Golang (or Go) is an open-source compiled programming language that is used to build simple, systematic, and secure software. It was designed by Google in the year 2007 and has been readily adopted by developers all over the world due to its features like memory safety, structural typing, garbage collection, and similarity to C-language.
Golang web frameworks are used to write application programming interfaces (APIs) and web services straight away. During building small applications, frameworks are not necessary but are needed in production-level software. Even knowing the features and having the knowledge, it takes a huge amount of time in coding a debugging production-level program. Due to this reason, frameworks are often used. Frameworks provide additional functionalities and services that can be used by other developers who want to add similar functionalities in their software rather than writing the full-fledged software by themselves.
The top 5 web frameworks in Golang on the basis of popularity (according to stars on GitHub) are listed as follows: Name Stars Forks Open Issues gin 40.2k 4.6k 238 beego 24.5k 4.9k 746 echo 17.7k 1.6k 37 kit 17.5k 1.8k 59 fasthttp 13k 1.1k 34
Let’s look at these frameworks in details and compare them on the basis of their functionalities and ease of use:
The gin framework tops the list in terms of popularity due to its minimalist framework and performance. It is mostly used for building a REST API for the backend if the programmer wants to develop a single page application using a frontend framework. This framework makes use of the HTTP routers for handling the Golang traffic and is ideal for beginners along with its rich documentation provided on GitHub. It supports the most essential libraries and features which makes it the most suitable Golang framework to develop high-performance REST APIs.
The API of this web framework will be similar to that of martini but is close to 40 times faster than it! The huge community of gin users has made extensive well-tested middlewares that makes working with gin a lot easier and reliable.
The greatest con is although is suitable for smaller applications, it is not suitable to develop large backend applications or enterprise-level server complex functions.
The beego framework is used for the rapid development of REST APIs, web applications, and backend services in Golang. It is often viewed similarly to the Django web framework in Python and contains specific features of Golang such as interfaces and struct embedding. It does not require any third-party installations. It is a full-fledged Model-View-Controller (MVC) framework with its own libraries and a built-in tool that helps with finding the code changes, known as the Bee Tool.
Furthermore, it is divided into eight modules that can either be ignored or used as required. It integrates the Object-Relationship Map (ORM) that helps with organizing the application’s database along with session handling tools and logging systems. Not only this, but it also incorporates a cache handler and libraries for operating HTTP elements. Another great feature is that is works well with command-line tools, in a similar way to how Django uses the command line.
The only con beego has is that due to its high functionality and extensive features, it is not so suitable for beginners.
The echo framework is another high performance, an extensible, and minimalist web framework in Golang. It has a highly optimized HTTP router with zero dynamic memory allocation that smartly prioritizes routes. It is used to build robust and scalable REST APIs, which can easily be organized into groups. It automatically installs TLS certificates from Let’s Encrypt and provides HTTP/2 support which improves the speed and provides better user experience. It also contains many built-in middlewares to use and developers can even define their own which can be set at a root, group, or route level.
It supports data binding for HTTP request payload, including JSON, XML, or form-data. For data rendering, it contains an API to send a variety of HTTP responses, including JSON, XML, HTML, file, and attachment. Templates can be rendered using any template engine and have customized central HTTP error handling.
The con of using echo framework is that it is maintained by only a single developer and the code is updated infrequently.
The kit framework is a programming toolkit for building robust, reliable, and maintainable microservices in Golang. It is a set of packages and best practices, which provide a comprehensive, robust, and trustable way of building microservices for organizations of any size. Go is a great general-purpose language, but microservices require a certain amount of specialized support.
Therefore, the kit framework provides Remote Procedure Call (RPC) safety, system observability, and infrastructure integration. It is composed of multiple co-related packages, that together form an opinionated framework for constructing large Service-Oriented Architectures (SOAs) and makes Golang a first-class language for writing microservices in any organization. It was designed for interoperability and the developers are free to choose the databases, components, platform, and architecture that works best for them.
The drawback of using go-kit is that due to its heavy use of interfaces, the overhead of adding API to the service is very high.
The fasthttp framework provides a fast HTTP server and client API which was made as an alternative to net/http due to its limits on optimization opportunities. It is optimized for speed and can easily handle more than 100K qps and more than 1M concurrent keep-alive connections on modern hardware. It is also optimized for low memory usage and provides easy connection upgrade support via RequestCtx.Hijack.
Fasthttp API is designed with the ability to extend existing client and server implementations or to write custom client and server implementations from scratch. A lot of additional useful information is exposed to the request handler, such as server and client address, per-request logger, unique request-id, etc.
Since net/http has a wider audience, it is more reliable and tested. Also, as net/http and fasthttp are incompatible, developers often find it difficult to migrate from net/http to fasthttp.
These are the top 5 most used Golang web frameworks in 2020 compiled on the basis of popularity on GitHub. Every framework listed here has a different set of features to experiment and before implementing any of these frameworks, make sure that you clearly understand the requirements of the same. Not only limited to these, but Golang also has a set of numerous other frameworks to offer like Buffalo, Martini, Goji, net/http, Revel, etc. and feel free to check them out.