Go four

Go grows up with with 1.2 release

Lucy Carey
Go

Latest update shows that Google’s programming language is burrowing towards maturity.

It’s been party central at
Go
HQ recently, with a fourth anniversary milestone last
month being topped with the launch of Go 1.2 today.

Google’s statically-typed  programming language
has enjoyed a steady ride up its in-house search engine rankings
since it was first launched, as the chart below shows, with a rapid
spike up the charts beginning with Go’s official debut.

Google is aiming to
pitch
Go as a low-level language which combines the simplicity
of an interpreted high-level language with the efficiency and
safety of a compiled language. It features a similar garbage
collector to Java, as well as type safety, Closures, reflection and
classless object orientation, however, the curly brackets embedded
within it are more reminiscent of C.

With a couple of  IDEs and plugins for well-known
IDEs such as
Eclipse and Netbeans
, the general consensus seems to be that
Google’s little upstart is now all ready to graduate from
development-kindergarten to real world use.

Coming seven months on from the release of Go 1.1, Go
1.2 is the first of what Google hope will be a regular series of
updates to the language at comparable intervals going forward.

So what new tricks has the little Gopher picked up since
1.1? Well, along with a bit of rejigging on language implementation
and tools, there have been some ‘minor’ language tweaks and more
than a couple of additions and backward-compatible changes to the
standard library.

According to the official blog, other highlights of
the release include a shiny new three-index slice
syntax
, as well as the ability to specify capacity as well as
length. With this development, programmers can pass a slice value
that can only access a limited portion of the underlying array – a
practice that previously required the use of the unsafe
package.

As well as some changes to the standard library, there
are now  indexed
arguments
in Printf format strings, some handy new updates to
template packages, and a spanking new encoding package.

The tool chain now comes with the ability to compute
and show test coverage
results
. For the full nitty gritty, you can find the full
release notes here.

Although it’s been touted as *sigh* yet
another
Java killer
, it’s got a long way to go before Oracle begins to
break a sweat. Nevertheless, with a large and growing open source
community around it, Go is gaining traction, and, with new releases
set to pop up with the frequency of critters in game of Whack a
Mole, we’re going to be reading a lot more about it in months to
come. 

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