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Web Development

Go Vs. Java: What Are The Main Differences?

Java and Go are both programming languages and you might be wondering why developers prefer one over the other. While the two languages have some key similarities, their histories and origins differ, explaining some of their differences.

This article will explore what Java and Go are and their most significant differences and similarities to decide which language might be correct for your next programming project.

The Java Programming Language

Go vs. Java

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Java was developed by James Gosling in 1995 at Sun Microsystems and released in 1995.

Java Basics

It is a programming language. It was designed to be a “platform-independent” language, meaning that it could be used to create programs that would run on different types of computer systems. Today, Java is one of the most popular programming languages and is used to create small programs and large software applications.

Java Popularity

Java popularity is constantly increasing, especially amongst developers. This is because Java is a versatile language, allowing developers to create a wide range of applications. Additionally, Java is relatively easy to learn, contributing to its popularity. 

Some of the most popular applications built with Java include Android apps, web browsers, and scientific computing software. With its immense capabilities and ease of use, it’s no wonder that Java continues to gain popularity amongst developers worldwide.

The Golang Programming Language

Golang

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Golang was designed by Robert Griesemer, Ken Thompson, and Rob Pike in 2007 at Google.

Golang Basics

It is a compiled, statically typed language. It’s designed for system programming and networking applications.

In some ways, Golang is similar to Python in terms of readability and its lack of semicolons and braces. However, it has stricter rules for variable declarations and imposes types on variables. Functions in Golang must also return values, even if they are void functions.

One of the primary benefits of using Golang is that binaries are cross-platform, meaning that they can be run on different operating systems without any modifications. 

Additionally, Golang has garbage collection built-in, so programmers don’t have to worry about memory management.

Golang Popularity

Golang has grown popular among developers due to its ease of use, concurrency features, and performance.

It is used in various applications, including web development, system administration, network programming, and large-scale distributed systems. In particular, it has been used extensively by Google and Netflix.

Companies that don’t have inhouse developers can hire Golang developers for their projects.

Go vs. Java: Features & Benefits

1. The Language

Go is a simple, modern language that compiles into static binaries with minimal overhead. This has made it an ideal choice for building microservices—small, highly efficient pieces of code that are easy to deploy independently. Go is easy enough for beginners and powerful enough for experienced developers, evidenced by its widespread use at Google and other companies. Meanwhile, Java was built in 1995, making it one of today’s oldest programming languages still in wide use. While it has evolved to accommodate changing technology needs (and added features like lambdas), its syntax can be arcane even to veteran coders.

2. Speed

Golang is faster than Java because it is a compiled language, while Java is an interpreted language. Java also has a lot of legacy code and libraries that make it slower than Golang.

The mark-and-sweep garbage collector of Golang runs concurrently with the program, while Java’s garbage collector runs on a separate thread. Golang also avoids using bytecodes, which are intermediate codes that are run by a virtual machine. Java bytecodes are compiled from Java source code into a form that a virtual machine can execute. This extra layer of interpretation makes Java run slower than Golang.

For example- Refer to the below code for calculating factorials by Sunny Radadiya, Go is faster than Java.

Go speed-

Output:

Factorial   Time To calculate factorial

10000       0.03 seconds

50000       0.41 seconds

100000      2.252 seconds

500000      68.961 seconds

1000000     224.135 seconds

Java speed-

Output:

Factorial   Time To calculate factorial

10000       0.112 seconds

50000       1.185 seconds

100000      2.252 seconds

500000      89.500 seconds

1000000     385.868 seconds

3. How It Runs (Application Servers)

Java is better than Go lang in terms of application servers. It has a long history of use in back-end development, whereas Golang is a newer language that has increased in popularity.

Java offers more libraries and support for third-party frameworks, making it more suitable for developing complex applications. Golang does not have as many built-in libraries, so you may need to rely on external libraries or write your code to get the functionality you need. This can lead to more complexity and potential for errors.

4. Performance

Golang is a compiled language, while Java is an interpreted language. When you write code in Golang, the compiler will take your code and turn it into machine code that can be run on a computer. With Java, the interpreter will take your code and turn it into machine code every time it’s run.

This difference in performance is because Golang has been specifically designed to be as fast as possible, while Java was designed to be accessible to as many people as possible (hence the need for an interpreter). So if speed is your number one priority, then Golang would be the better choice over Java.

5. Debugging

Debugging is faster in Go than in Java, but debugging isn’t much of an issue in many cases. If a new developer writes good code, you should be able to run a program through some sort of testing processes or QA before releasing it out into production. If, for some reason, you run into an issue with your program as-is, Go does have tools like gofmt that can help automatically fix simple problems with formatting (which may be helpful if your developer has never worked on a similar project). With Java, you’ll want something like FindBugs or PMD.

6. Memory Usage

Go has a built-in garbage collector, which means you don’t have to worry about data loss. With a language like Java, you have to worry about memory usage and coding defensively. This can make it tricky when writing web apps, so many web application frameworks exist on top of languages like Java; they help you solve these problems with their built-in constructs. Go simplifies things by getting rid of them altogether. For example, Go implements concurrency using goroutines rather than threads (found in other programming languages). There are no locks or mutexes involved—just safe and fast concurrency at scale. An application written in Go has almost no memory overhead or concerns about performance or resource consumption.

Go vs. Java: Comparison

Here is the Go Vs. Java comparison table:

Parameters Go                   Java
Performance Go is compiled directly into a binary file. It doesn’t depend on a virtual machine for compilation. Java uses a virtual machine to convert the given code into bytecode before compiling it to machine code.
Speed of Coding Go is more compact, leaving less space for errors. Java is stable and more established.
Application Go is simple and scalable. JVM interacts with the hardware making it ideal for working on any application.
Memory Usage It has garbage collection and contains pointers instead of links. It comes with a traditional garbage collector that generally runs from time to time. 
Popularity Maintained its level of popularity. Gradually losing its popularity.
Development Cost High Low

Go vs. Java: Which One is Better?

This question has no single answer, as both Go and Java have advantages and disadvantages. Ultimately, it depends on what you’re looking for in a programming language.

If you’re looking for something that is easy to learn and provides a lot of flexibility, Go might be the better option. Go is also great for building concurrent applications. On the other hand, if you’re looking for something more suited for large-scale enterprise development, then Java might be the better choice.

Both Go and Java are widely used languages, so there’s a good chance you’ll be able to find help and resources regardless of which one you choose. But if you’re still not sure, maybe try experimenting with both to see which one you prefer.

Closing Thoughts

In the end, Java is a more versatile language that can do more heavy lifting than Go. The latter on the other end is better for networking and systems programming. 

If you’re looking for a general-purpose language to use in your applications, Java is probably the way to go. If you don’t have an inhouse developer, you can hire Java developers from a java web development company.  

However, Go may be a better option if you need a program that can handle network communication or low-level system tasks.

Thanks for reading!!

Also Read:

Java vs Python: Which is Better?

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