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Is Go the best programming language for finance? Best practices and our expertise


Maryna Cherednychenko - June 26, 2020 - 0 comments

If you are going to extend your business to the digital community, you need to choose the right tech stack to develop a web or mobile solution. In the ever-changing world, the technologies follow quickly one after another. A few years ago, Java occupied a leading position both in the back and front-end development. Now, new players have appeared on the horizon. One of them is Golang or Go. It is Google’s creature that aims to unite the best features of other languages. At Softensy, we often use it for high load systems in fintech projects. If you want to know the pros and cons of Go and see what solutions it works best for, continue reading this post.

What is Golang?

Go is Google’s project, which first saw the world in 2009. It is an open-source statically typed language that claims to be faster, easier, and clearer than its predecessors. The idea to create this language was born when the Google team faced a long wait time to compile when using  C++. At that moment, they thought it would be cool to code with C++ performance and Python speed. To achieve this, the developers implemented the ability to use multiple cores and stuck to concurrency. The latter means performing many tasks simultaneously and allows using the language in a distributed computing environment.

Golang advantages

High speed. Go is a compiled language. It means its code is immediately converted into a format that the processor understands.

Easy to learn. For experienced developers, especially those who know C or Java, to learn Go makes no problem. While it has a slightly different syntax, the procedural approach is the same.

Scalability. With Goroutines, you can run many tasks simultaneously without being afraid that the system crushes. Each Goroutine takes up not more than 2kB, so your software will be really lightweight.

Multiple tools. Go is an open-source language with a wide range of tools for developers. You can find them in the Github repository with the step by step description.

Golang disadvantages

Time-consuming. While, from one hand, Go’s compiled side is an advantage, from the other – it adds some limitations as the language is less descriptive. So, you need to write more code to implement a certain function in the software.

No GUI library. If you need to implement a one-page app, the basic UI elements of Google Go language may be enough. However, for complex apps, the developers will have to look for custom ways to connect the library.

Lack of generic functions. Generic functions have the same title, but undefined input data type during compilation. The absence of such functions means the developers have to create many function elements to work with various kinds of parameters.

 

Pros and cons of Golang

Comparison with other languages

We often hear that Go is more agile and adapted to current needs. However, we do not stop using Java, C, and Python. Moreover, the developers often choose in favor of the latter. Given this, let’s look at the main differences between Go and other popular programming languages.

Go vs. Java

Go is simple and scalable. Thanks to light goroutines, it has ample opportunities for concurrent operations. The main advantage over Java is its speed and flexibility.

Java is portable and versatile. It is intended to write once and run anywhere. Being a project-oriented language, Java is more suitable for large projects. Meanwhile, Go that has no class inheritance goes better for microservice architectures.

Go vs. Python

GO is statically typed, while Python is a dynamic language. There are many disputes about the advantages and disadvantages of both types. Yet, developers often opt for the former because it allows detecting errors at early stages and eliminates the need to write bulky code.

If we speak about the purpose, Python is mostly associated with web development and management of Linux-based apps, while Go is considered as a system language. System languages ​​serve to create the operating systems themselves, rather than programs running on these systems.

Go vs. C++

Go is compact and easy. C++ is quick and complex. Both languages are statically typed and of general-purpose. C++ is far below Go in terms of compile time. The latter directly affects the coding speed since the code needs to be compiled every time you make any changes in it.

Both C++ and Golang performance speed is nearly the same, even though Go has a garbage collector, which, in theory, slows the execution time. In practice, this difference is almost invisible unless you are going to perform massive calculations.

As for the scope of use, С++ works for many app types, while Golang projects are mostly extended to web backends.

Why Go is good for fintech

Golang was originally invented for tasks with a heavy load. It fully met the expectations in use, so developers often choose the language for services that work with multiple tasks. Fintech apps deal with financial data and many customers who want to stay in touch 24/7. Given this, it is essential to establish a smooth connection with users and avoid system crashes. That is why fintech developers often decide on Go. Depending on the project nature, they may use it entirely or for specific app parts. Let’s see a few Golang use cases.

 

Why Go is good

Why use Go

American Express

American Express is a well-known financial company whose main products are credit cards, payment cards, and travelers’ checks. In 2016, they chose Golang to update its Payments & Rewards system. American express Go choice was due to the high speed of execution, which totaled 140 thousand requests per second. It was noteworthy that Go achieved such a result practically without spending time warming up. Also, it handled most of the tests as soon as the HTTP listener started.

PayPal

PayPal is the most extensive electronic payment service worldwide. It allows customers to pay bills and purchases, send and receive money transfers. As the platform grew, the owners decided to upgrade the system and reduce market entry time for new features. The main goal was the NoSQL database, which is the heart of the payment processing center. Initially written in C++, the platform was hard to develop and modernize due to the code complexity. After six months of testing, the PayPal Go choice became obvious. One-third of the clusters are now moved to the new NoSQL database.

MercadoLibre

MercadoLibre is a popular e-commerce site in Latin America that works in more than 18 countries. In 2015, they decided to change their API platform to make it more scalable. The main problem was that the build and deploy time was quite slow. That is why the developers decided to refuse from Groovy и Grails that were initially chosen for development and move to Go. As a result, the developers got a more scalable and fast system that processes at least 20 million requests a minute.

Monzo

Monzo is a big online bank located in the UK. It was one of the first banks that chose to refuse from the brick-and-mortar system. Go is the dominant language in which banking microservices are written. In Polyglot services, Go plays a crucial role in building concurrent servers with low-latency. Nevertheless, Monzo developers use a wide range of extra tools to create an efficient online banking system.

Our expertise in financial programming with Go

At Softensy, we have several Go projects. In particular, we use Golang to code parts that deal with high loads and require fast continuous operation. For example, in the mobile banking Ecobank, we implemented a microservice that sends push notifications and SMS. These messages inform users about transactions, submit one-time passwords, and keep up to date about the news. In CRM, we wrote a contact center module in Go. It enables clients’ communication with both chatbots and human operators.

Online chats and messaging are extremely loaded services where you need to process a lot of requests. Thanks to excellent concurrency, Go does a great job and meets all our expectations.

When you should move your project to Go

Migrating to Go may be a wise choice if you run on-demand services, e-commerce sites, communication platforms, cloud services, streaming apps, etc. The world-known names, such as Netflix, Uber, YouTube, Dropbox, have already chosen this path. By opting for Golang, they avoid speed limitations and annoying downtimes.

Anyhow, each project has its unique features. Before deciding on a tech stack, it is necessary to study the business and the goals it aims to achieve. If you seek to increase your app or website’s efficiency but don’t know where to start, get in touch. We will advise the solution that is most suitable for your project.

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