Google Go's popularity doesn't translate to the enterprise

Developers heartily recommend Go, but businesses have been slow on the uptake

Go developers have found plenty of uses for Google's open source language both at work and at home, results of a recent poll by The Go Project reveals. But the language still has some work to do to gain a stronger foothold in businesses.

"[Survey respondents] agree that they would recommend Go to others by a ratio of 19:1, that they'd prefer to use Go for their next project (14:1), and that Go is working well for their teams (18:1)," a report accompanying the survey said. But fewer users agree that Go is critical to their company's success (2.5:1).

When asked what they like most about language, users most commonly mentioned Go's simplicity, ease of use, concurrency features, and performance. Asked what changes would most improve Go, users mentioned generics, package versioning, dependency management, GUIs, debugging, and error-handling.

The survey found 89 percent of respondents program in Go at work or outside of work, 27 percent said they use it only at home, and 23 percent use it only at work. Meanwhile, 39 percent said they program with it both at home and work. When it comes to specific purposes for using Go, 63 percent said they write command-line programs in Go, while 60 percent write API or RPC services, and 52 percent write web services.

Go was declared the preferred language by 62 percent of respondents, and it ranked tops in programmers' expertise, with 26 percent giving it the nod. "With Go excluded, the top five first choices for language expertise were Python (18 percent), Java (17), JavaScript (13), C (11), and PHP (8); and the top five first choices for language preference were Python (22), JavaScript (10), C (9), Java (9), and Ruby (7)."

One quarter of respondents have used Go for two to four years, while 9 percent have been using it for more than four years. Still, new users abound, with 28 percent having used it for only three to 12 months, 23 percent using it for 13 months to two years, and 12 percent getting their feet wet in Go for three months or fewer.

Linux was the most popular target OS for Go, with 63 percent of respondents using it on that platform. Following Linux were MacOS (44 percent) and Windows (19). Fifty-five percent of respondents were interested in contributing to Go. But many felt they were not welcome to do so, and some thought the contribution process was unclear. "In 2017, we intend to work on improving the contribution process and to continue to work to make all contributors feel welcome," the report said.

The survey was conducted in December of last year and included 3,595 people, the vast majority of whom were Go users. Results were released on Monday, about three weeks after the release of Go 1.8.

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