# Go Basics
This section introduces basic types and string formatting. After that, you will dive into functions and methods in Golang.
Integer types are:
- int will be 32 or 64 bits long depending on the OS. However, one can specify precisely how many bits are used with 8, 16, 32, and 64.
- uint defines the unsigned integers, which are simply positive integers.
There are two aliases:
- byte for uint8
- run for int32
- uintptr is an integer "to hold the bit pattern of any pointer" (opens new window).
The types for floating-point arithmetic are
float64. These are only an approximation for real numbers because of the finite precision (opens new window).
complex128 represent complex numbers. These are useful in geospatial coordinate systems and scientific applications, among others. They have "real" and "imaginary" parts that are always
floats. When the real and imaginary parts are
float32, the complex number is a
complex64. Likewise, when the real and imaginary parts are
float64, the complex number is a
In Go, a
string is a read-only sequence of bytes. Therefore strings are immutable. They're encoded in UTF8 by default.
bool is a special 1-bit integer. It can represent
# Type declaration
In Go, the name comes before the type in the declaration. There are two ways to initialize a variable in Go.
You can also use var to define variables without initialization:
This is equivalent to:
Without initialization, variables have so-called zero values which depend on their type.
To define constants, you must use the
const keyword instead of
Constants can be typed or untyped. For example, an untyped constant:
The untyped constant means that the type of
hello is not defined yet.
Because of static types in Go, you have more freedom with untyped constants than with typed ones. Compare the following two examples:
This first example works: the "number" constant is untyped, so the variable "f" can accept it (despite itself being typed
This second example does not work: the "number" constant and the variable "f" are differently typed (
# String formatting
fmt.Printf writes to standard output and returns the number of bytes written and the write error. The string formatting is:
Here is an example code:
Compile this to see the output.
Functions can take zero or more arguments and can return zero or more arguments. The syntax looks like the following:
If return variable names are given in the declaration, you do not need to explicitly return them.
For example, consider a swap function that switches the values of
You could also write:
Go also offers function closures:
Let's walk through
func fibonacci() in more detail:
- Go supports anonymous functions, which you return.
- You declare
fibonacci(), and use them inside the anonymous function.
x, y = y, x + y works because the right side is evaluated fully before the left side.
Now write less idiomatic code to highlight some more aspects:
This will print the first 10 Fibonacci numbers.
Important here is that
fibonacci() returns a function, and this function is passed into
f. On subsequent iterations,
loop(n-1,f) passes this anonymous function into itself recursively.
Here you used the control statement
if for the first time, to break out of the recursion. Each
fibonacci(), stored as
loop, has its own
y - this is called a closure. So, what happens if you split the loop into 2?
This will give the first 5 Fibonacci numbers twice.
To get the first 10, try the following:
Do you see why that works?
Methods are defined on types. Go does not have classes. First, define a structure type:
You can use this structure for a variable declaration:
You also have access to members through the
Now you can declare a method on it:
Methods are functions, but they have a so-called receiver argument (in the previous example
r Rectangle). You can use such a method with the
Do you see how
Area() became a method of
You can declare a method with a receiver only in the same package as the type is defined.
The following example is not declared on a
Do you see how
Abs() became a method of the new type,
A function argument is copied into the function. If you want to change the argument, you will require pointers. Pointers are addresses of variables. Look at an example:
The following function will not change
Instead, try it this way:
The previous attempt will get the same result (
0) twice. Nothing happened to
Now see what happens if you include a pointer:
Now you see that the value of
i changes. What happened is as follows:
&igives the address with type
*int, which is a pointer and expected by the function
func increase(i *int).
*iis the value the pointer points to.
You can also use pointers in methods to modify the receiver:
r.b is the same as
(*r).b in this context, but it is easier to read.
Pointers are important.
This video provides a simple demonstration of functional programming in Golang, to clarify how functions interact to produce particular results.
To summarize, this section has explored:
- The basic types (including numbers, strings, booleans, and type declarations), string formatting, functions, and methods employed in Golang.
- Where to access online tests to practice implementing some simple coding examples for yourself.