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This Week In Programming: Go 2.0 and the Vexing Question of Complexity

12 Aug 2017 6:00am, by

Although Go 1.9 has yet to be released — it is expected to drop this month — most have moved their focus on to Go 2.0, after it was announced earlier this month at GopherCon. See the image above, which popped up on Reddit, for one interpretation for how some expect Go 2.0 to differ from the classic Golang that users have come to know and love for its simplicity. It seems that the community has the upcoming changes on the brain this past week.

At the heart of the controversy with Go’s evolution is whether or not Go 2.0 should support generics, as discussed here by Go aficionado Dave Cheney. Another blog post on the topic offers a TL;DR on the topic that sums it up nicely: “(1) lots of other languages have generics (2) we’re pretty sure they’re useful (3) but they come with associated costs and complexity and we’re not sure they’re worth it.”

This revered simplicity is at the core of the conflict, but as Go co-creator Rob Pike once noted in a talk, simplicity is complicated:

As we noted when we first looked at the announcement earlier this month, the community is “just as responsible for shaping the release of Go 2 as the Go team itself” and it looks like it’s knee deep in discussion about the future of Go.

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