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Languages I Used to Know: Go

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Eshaan Aggarwal@EshaanAgg

Go Gopher with the heading 'Languages I Used to Know, Featuring Go Lang'
Last updated: August 30, 2023

I am not an honest person. I like to list a whole catalog of languages under my belt and call myself proficient in every one of them. But the reality is, I am like a kid in a candy store, hopping from the latest framework and language to the next one. While this is very fun to do, the sad consequence of the same is, I often find myself forgetting and getting confused in frameworks I worked with earlier.

Go is no different. It was a language that I first picked up as a freshman, and after toying with it for a fortnight, I just never looked back on it. Now indeed, it is just a language that I used to know. This is a guide for dummies like me, who know a language, but need quick notes on syntax so that they get back to using the same.

Full disclosure: This is NOT intended for complete beginners who have no exposure to Go, and won’t be explanatory for the most part. It’s not even going to be an article, but just code snippets and bullets listing things I feel are essential! But I will try to have the right balance of concise and detailed, covering all the essentials, and hopefully more! It’s meant to serve as a guide, and cheat sheet to all the paradigms that Go relies on so that you can quickly dive head first into writing some Go with best practices by the community.

Tweet to let me know what you think about it! Let’s get started.

About Go

Core Promises


Language Basics

About the language


Packages and Modules

General Syntax

package main
// Importing other packages
import "fmt"
func main() {
// Variable Declarations
var text string
text = "Variables are nil by default."
otherText := "The type for this variable is infered. Can be only used in functions."
const fixedValue = "Constants can be only bool, string and numbers."
val := 1
increment(&val) // Now val is 2
if message:="hello"; user != nil {
// You can use multiple statements in the if block
// The last expression is treated as the condiiton
} else {
// The defined variables in the if block (like "message") have scope in the if as well as all the else clauses
// This is a unique feature not found in other languages
func addAndSubtract (a int, b int) (int, int) {
return a + b, a - b
func add (a int, b int) int {
return a + b
// Increment the value of the variable x
func increment (x *int) {

Using Packages

package main
// "cli" is the name of the current current module as defined in go.mod
import "cli/data"
func main() {

package data
const Text = "This text is exported from the module."

Key Trivia


Error Design Pattern

Since we don’t have exceptions in Go, this is the typical design pattern that we mostly follow for handling errors.

func readUser(id int) (user, err) {
// ... we proceed with the reading and see a bool ok value
if ok {
return user, nil
} else {
return nil, errorDetails
func main() {
user, err := readUser(2)

Working with Types, Structures, and Interfaces

You can create alias in Go by using the type keyboard along with the = operator. You can also create new types, which are first-class citizens in the language. They have an associated base type and can have other methods.

package main
type distance float64
type distanceKm = float64 // This is just a type alias
// Method
func (miles distance) ToKm() distanceKm {
return distanceKm(1.6093 * miles)
func main() {
d := distance(4.5)

Structures kind of replace the class idea in Go. It is a data type with strongly typed properties that have a default constructor. You can add methods to the same.

Interfaces are a definition of methods. They emulate polymorphism from OOP. They have implicit implementation and can be embedded in other interfaces as well.

package main
import "fmt"
// Fancy name for list of methods that can be used as a type
type PrettyPrinted interface {
PrettyPrint() string
type User struct {
// Only properties with TitleCase name would be available in other packages
id int
name string
// Those this is not a method, but just a function. These are usually referred to as factory functions.
func NewUser (id int, name string) User {
return User {id, name}
// A method on user
func (u User) PrettyPrint() string {
return fmt.Sprint( + ": " +
type Employee struct {
employeeId int
User // We have embedded the same into Employee. id and name would be accessible on it now
func NewEmployee (id int, name string, employeeId int) Employee {
user := NewUser(id, name)
return Employee {employeeId: employeeId, User: user}
func (e Employee) PrettyPrint() string {
return fmt.Sprint( + ", " + fmt.Sprint(e.employeeId) + ": " +
func main() {
var u1 User
// Each struct has two pre-built constructors, with and without name
// While using the named constructor, you can either define all or some of the properties
u1 = User {id: 1, name: "John"}
u2 := User {2, "Doe"}
msg := u2.PrettyPrint()
emp := NewEmployee(1, "Harry", 1)
fmt.Println(,, emp.employeeId)
// Create an array of Users as well as Employee's
humans := [3]PrettyPrinted {u1, u2, emp}
for _, human := range humans {

Goroutines and Channels

A goroutine is the Go way of using threads. We can open a goroutine by just invoking any function with a go prefix. They can communicate through channels, which are a particular type of variable. A channel contains a value of any kind. A routine can define a value for a channel, and other routines can wait for that value. Channels can be buffered or not. To avoid deadlocks, you have to close the channels before ending the program with close(chan).

package main
import (
func printMessage(text string) {
for i := 0, i < 2; i++ {
time.Sleep(800 * time.Millisecond)
func main() {
// Creating channels
var m1 chan string
m2 := make(chan string)
m2 <- "hello" // Assigning the value to channel
message := <- m2 // Waiting for the value of the channel
go printMessage("A")
* If we add go to both print statements, then our app would die without executing anything
* This is because though we would have started 2 goroutines, the main goroutine would reach the end of it's lifetime and the main process would be dropped, thus killing the program.
// <- m2
// Valid syntax to wait for the value of a channel
// Creating buffers
logs := make(chan string, 2)
logs <- "hello"
logs <- "world"
// If there are multiple goroutines, then the channels would wait for the values to be put in the buffer

Personal Opinion: I hate threading. It’s always one of these things that I want to avoid at any cost. But Go actually simplifies the same to a great extent!

Closing Remarks

Go remains true to its name and lets you go at a super speed into development first. It’s weird not to have classes, objects, and enums (especially when now there are languages like Rust which consider enums their core strength), and the if err != nil pattern is nothing short of a huge pain, but it all start’s to make a bit of sense if you look and reason about the core promises it tries to uphold. I hate title casing every property, variable, and function, but the simplicity it offers compensates for the same.

It’s a fun language to work with, and its utility in the modern development landscape speaks for its efficiency and reliability. It’s good to know Go, and hopefully, this guide wouldn’t let it become a stranger again.