Golang: Boring as a Feature

Arman Bhalla
2 min readAug 16, 2019
Image courtesy of MCN Professionals.

GO is popping up everywhere these days. It’s being used in products from companies as large as Google to companies as small as Discord and Ori. In fact, in the Stack Overflow 2019 Developer Survey, Go was listed as one of the most wanted languages, with 15% of developers surveyed saying they would like to use and apply it to their projects in the future.

After using Go for a week during my work experience at Wayra/Ori, I have finally arrived at my own opinion on the language. In short, I think that it’s boring; painstakingly dull. It’s bland and featureless. There’s little remotely exciting to it.

If you take a look at companies and open source projects that use Go, they are mostly related to networking and infrastructure. Ori, for example, uses Go for quite a complex networking and infrastructure task. They bring servers that lie unused in large companies to their network and distribute it to help other companies deploy micro-services to the edge very quickly, without modifying their existing code bases. Similarly, Discord uses Go to solve another complicated infrastructure challenge: quickly resizing more than 150 million images uploaded to their internet messaging service each day. By definition, these tedious infrastructure and networking tasks are boring.

However, being boring, in this case, is not necessarily a bad thing. I’d argue that Google pretty much designed Go specifically to make these boring, large scale, but vital infrastructure tasks. Writing code in Go is like reading a very well written textbook: It’s easy to understand, sometimes amusing, and mostly very boring. It does not have fancy new ways of memory management like Rust, or concepts like monads in Haskell — but at the same time, that’s the point. It does not have any monadic soup or borrow checkers, but it does just work. And for most mission-critical, incredibly dull tasks, that’s all you need.

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