Counterpoint

Are you missing out by passing on Go?

Lucy Carey
GO2

In an interview with Business Insider, Iron.io CTO Travis Reeder revealed why he thinks Go could supplant Java. Here’s our two cents.

Although Google set the collective antennae of
the developer community tingling when it announced the launch of
its new programming language back in November 2009, it remains to
be seen whether it will truly become as ubiquitous as the company
that unleashed it on the open source scene.

The first big hitters to back Go were Iron.io, which offers a
“messaging” cloud service for app developers which helps apps talk
to each other, and in an interview published in
Business Insider
this week, Iron.io CTO and Co-founder Travis
Reeder emphasised his belief that one day Go could supplant Java in
popularity. With backing from fellow Wunderkinds Career Builder and
The Motley Fool, it’s not lacking in early adoption. But will it
ever really be big enough to take on the mighty Java? JAXenter
examines the case.

First off, given the animosity between Oracle
and Google, from a superficial business perspective, some may have
interpreted Google’s decision to pioneer its own code as a slap in
the face to Oracle. But it’s not as simple as petty one upmanship.
For almost three decades, Java and C++ have dominated the sector.
Over the past five years however, the growing need for concurrency
and incorporation of big data means that they are no longer the
optimal choices for programmers.

Whilst Reeder comes out in support of Java as a
programming language, he sees it as increasingly anachronistic in
these days of cloud computing. The fact that Go is a newcomer to
the scene makes it a convincing candidate to pick up the torch from
increasingly clunk
y older languages, and
as Reeder says, it certainly is easier to easier to build and
deploy high performance applications in virtual environments in
Go.

That being said, Java’s long history (positively
Jurassic, in web terms) means that it is absolutely everywhere. If
we were going to compare the manpower invested in coding,
compiling, and developing Java with that invested in Go, the Google
pretender wouldn’t even register on the chart. A cursory glimpse
at
Stack
Overflow
aptly demonstrates this: Java has 468,
710 tags to Go’s 2,789, and that sort of imbalance isn’t going to
go away anytime soon.

With all its forward thinking innovations,
hypothetically, Go could one day become a contender for supremacy
when it comes to cloud computing. But for it to really become the
defacto choice for cloud base enterprise would entail the spawning
of a spiralling subset of innovation around Go libraries,
frameworks, platforms and services, and that could take a
considerable amount of time.

Ultimately, Java as it stands is too big to
really topple anytime soon. With so many legacy systems entrenched
into Oracle’s code, including massive powerhouses such as financial
institutions and military databases, it would take years for any
type of sweeping change to really take affect – and in those
intervening years, that would hypothetically be more than enough
time for Oracle to come up with the goods to compete with their old
adversary.


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