Go is a computer programming language, originally invented at Google in 2007. OK but that probably doesn’t help you much!
A programming language is a man-made language that a programmer uses to give instructions to a computer. A programming language looks a little like a combination of English and Mathematics. They are used to create the programs that a computer runs. The web browser you are using now to read this is just a computer program.
That’s a lot of stuff, so let’s explain this a little more. Go is a computer language, but it is a man-made language. It is not like English, French, German or Spanish. These are all natural languages. They just evolved from the sounds people make when they speak. No one invented them.
A programming language is different. Someone did invent it. A programming language is more like man-made languages found in books like Elvish from The Lord of the Rings or TV like Klingon from StarTrek.
A programming language can, at least in theory, be used to write any program to do anything. We say in theory because you have to be able to describe the problem in the programming language first.
Go is textural computer language. Scratch or Alice or Kodo are visual or graphical programming languages. In these languages you program by moving snapping coloured blocks together to create a program.
Textural computer languages are different. You have to type everything - Sorry, but this is actually what real programmers do most days. And if you find you have a talent for it, there is so much more you can do with textual computer languages that aren’t possible with visual ones.
If you have to install Go, you will have to do this to. We will show you how in the install instructions.
Hello World in Scratch looks like this:
You would not need to type the line numbers on the left. We have added these to the program code to make it easier to talk about a specific line.
In the Scratch program the middle, purple
say block is the one that prints
“Hello, world! to the screen.
In the Go program, it is line 6 that prints “Hello, World!” to the screen.
The programs are similar because they both solve the same problem, how do you print “Hello, world!” to the screen. But they are different because they are written in two very different programming languages.
A gopher is not small furry rodent. A gopher is the name the Go community uses for someone who can program in Go. Once you learn Go you too will be a Gopher.
The GopherCoders gopher is based on a drawing Ben did on a Post-It note!