Go or Golang, is a open source, community supported, fast, consistent, scalable, productive language, and conceived by Google. More and more applications were build with it. Although Rob Pike has said that “… we expected C++ programmers to see Go as an alternative …”, but I really think of that: You PHP guys should learn Golang! Let’s talk about WHY.
Easy to learn
PHP is easy to learn. Golang is as easy as PHP!
The syntax of PHP is similar to C family’s programming languages(C/C++/Java etc.). If you have some experiences with those languages, it is not too hard to write some codes when you first met PHP.
Golang is also a C family’s programming language. Eh… with a litte syntax difference. For example, the keyword “for” is similar with PHP’s, but without the pair of parentheses. And the condition keyword “if” is without the pair of parentheses either. You can read Effective Go for more things.
Golang has only
30 25 keywords and 47 operators, delimiters or other special tokens. There is no need to work hard for remembering all the literals. The type system is exquisite and easy to use. No huge OO but a practical struct type with methods on it. The interface design is one of my favorate parts of Golang. When you have finished this A Tour of Go, based on your PHP experiences, some jobs could be done with Golang immediately.
Easy to Use
Your PHP scripts will be evaluated by SAPI components: web server module, PHP-fpm or CLI. All needed for PHP deploying is a SAPI environment. Deployment of the environment is the most difficult part to understand for a PHP beginner.
All the Golang’s codes will be compiled and linked into native code. So there is no need to deploy a environment for it executing but a build environment. Compaire with deployment of the PHP environment, it is not so much complex. Do you really think of the deployment of the PHP environment is really complex? I don’t think so. Really!
To deploy the build environment, just need 3 steps:
- Download Golang‘s source code.
- Setup the environment variables. Here’s a great blog post: Go environment setup
- Run the ‘all.bash’ in the ‘src’ directory.
Or only one step: Use the binary package to setup.
Then a toolset called “go” can be used. Using the go tool is as easy as using PHP’s CLI tool. “The Go Tool” has already explained it.
A myth of PHP
If a programming language is easy to learn and use, shall we learn and use it? Lots of programming languages are easy to learning and use. Shall we learn and use all of them? The answer is straightforward: NO!
But why you PHP guys should learn Golang? Just because it is cool! Ja, I’m kidding, but it is true. Anyway, let’s talk about PHP itself first.
PHP is “a general-purpose server-side scripting language originally designed for Web development to produce dynamic Web pages.(Wikipedia)”. The most important feature of PHP is embedding with HTML. PHP code write in “<?php … ?>” tag; HTML write outside. It also has a powerful extension system. The extension can be writen by C with Zend API. Data processing was actually done by those extensions. IMO, PHP must be the best template programming language.
But if you have years experiences with PHP and began face to some complex web application. You must have already felt some powerlessness to PHP. It dosen’t have concurrent mechanism build-in, no threads, multiprocessing or X-routines. A slow data source will be blocked entire page’s processing. A powerful web server in the front of PHP is always needed. Backend programs were writen to process data. Message Queue, Cache, Proxy … The system is not only about PHP, but also about a lot of services and system components. This time, PHP is really be a template language with few logical jobs.
PHPers are always looking for solutions, like “PHP multithread” or a concurrent RPC framework for PHP. I could not say
witch which one is better. But I’m sure that you must choose an other programming language for the backend job. In my own case, I tried C(struggle with malloc/free)/Java(stumble in the jar hell)/Python(never be pythonic but type lost)..If I get profermance, I must struggle with the memory management; If I use GC, I must deploy and turning VM； If I get convenient, careless would kill me….Eche has advantages, each also has a problem.
OK! Let’s back to Golang now!
Golang has GC, there is no need to care about memory management(or could pay less attention to it). And the code are compiled into native machine code. So, “cp” and “mv” are all needed for deploying the application writen by Golang. Oh, as I just said, Golang is a compiled language with a static type system. You have no chance to confuse variable types. Of course, one of the most important thing is PHPer who moves to Golang “don’t have to surrender much expressiveness, but gain performance and get to play with concurrency(by Rob Pike)”. “Why Not Go?” talked about this deeply.
I would show parts of my own experience: a Gearman worker works for us to process backend data. PHP connected to the worker though Gearman Job Server with its Gearman API. The original worker was writen by python. There are lots of problems with that version(They are our own problems, but python’s). But it works for us. Then we rewrite the worker with Golang. It was amazing. I wrote a Gearman API for Golang, and a Golang package using Zend API(cgo is another amazing thing) for evaluating the PHP script in Golang. Then combined them together – A Gearman worker
witch which can execute PHP scripts. It works about 3 mounth in our production enverionment and looks great! Oh, I also wrote a RPC-combinator for combining the RPC call in PHP script. It will be used in our next product.
Everything goes right. Thanks Golang!
In any case, most of PHPers alwasy need to learn other languages for the backend development. If you have began looking for, or already tasted some of other languages. Why don’t you try Golang? It would make your life happy and easy. You could spend more time with your family and friends, eat your favorite foods and visit the places you love.
That’s why you PHP guys should learn Golang! Is it enough? I think so!
This is my writing exercise. If you find any grammatical or spelling error, plz tell me!