Choosing the right programming language for your project is crucial to its success.

Two programming languages stand out among the sea of possibilities: Golang and Java. Both are extremely popular and have been used in a wide variety of projects. 

Java is one of the most popular programming languages in use today. Created by Sun Microsystems in 1991 and released in 1995, the popularity of internet-based applications in the late 1990s and early 2000s fueled Java’s expansion. It was designed to be a “write once, run anywhere” language. 

Golang is a programming language that was developed at Google in 2007. Golang has been praised for its speed and concision. In addition, many developers appreciate its ability to be compiled into machine code without runtime dependencies.

Golang is used by heavy-hitters like Google, Uber, Medium, Pinterest, and Shopify. Java has a similarly impressive lineup, including Spotify, eBay, Netflix, Amazon, and LinkedIn. So, unfortunately, you can’t choose on prestige alone. 

So that leaves the question—which programming language is best for you?

The Similarities Between Java and Golang

Let’s get this out of the way. Neither of these languages is significantly better than the other because they are very similar in many ways. 

You may even find that both are useful for different subsections of the same project. It comes down in many cases to a matter of preference and the kind of project you’re working on.  

While they are both owned by companies, both programs are open source, which lowers the barrier to entry.

They’re both C-family languages, meaning their syntax is similar. That’s helpful since your developers can read the other without much problem if you use both.

They also share the garbage collector feature, which prevents memory leaks, and both (with different caveats) are cross-platform. In addition, they are both multi-paradigm.

Golang and Java are both statically typed, so if you’re looking for a dynamic programming language, neither will fit the bill.

Once you’ve decided that you need the functions they share, the differences will help you decide which is the best fit.

What Sets them Apart

Despite these similarities, there are some definite distinctions between the two languages.

Golang is a statically typed language without the use of classes. All methods are created as functions that can be defined on any data type rather than being limited to a class. 

Java is an object-oriented programming (OOP) language, while Golang is not. So, while technically, Golang can simulate some object-oriented patterns, it only has structures. 

Another difference is that Java is declarative, while Golang is imperative. If you’re already more comfortable in one than the other, switching between these can be confusing.

Java uses an interpreter, while Golang uses a compiler that generates an executable file for the user to use.

Beyond the languages themselves, Java is significantly older than Golang. Java was released in 1995 and Golang in 2012, almost two decades later.

Java and Golang Pros and Cons

So, with that, let’s go through the pros and cons of each language.

Java Pros

  1. Java is an Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) Language, making it more secure. It’s also less difficult to change the code or reuse it.
  2. The language was designed with safety in mind. It has data hiding features and avoids explicit pointers that could provide unauthorized access. 
  3. Since Java is for general use, it is incredibly versatile and can be used for any application or program.
  4. Java provides excellent tools for debugging and testing code.
  5. There are many different ways to create graphical interfaces with Java.

Java is older than Golang, meaning that it has a more extensive library to draw from. There will also be more experienced developers in Java than Golang, which will widen your hiring pool.

Java Cons

While it’s also a pro, Java’s age is also a con. Java’s libraries have a bunch of outdated clutter to sort through. In addition, Java is on its 17th edition, which means that you will run into a lot of useless, contradictory material.

It’s also slow because the Java Virtual Machine requires an extra level of abstraction and compilation.

Java is far from the most concise language either. Often, Java requires long and complex code that makes it extremely difficult to read and more time-consuming to write.

And while there are many graphical interfaces for Java, they aren’t the best for developing a complex UI. It can also be hard to optimize.

Golang Pros 

Written so many years after Java, Golang has the benefits of hindsight on its side. 

  1. It’s easy to learn. Golang’s phrasing is a lot simpler than Java’s, which makes picking it up much faster. In addition, the Language Specification is only 50 pages, compared to Java’s 750.
  2. It’s fast. Golang is made from a few features that only interact in a few ways. 
  3. Golang is safer than Java in some ways since the language is more straightforward. This makes it much easier to find weaknesses.
  4. The standard library is very manageable and easy to navigate.

Golang Cons

  1. The simplicity of Golang is a double-edged sword. You’ll most likely hit some walls that you can’t go around.
  2. It can be tough to debug code written in Golang.
  3. Since it’s younger than Java, Golang has a smaller collection of code written by the community.
  4. There’s no virtual machine. While this speeds Golang up, the program can also be massive, eating RAM.
  5. There’s no GUI library. Instead, you’ll have to connect a library since there aren’t any native solutions.

Conclusion

As we’ve said before, there’s no obvious choice between the two languages. Both come with some significant pros and cons while also sharing a lot of similarities. In general, Golang will be better when you need something simple, fast, and easy, while Java is more suitable for making something more complex or niche.

If you need help finding the right solution to which programming language is for you, the team at Confianz is here for you. We can help you break down your specific situation to find the perfect fit for you.

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