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Go Language at 13 Years: Ecosystem, Evolution, and Future in Conversation with Steve Francia


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Steve Francia.

"The primary motivation for creating Go was the recognition that our systems have grown in complexity," says Steve Francia.

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The history of programming languages went in one direction and one direction only; with each new language, things became more complex and more abstract. Then, just a few years over a decade ago, Go got started at google. And programming languages went the other way, put a bet on simplicity and things well crafted. That recipe is kept to the day and you can say that it can start straight away writing Go code without too much of a hurdle. That's impressive when you just think that most of the popular and reliable pieces of modern software are written in Go—Docker, Kubernetes, Prometheus, and the list can continue. To understand where Go is coming from and more importantly where it is going, InfoQ reached out to Steve Francia, a core member of the Go programming language team at Google responsible for strategy and product.

InfoQ: Thank you for taking the time to answer a couple of questions from our readers. Can we start by asking you to introduce yourselves and describe your role and day-to-day job at Google?

Steve Francia: I am Steve Francia, a core member of the Go programming language team at Google responsible for product and strategy.

InfoQ: You have credited technical challenges and engineering challenges as the sparks that ignited Go thirteen years ago. Was there anything else? What were the official programming languages at Google then, and what was missing?

Francia: The primary motivation for creating Go was the recognition that our systems have grown in complexity. To keep up with exponential "Google scale" growth, complex systems were designed to address our needs. Over time new complex systems were built on top of these foundational systems/libraries and languages. People too often don't think of the hidden costs of complexity. The truth is that code is read many more times than it is written. Team velocity is significantly burdened by complexity. In contrast, Go is simple. It takes an afternoon to learn. The code is very straightforward and readable. This simplicity empowers teams to collaborate in ways never before possible.

 

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