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Getting Started With Golang

Getting started with golang#

Getting Started with GoLang

Effective Go

Go has a rigid type system and greater performance (as it is compiled) You can use go to build websites but the author prefers ruby and go.

There are no dependencies when running a compiled go program. A good tool for command line interface programs.


No Install playground: Go Dev Playground

Install precompiled binaries Go DL

Go is designed to work when your code is inside a workspace. The workspace is a folder composed of bin, pkg and src subfolders. You might be tempted to force Go to follow your own style - don’t.


  1. Download the archive

    wget go1.18.darwin-amd64.tar.gz

  2. Set up environment variables

    echo ‘export GOPATH=$HOME/code/go’ >> $HOME/.profile echo ‘export PATH=$PATH:/usr/local/go/bin’ >> $HOME/.profile

  3. Check your go version

    go version go version go1.18 darwin/amd64

1. The Basics#

It is a:

  • compiled - convert source code into lower level machine code
  • statically-typed language - variables must be defined as a specific type (the compiled can infer the type) - python is dynamically typed
  • C-like syntax

Go’s goal is to ensure fast compile times

Compiled languages tend to run faster and the executable can be run without additional dependencies (at least, that’s true for languages like C, C++ and Go which compile directly to assembly).

Semi-colon and parenthesis around conditions are removed:

if name == "Leto" {
  print("the spice must flow")

Parenthesis are still used in complicated cases:

if (name == "Goku" && power > 9000) || (name == "gohan" && power < 4000)  {
  print("super Saiyan")

Go has garbage collection:

Languages with garbage collectors (e.g., Ruby, Python, Java, JavaScript, C#, Go) are able to keep track of these and free them when they’re no longer used.

In main.go:

package main

func main() {
    println("it's over 9000!")

Compile with:

go run main.go

A temporary directory is created

go run --work main.go

To just build the code:

go build main.go

Then you can run it with:



In Go, the entry point to a program has to be a function called main within a package main.

Compiling without a main() function might work and is common when developing a library - there is just no entrypoint to run it.


Go has a few built-ins like println

We can’t go far without making use of go’s standard library. The import keyword is used to declare packages used by the file.

package main

import (

func main() {
  if len(os.Args) != 2 {
  fmt.Println("It's over", os.Args[1])


go run import.go

We are using fmt and os.

The argument at index 0 - is always the currently running executable

The go library is well documented eg. fmt

Go Docs#

Get the docs locally without internet:

godoc -http=:6060

I had to install it with: go install - it still did not work

Variables and Declarations#

Basic declaration is:



var power int = 9000


func main() {
  power := getPower()

func getPower() int {
  return 9001


name, power := "Goku", 9000


var power int
power = 9000

Go will not compile if you have unused variables

Function Declarations#

One with no return value:

func log(message string) {

One with one return value:

func add(a int, b int) int {

One with 2 return values:

func power(name string) (int, bool) {

Which is used like:

value, exists := power("goku")
if exists == false {
    // handle this error case

If you only care about the first value:

_, exists := power("goku")
if exists == false {
  // handle this error case

If parameters share the same type you can use this syntax:

func add(a, b int) int {


Inferred types and multiple return values - are a similarity with dynamically typed languages.

2. Structures#

It is not Object oriented. It does not have objects or inheritance. It doesn’t have polymorphism or overloading.

Go does have structures.

Composition over inheritance

type Saiyan struct {
  Name string
  Power int

Declarations and Initialisations#

goku := Saiyan{
  Name: "Goku",
  Power: 9000,

The trailing , is required

You don’t have to set everything:

goku := Saiyan{}


goku := Saiyan{Name: "Goku"}
goku.Power = 9000


goku := Saiyan{"Goku", 9000}

Go passes arguments to functions as copies

func main() {
  goku := Saiyan{"Goku", 9000}

func Super(s Saiyan) {
  s.Power += 10000

So the answer above would be 9000

To pass the pointer:

func main() {
  goku := &Saiyan{"Goku", 9000}

func Super(s *Saiyan) {
  s.Power += 10000
  • The & operator gets the address of the value
  • The type *Saiyan means the pointer to the Saiyan
  • We still pass a copy but the copy is of the same address
  • Copying a pointer is cheaper than the whole data structure
  • Ruby, Python, Java and C# behave this way
  • On a 64-bit machine, a pointer is 64 bits large.

Functions on Structures#