 releases of the language, libraries and tooling with more than 1680 contributors making over 50,000 commits to the project's 34 repositories; More than double the number of contributors and nearly double the number of commits from only two years ago. This year we announced that we have begun planning Go 2, our first major revision of the language and tooling.

Version 1.0 of Go was released in 2012 and while it has added features at every subsequent release it has remained a remarkably stable language. Since the last celebration of its birthday, see Go Turns Seven With Lots Of Attention it has had two new releases. Version 1.8 which had a much improved compiler backend to enable it to goes faster also aided by a reduction in garbage collection pauses; and 1.9  which added support for parallel compilation and introduced type aliases to support code repair.


Francia also provides lots of evidence for Go's popularity as a language writing:

Go has been embraced by developers all over the world with approximately one million users worldwide. In the freshly published 2017 Octoverse by GitHub, Go has become the #9 most popular language, surpassing C. Go is the fastest growing language on GitHub in 2017 in the top 10 with 52% growth over the previous year. In growth, Go swapped places with Javascript, which fell to the second spot with 44%.

In Stack Overflow's 2017 developer survey, Go was the only language that was both on the top 5 most loved and top 5 most wanted languages. People who use Go, love it, and the people who aren't using Go, want to be.

A surprising omission from this list of success stories is that Go was named as Language of the Year by TIOBE in 2016 for the second time in its history, the first being in 2009, just after its initial launch..


This chart, which is update to November 2017 shows the tremendous upsurge in interest in Go that started in summer 2016 and peaked in . Since then some of the momentum has been lost - but the then all languages have been on the slide in the last few months according to the TIOBE Index. Go is currently at number 14 in the rankings, whereas it was at 13 back in January and rose to 10 in  July. Also it is important to take notice of the scale on this chart - it goes from 0 to 2.5%. The scale on the chart of the Top 10 Languages goes from 0 to 30 so when Go was included its line would have been along the bottom and dwarfed by Java and C.

Go, however is important in an ever-expanding domain, the Cloud. The blog post claims:

By 2017, Go has emerged as the language of cloud infrastructure. Today, every single cloud company has critical components of their cloud infrastructure implemented in Go including Google Cloud, AWS, Microsoft Azure, Digital Ocean, Heroku and many others. Go is a key part of cloud companies like Alibaba, Cloudflare, and Dropbox. Go is a critical part of open infrastructure including Kubernetes, Cloud Foundry, Openshift, NATS, Docker, Istio, Etcd, Consul, Juju and many more. Companies are increasingly choosing Go to build cloud infrastructure solutions.


With so much resting,, or should that be floating on Go, it will be interesting to see what is introduced in  Go 2.0 to make it worthy of a majar version increment.



More Information

Eight years of Go

Toward Go 2

Go Download Page

Related Articles

Go Turns Seven With Lots Of Attention 

Go 1.8 Goes Faster

Go 1.9 Adds Parallel Compilation 

Go Language Of The Year With Dart Catching Up 

Go 1.7 Goes Faster and in More Directions

Go 1.6 Released

Go 1.5 In Beta

Go 1.4 gets Android support 

Go 1.3 Released

A Programmer's Guide To Go

Why invent a new language? Go creator explains

Go Is Four

Go Programming Language Turns 3

Go with Google - Yet Another Language!

Ready to Go - Go Reaches Version 1


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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 14 November 2017 )