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A Week with Go, Day 2

After dabbling a little bit on day 1, I dedicated some time on day 2 to skim through Go's language spec and standard libraries. A lot of it didn't have much relevance to me yet because I hadn't begun to play with those parts of the language. What caught my eye though was that Go supports the \v escape (obviously no one at Google has read Stop the Vertical Tab Madness). Welcome to 1963, folks.

In addition to tweaking how loops are written, Go has augmented the traditional syntax of if and switch statements too. I don't see the enhancement providing as much benefit as I do with for. It's almost as if someone decided to let people move the placement of if up a statement earlier just to be different, and it certainly doesn't read well.
x := recover()
if x != nil { ... }
if x := recover(); x != nil { ... }

The list of available packages is rather impressive considering Go has been available for a year. Some packages are pretty standard, like math and cmath, while some other packages like patch, ebnf, and tabwriter look more intriguing. The regexp and rand packages look to me a bit bloated and could stand to be pared down a bit, regexp especially since Go allows multiple return values from functions; maybe someone just got API happy.

There's also a utility named gofmt which is used to format Go code. It serves as the official style guidelines in an attempt to avoid code formatting wars. I don't agree with some of their choices, but that only highlights the usefulness of gofmt. More languages should ship with such a utility officially. gofmt can also be used as a sort of lint application since it can't properly format code with syntax errors.

The selection of library packages for Go will hopefully continue to grow over time, and a tool like gofmt is nice to have in your arsenal. I'm still thinking favorably of Go after the second day.

Feel free to share your impressions of Go in the comments below and come back tomorrow for day 3.


  1. "if x := recover(); x != nil { ... }"

    Kind of reminds me of what I used to do with the ternary operator in perl until Dave yelled at me for it.


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