The best Go language IDEs and editors

Among dozens of options for developing Go programs, Gogland, Visual Studio Code, and Cloud9 rise to the top

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Google’s Go language was recently chosen as Tiobe’s programming language of 2016, based on its rapid growth in popularity over the year, more than twice that of runners-up Dart and Perl. Tiobe’s language index is based on the “number of skilled engineers worldwide, courses, and third-party vendors,” using the results of multiple search engines.

That much growth in popularity carries with it an increased interest in development tools for the programming language. Because the Go language is distributed in open source form complete with compilers, tools, and libraries, what’s left for programmers to find for themselves is Go-aware editing environments, whether straight editors or integrated development environments (IDEs), hosted locally or in the cloud.

For this article I’ve attempted to look at all the available Go-aware editing environments and zero in on those that seem worthwhile. I started with the official list of IDEs and Plugins for Go and winnowed the roughly 35 items on the list down to the ones that might deserve a trial. I’ll start with a quick roundup of the useful products I found in each category and end with a close look at my top picks.

Note that Go language development typically relies on the GOPATH variable set to the root of your Go development workspace. That can be an issue for GUI applications such as editors, which don’t always honor the environment settings.

There are more than a dozen Go language tools that you can install in directories under the GOPATH folder with the go get command, once Go itself is installed. Many of the editors I evaluated use one or more of these tools.

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