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Software Development: Golang vs. Node.js – What Developers and Businesses should consider for their software development projects?

Software Development: Golang vs. Node.js – What Developers and Businesses should consider for their software development projects?

In the previous blog posts, we have explored the advantages (as well as some disadvantages) of using Golang for software development projects of various kinds. This time, we take a closer look to understand how Golang stacks up against other popular technology such as Node.js and whether a software developer should switch from Node.js to the rising star that is Golang. Let’s find out how the competition stack up, as follow:

History

Golang was first introduced in 2009 and still considers to be a quite new programming language.

Similarly, Node.js was also launched in 2009, however, it has garnered a larger audience and community of developers when compared to Golang.

Performance and Concurrency

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As Golang being a compiled language (similar to C and C++) and Node.js is an interpreted one, so, theoretically, Go provides faster performance since it does not require any interpreter or virtual machine for interpretation.  Additionally, because Node.js is single-threaded, it can use up CPU resources for an extended period of time while running back-ground refresh jobs, but this does not seem to be a problem in Golang thanks to Goroutines.  

(Read more about Goroutines in our previous blog post HERE)

However, both offers pretty much equal performance results in many real-life situations.

Scalability

When it comes to scalability, Node.js seems to be weaker compared to Golang in terms of running background jobs in parallel with foreground queries which is required for many large scale projects. As mentioned before, by taking advantage of Goroutines with the capacity to allow multiple threads to be performed concurrently, Golang is able to overcome possible issues related to this specific part.

Error handling

The Node.js approach in dealing with error is through throw/catch mechanism and this seems to be popular in the developer community, although such approach might cause some issues in regard to consistency.

With Golang, developers will have to implement explicit error checking and this might cause some difficulties in the process of finding errors. Still, numerous developers consider this approach as cleaner in general.

Learning curve

For the time being (and probably in the coming years), Javascript is still one of the most popular programming languages. And if developers are already experienced with Javascript, it will not take them much time and effort to learn and use Node.js programming. Even if a developer is fairly new to Javascript, he or she can still leverage the expertise and vast amount of resources from the Javascript community to learn Node.js quickly.

Golang, on contrary, requires developers to learn a whole new language, including new concepts such as Goroutines (concurrency in Go), strict typing etc. However, an experience developer who is already well-versed in another language such as Java, or C++ won’t find it difficult to get a hold of Golang.

Available tools and packages

Generally speaking, with Javascript, developers won’t find it difficult to find the appropriate tools or packages for their projects requirements. Moreover, there are vast amount of resources such as video tutorials, and/or libraries available for free which can help developers meeting various need of their development requirements.

For Golang development, the community is somewhat small but still growing. And even though Go is still behind Node.js in terms of number of supports, the number of contributions to Golang community has been increasing consistently in the recent years and now going stronger than ever.

Hiring Golang Developer vs Node.js developer

As stated in the previous article, and according to a Developer Survey by StackOverflow in 2018[1], Javascript is still the most popular technology, chosen by 69.8% of developers surveyed. Golang, on the other hand, occupied 7.1% which is a slightly less favorable result. However, Golang is in the top 5 of both most loved and wanted programming languages, according to the same survey. This means Go is increasing its popularity as well as adoption from the developer community, and expected to grow even stronger in the coming years.

For the time being, the availability of Node.js developers are still far ahead compared to Golang, and thus it’s easier to hire a team of Node.js professionals than to form a team of Golang developers.

Conclusion

So, the decision of developers and businesses whether to choose Node.js or Golang would depend on the specific requirements of the development project they need at the moment, particularly when it comes to scalability for current or future expansion.

Node.js is a mature and very popular language with strong support by a large community of developers. Golang, on the other hand, with its simple structure and clear syntax, offers a concurrency model, and it is therefore more suitable for scaling up.

Again, Node.js, in return, can provides developers a wide range of already available packages or 3rd party modules which are not available or difficult to implement in Go. If that is the case, then it would be better to stick with Node.js.

Contact us today to speak with our team of specialists about your specific business needs.

References:

1. https://insights.stackoverflow.com/survey/2018