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Go vs Java: Which Programming Language to Choose?


August 25, 2023


September 6th, 2023

Category Java

Creating and implementing competitive software applications is most important for a successful business today. Hence, choosing the right programming language matters the most. The two most popular languages that are often compared are Go vs Java. Golang and Java are well-known languages that have certain similarities and differences, but both have their own strong holding in the programming industry.

Both these languages are used to create robust mobile, web, and server applications. As we compare Java vs Golang, we see that Java software development has been well-established for years, and working with Go is comparatively newer. Java is known for its code reusability and flexibility while Golang is known for its simplicity and low learning curve. Organizations must analyze what they need for their business and finalize the choice.

This article focuses on understanding these languages with their pros and cons, key features, companies using them, similarities, and key differences to assist in taking a final call.


What is Java?

Java is a programming language and computing platform first released by Sun Microsystems in 1995. It has evolved from humble beginnings to power a large share of today’s digital world, by providing the reliable platform upon which many services and applications are built.

Java is a highly popular, statically typed, object-oriented, general-purpose programming language with a virtual machine that converts code into bytecode with runtime compilation. It caters to a wide variety of applications like web applications, desktop applications, mobile applications, Machine Learning applications, Internet applications, data science, etc. Java is versatile and can execute anywhere, and it offers the role of an interpreter and an error detector.

Developers find it a delight since there are multiple pre-built modules, codes, and attached libraries on top of it, which makes it simple to search for code that is written for a specified reason. It gives support for concurrent, generic, functional, and imperative programming. It offers an enriched user interface that is portable, secure, and versatile. It is cost-effective and ideal to develop different types of applications.

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What is Golang?

Go is an open-source programming language supported by Google with which you can build simple, secure, scalable systems. It is easy to learn and great for teams. There is inbuilt concurrency, a robust standard library, and a large ecosystem of partners, communities, and tools.

Go, also known as Golang, is a new, compiled, and procedural language that has static typing. This facilitates developers to create testable, lightweight code with ease. It offers concurrency control, native binaries, fast compilation, and garbage collection due to which developers find it attractive to work with. Debugging Go code is easier with inbuilt testing and benchmarking features. It is easy to create large applications with Golang.

Being a server-side programming language, Go has a similar syntax as C since it belongs to the C-family. There are goroutines, standard libraries, and robust security features that lessen complications attached to the codebase. Being a concurrent language, it is created for multicore processors, performing multiple tasks at a time. With its static typing feature, developers can easily maintain and test lightweight code in a quick manner. Go code can be reviewed and debugged quickly with its inbuilt benchmarking and testing features.

Go vs Java: Pros and Cons

Pros of Java:

  • Interpreted and OOPS-oriented
  • Multi-threaded support
  • Platform independent
  • Distributed, dynamic, and portable
  • High performance
  • Easy to learn, secure, and maintainable
  • Garbage collection
  • Vast community support
  • Enriched standard library
  • Code reusability with simple deployment
  • Just-in-time compilation

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Cons of Java:

  • Outdated user interface
  • Tad complicated code to read
  • Slower execution speed

Pros of Go:

  • Statically typed and readable code
  • Platform independence
  • Package management
  • Robust standardized library
  • Easy to learn and fast to execute
  • Goroutines for concurrency control
  • Quick compilation even with heavy data
  • Large and active community support\
  • Backward compatibility
  • Supports multiple tools for increased efficiency
  • Garbage collection

Cons of Go:

  • Does not support generic functions
  • Not as popular as Java
  • Lesser frameworks and libraries
Java vs Go: Companies Using Them

Organizations Using Java:

Google, Uber, Airbnb, Pinterest, Netflix, PayPal, Instagram, Amazon, Spotify, Microsoft, Snapchat, Lyft, Accenture, Slack, Bitpanda, DoorDash, Revoult, Trivago, Asana, CRED etc.

Organizations Using Go:

Uber, Google, Microsoft, Twitch, Bitly, Dailymotion, American Express, SoundCloud, Dropbox, PayPal, SendGrid, 1Password, Alibaba, Riot Games, Samsara, Docker, Netflix etc.

Java vs Golang: Similarities Between Them

Being two popular programming languages, there are certain similarities between them:

  • Server-side programming languages
  • Garbage collection for memory management
  • Belongs to the C language family
  • Simultaneous execution of program blocks, concurrency
  • Cross-platform compatibility
  • Standard library support

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Go vs Java: It’s All About Making the Right Choice

Even though there are so many similarities between Golang vs Java, there are important differences that must be evaluated, based on different parameters such as Java vs Golang performance, security, scalability etc., prior to selection:

Parameters Java Golang
Overview An object-oriented language, compiled into Java Virtual Machine A concurrent, procedural language, compiled to native machine code
Go Vs Java Performance Makes use of a Virtual Machine layer, slow because of JVM overhead and its virtual machine architecture. Makes use of binary file to compile code, fast because of efficient compilation. High performance and low latency processing.
Use Cases Simulation modeling, mobile apps, application servers, web servers, big data, embedded systems, financial organizations, trading platforms, games, IoT, edge devices, mission-critical applications, Android-based applications, software and mobile applications, etc. Cloud-based services, high-load services, backend development, Real-time communication, bot programming, network utilities, container orchestration tools, web servers, APIs, database servers, Microservices, server-side development, distributed services, Machine Learning apps, etc.
Tools That Can Be Integrated Jenkins, Junit, Site24x7, Mockito, Apache Maven, NetBeans, ManageEngine, Ehcache, VisualVM, Oracle JDeveloper, etc. GoLand, LiteIDE, Visual Studio Code, GoAudio, bot, authboss, goth, 1build, cosmos-sdk, acmd, CDS, aconfig etc.
Memory Intense on memory utilization, presence of a traditional garbage collector managing memory Light on memory utilization has pointers and no links for garbage collection
Ease of Learning Code A little complex to learn to code in Java Easy and simple to learn to code in Go
Community Support Deep-rooted, experienced community support Knowledgeable and expanding community support
Syntax Verbose syntax with object-oriented features, more punctuation marks, and keywords, appropriate classes, and objects. Readable and simple syntax, with fewer punctuation marks and keywords. Easy for users, with no classes and objects.
Concurrency Concurrency with threads, synchronized blocks, Java commands Inbuilt support for concurrency with Goroutines, Channels, and other routines
Error Handling Usage of exception handling to manage errors Error handling done with multiple return values
Tooling/Libraries Large variety of libraries and tooling Fewer variety of libraries and tooling
Deployment Needs JVM for deployment Deploys with compiled binaries
Web Development Access to ecosystems and libraries for developing web apps Extensive support for Microservices and API for creating web apps
Generics Supported Not supported
Coding Speed and Style Stable and familiar coding style with the object-oriented way Compact and easy coding style, with accurate results
Access to Features Vast feature list Comparatively lesser features
Inheritance Supported Not supported
Mobile Development Huge support for Android SDK and other frameworks Limited native support for creating mobile apps
Skilled Resources Easily available since there is a vast talent pool Increasing day by day but relatively lesser
Security Security manager, no pointers Checksum database
Channel Supported Not supported
Classes Supports classes with constructors and de-constructors Does not support classes with constructors and de-constructors
Implicit Type Conversion Supported Not supported
Function Overloading Supported Not supported
Threads Expensive threads in Java Less expensive threads in Go
Type System Java possesses a static type system that has no support for type inference Go possesses a static type system that offers support for type inference
Package Management External package management tools like Maven, Gradle, etc. Inbuilt package management system called ‘go modules’
The Wrap-Up:

Talk of the two programming titans – Go vs Java and you get to know that both are good and powerful. It is the parameters like use cases, budget constraints, skilled resources, organizational scope of work, project deadlines, etc. that can help in choosing between the two.

As we compare Go language vs Java, there are certain situations when one language is preferred over the other. Here are some such scenarios:

Java is preferred when-

  • Large systems are involved
  • You need front-end applications such as chatbots, AI apps, etc.
  • You want apps to execute on all modern-day browsers
  • You need to develop industry-based applications
  • There is a need for enterprise-level applications like ERP, CRM, etc.
  • You want to create web and mobile apps, games, etc.
  • Your project requires a huge number of libraries and complicated functionality

Go is preferred when-

  • Microservices are involved
  • Memory management and simplicity is needed
  • There is cloud-native development
  • Creation of Golang binaries for platforms is required
  • There is blockchain development, data science requirement
  • Your project required high level of concurrency and performance

Whichever one you choose; it is like selecting the better out of the best. What matters the most is support and guidance from an experienced IT solutions and service provider.

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