05Apr 2024

10 IDEs and Tools for Golang Developers

Since its introduction by Google in 2009, Golang’s popularity has grown multifold and subsequently developers have been seeking the integrated tools for maximizing its benefits. Simplicity, Scalability, and Performance are the key things that Golang emphas on and this has led to widespread use for tasks like microservices and web apps. 

However, harnessing Go’s speed and capabilities requires an effective development environment. This article explores the top IDEs and tools empowering Golang developers with productivity and code quality. 

We’ll discuss factors in choosing software and cover options like Visual Studio Code, GoLand, and LiteIDE. 

By equipping themselves with the right solutions, developers can leverage Go’s strengths to write clean, high-performing code through seamlessly integrated editing, testing, and debugging workflows.

Understanding Golang

Golang Programming Language
Golang Programming Language – Image Source: freeCodeCamp

Golang is a statically typed, compiled programming language designed to provide the raw power and control of platforms like C, paired with the simplicity and clarity of scripting languages like Python. 

Since its introduction by Google over a decade ago, Go has attracted over 1.1 million professional developers worldwide with its unique combination of capabilities. 

Familiar to those with experience in C-style languages yet easy for newcomers to learn, Go empowers programmers with built-in concurrency using goroutines and channels. With garbage collection handling memory management, developers are free to focus on high-level logic. 

Go’s scalable performance has made it particularly suited for building massively concurrent systems like microservices – in fact, many cloud-native applications now use Go.

Beyond exceptional speed and lean footprint despite automatic memory handling, Go enables unprecedented scalability through features like Docker container integration. 

Its combination of power, simplicity, and scalability has contributed to many new GitHub projects launched in Go each year, cementing its status as one of the most popular languages for systems and web development.

Importance of choosing the Right IDE

The IDE is central to a Golang developer’s workflow and productivity. Selecting the right development environment impacts not only coding speed but also the quality and sustainability of long-term projects. 

Choosing poorly can introduce frustrating inefficiencies that slow teams down over time. An IDE serves as the hub for all code editing, building, testing, debugging, and collaborating needs – when it lacks important features, workflows become disjointed and frustrating. 

 Visual Studio IDE
Visual Studio IDE – Image Source: Microsoft

By carefully selecting an IDE tailored to their specific stack and preferences, developers gain coherence and synergy. Core functions like auto-completion and syntax highlighting can boost productivity.

Seamless version control and code review tools foster smoother teamwork and code quality. Well-integrated debugging and profiling expose errors faster before they spread. 

According to one study, around 80% of software developers reported experiencing workplace burnout. High workload, inefficient processes around 30%, and unclear goals or targets around 30% were cited as leading contributors. The right IDE can help streamline workflows and processes to reduce burnout.

The right IDE empowers teams to continuously deliver high-quality software at optimal velocity by streamlining workflows end-to-end from initial coding to deployment. Its importance to sustainable success cannot be overstated.

What are the factors that need to be considered while choosing an IDE

It can always be challenging to determine the best IDE for individual needs as there are a plethora of IDEs available for Golang development. To make an informed decision, developers should consider several factors:

  1. Language and Technology Support

Being able to leverage the latest innovations in Go is critical for developers to stay on the cutting edge. Overlooking this factor can leave teams struggling with compatibility issues down the road. 

IDEs appropriate for Go work should offer deep, first-class integration optimized for the most current version of the language. Standard library and language feature support are table stakes. 

Additional value comes from extensive coverage of third-party tools and frameworks comprising a modern backend stack. 

The most popular Go frameworks for web services include Echo, Gin, and Buffalo, alongside Redis, MongoDB, and PostgreSQL for data storage.

Gin Web Framework
Gin Web Framework – Image Source: GitHub

Developers benefit from IDEs thoroughly integrating such complementary technologies through features like auto-completion, documentation popups, and refactoring. 

This holistic ecosystem support empowers teams to develop robust, maintainable solutions quickly, harnessing the full power of Go and associated tools.

  1. Ease of Use and User Interface

A prime usability factor is how smoothly an IDE is integrated into daily work.

Look for intuitive, configurable layouts and interactions optimized for rapid coding. Superior navigation slashes time navigating files and functions through instant search or “go to definition” shortcuts. 

Interactive features also aid learning. Developers are more likely to use new tools offering in-context help. Customizable color schemes and themes further enhance comfort.

As potential distractions like these can derail focus, choosing an IDE whose interface fades into the background lets programmers dedicate more mental bandwidth toward creative problem-solving. 

Seamless usability should be a simple, immersive workflow from project setup through debugging and versioning.

  1. Performance and Speed 

In software development, productivity hinges on speed – from small tasks like typing and file navigation to comprehensive workflows involving editing, building, and testing. Lagging IDEs undermine flow and force unnecessary delays that waste developer hours. 

Beyond launch performance, fluidity during active use prevents interrupted focus – studdering or long compilation cycles increase frustration. Decent processors and sufficient memory become must-haves to avoid sluggishness, especially when managing large codebases. 

Truly high-performing IDEs optimize resource usage via techniques like incremental compiling to minimize impact on workflow. Choosing an efficient editor that facilitates speedy, seamless workflows from start to finish future-proofs a smooth development experience.

  1. Code Completion and Intelligent Suggestions 

One core IDE feature that significantly boosts productivity is intelligent code completion. 

Transformers for Completion – Image Source: Google

A study by Google found that machine learning-powered completions provided meaningful benefits. The study showed that over 25% of accepted completions saw an improved ranking through the learning model, while less than 1% decreased in rank.

With machine learning models actively analyzing code structure and syntax, leading IDEs make instant contextual recommendations that dynamically update as code evolves. This guides programmers and helps prevent bugs from typos or missed parameter requirements. 

Offering options based on imported packages and function fingerprints slashes debugging time versus manual parameter lookups.

Emerging natural language capabilities even let programmers write documentation and queries that IDEs interpret to surface relevant code excerpts. Choosing an IDE that masters intuitive completion optimizes speed while coding complex logic with precision.

  1. Debugging and Testing Tools

Bugs are an inevitable reality of software development that require quick resolution to keep projects on track. IDE debugging tools empower programmers to methodically squash defects without wasting valuable time. 

Look for full-featured tooling, including breakpoint positioning, step-through workflow simulation, and variable inspection. Integrated debuggers streamline problem identification within the development environment instead of hopping between apps. 

Robust testing support also strengthens code quality by enabling test-driven practices. Options like one-click test running and code coverage analysis help maximize test coverage. 

Choosing an IDE that pulls testing, debugging, and coding together into one seamless orbit allows programmers to swiftly identify, verify, and squash errors, keeping delivery dates intact.

  1. Collaboration Features

Modern software leverages the combined expertise of diverse teams. Accordingly, an IDE supporting real-time cooperation boosts productivity beyond solo coding. 

Version control integration with Git and Mercurial maintains a complete audit trail of changes whilst facilitating parallel development. Code review streamlines quality assurance and knowledge sharing through pull requests and in-line comments. 

Some IDEs take this further with collaborative editing, where remote teammates can simultaneously edit and discuss code.

Well-implemented collaboration ultimately leads to fewer defects and faster delivery. Choose an IDE prioritizing frictionless cooperation to maximize team efficiency with tools like unified pull requests and activity streams within a familial codebase view.

  1. Customization Options

Developers spend countless customizing hours optimizing their environment for deep work. Progressive IDEs meet this need by prioritizing personalization. Choose one that allows granular tweaks from color themes and key bindings to extensions complementing workflows. 

A large portion of developers globally use custom plugins to superpower coding tasks. Options may integrate Slack, manage to-do lists, or automate routine procedures. Custom layouts tailor the interface, while key bindings replace mouse clicks, catering to personal proclivities. 

The most versatile IDEs let users share and discover community optimizations with configuration repositories. 

Ultimately, builders should feel unrestrained when getting into their element. Personalization fosters a sense of ownership, fueling high performance. A customizable habitat stimulates long-term engagement and productivity.

  1. Community Support and Documentation

No software exists in a vacuum. Choosing IDEs with involvement fosters crucial collaboration beyond product features. At both professional and hobbyist levels, community engagement accelerates learning and problem-solving through discussion. 

Comprehensive documentation channels like wikis or guides authored by members strengthen onboarding by sharing nuanced use cases. 

Open-source projects especially rely on communal support to establish robust workflows. Issues are resolved through crowd-sourcing expertise. New features emerge from grassroots involvement. 

Large user bases indicate longevity and responsive evolution to ecosystem changes. Overall, the community demonstrates a long-term commitment to grow with developer needs. Optimal IDEs thus couple powerful tools with a vibrant user network as a safety net for steady progress.

The Best IDEs and Tools for Golang Developers

Now that we have discussed the factors to consider when choosing an IDE, let’s explore the top IDEs and tools that empower Golang developers to unlock their full potential.

  1. Visual Studio Code

VS Code has risen to become one of the most widely used code editors. 

VS Code Features
VS Code Features – Image Source: Visualstudio.com

According to a recent survey of Go developers, VS Code and GoLand continue to be the most commonly used development environments, with VS Code being used by approximately 44% of respondents and GoLand by around 31%.

Most Preferred Code Editor for Go
Most Preferred Code Editor for Go – Image Source: Go.dev

At its core, VS Code provides a lightweight yet powerful GUI foundation optimized for productivity. 

Its modular extension marketplace then transforms the editor into an IDE tailored for any stack, including comprehensive Golang support. The Go extension integrates features like IntelliSense, debugging, and linting to enhance workflows. 

Developers also rely on VS Code for its seamless Git/Mercurial integration and lightweight portability across operating systems. 

Additionally, its cross-platform desktop apps and remote development capabilities enable fluid coding anywhere. With easy customization down to keybindings and color themes, VS Code creates an individualized atmosphere for building optimally. 

Over 500 additional extensions further extend functionality. Overall, Visual Studio Code delivers an unparalleled blend of flexibility, performance, and extensibility, making it a top IDE choice for Golang and any other projects.

  1. GoLand
Goland by JetBrains
Goland by JetBrains – Image Source: JetBrains

Developed by JetBrains, GoLand is the gold standard IDE created explicitly for Golang development. Its laser focus on the language yields unparalleled features like robust inspections for quality tagging errors other tools miss. 

GoLand leverages the IntelliJ platform’s mature support for refactoring via safe inline modifications to simplify structure. With intelligent autocomplete powered by deep statistical learning, migration is seamless. 

According to usage surveys, GoLand has gained significant popularity in recent years for its fluency with Go idioms, with approximately 31% of respondents now using it as their IDE of choice. Its debugger integrates breakpoints, step-through, and variable inspection while source maps pair tests to code.

Seamless version control from Git and Mercurial boosts collaboration on any scale project. Members of large distributed teams appreciate how GoLand fosters transparency and shared code ownership through code reviews and inline discussions. 

Overall, when demanding robust productivity, GoLand delivers with finesse tailored precisely for the Go workflow.

  1. LiteIDE

As an open-source, cross-platform IDE focused purely on Go development, LiteIDE remains a popular choice due to its simplicity and lightweight footprint. 

Stripping workflows down to pure essentials, it provides just enough features like syntax highlighting, auto-completion, and debugging to get started without superfluous distractions slowing initial learning. 

Built-in project management and integration of common testing/linting tools like go vet and go fmt streamline workflows. Power users appreciate how well it scales to larger codebases without performance lags common in heavier editors. 

The developer community also values active maintenance to keep pace with Go’s evolution. On resource-constrained devices or for streamlining workflows, LiteIDE optimizes the coding experience. 

Over a decade of updates nurtured a dedicated following, especially during introductory phases, prioritizing usability and approachability above all else. For many developers, its intuitive minimalism proves a reliable entry point to maximizing Go’s versatility.

  1. Vim
Vim-(logiciel)-console – Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

As one of the longest-standing code editors, Vim still sparks devotion from power programmers who prefer optimized CLI workflows. A vast ecosystem spearheaded by plugins like vim-go has enriched its already full-featured modal editing with deep Go nuance. 

Autocompletion, linting, and rich syntax aid composition while remaining non-intrusive. Plus, Vim operates lightning fast even on dated hardware, keeping focus razor sharp. As more mainstream IDEs burden slower, minimalism gains appeal. 

Vim balances raw efficiency and customizability through a limitless plugin universe and obsessively configurable macros. This flexibility and enduring popularity and support make Vim a compelling option, especially for CLI-centric environments or legacy code maintenance where bloated editors falter.

  1. Eclipse with GoClipse
GoClipse – Image Source: Eclipse Foundation

The famously extensible Eclipse IDE provides another full-featured path for Gro developers leveraging decades of R&D. The GoClipse plugin swaps Eclipse’s core Java DNA for Go, infusing syntax highlighting, formatting, debugging, and code generation wizardry. 

GoClipse has been battle-hardened for over 10+ years, maintaining feature parity with stand-alone IDEs. 

Its Maven/Gradle-like build support fosters reproducible deployments. Coming from the dependable Eclipse ecosystem, GoClipse offers solid multi-language testing integration from JUnit to Go tools. 

An estimated 70,000+ installs speak to its flexibility in fitting diverse workflows. While Go purists prefer Goland’s laser focus, for enterprises with existing Java investments already standardizing on Eclipse, GoClipse delivers Go tooling cohesion within corporate IDE policy. 

Its extensive pluggable architecture and community forums further lower adoption risks over countless plugins and use cases.

Tools for Golang Developers

Now that we’ve covered some of the top IDEs for Golang, it’s time to discuss additional tools that can aid web application creation and future projects. 

  1. Go Callvis

Go Callvis is a visualization tool that generates call graphs of Go programs using Graphviz. 

Go Callvis Development Tool
Go Callvis Development Tool – Image Source: Go.dev

It allows developers to understand the dependencies and call structures within complex codebases by grouping functions by package and methods by type. 

The web-based tool provides an interactive view through an HTTP server, generating SVG images of focused packages. This makes it useful for comprehending unfamiliar codebases or visualizing the architecture of large projects.

  1. Checkstyle

Checkstyle automates code style reviews for Golang projects by validating conformance to coding standards. 

Checkstyle With an Example Usage
Checkstyle With an Example Usage – Image Source: Go.dev

It checks for issues like poorly structured classes, errors in method design, and code layout inconsistencies. Developers can configure checks for specific lines, functions, or parameters. 

This helps enforce uniformity across large codebases while flagging areas for improvement. Checkstyle streamlines code quality management.

  1. Depth 

Depth analyzes dependency relationships within Golang codebases. It constructs a dependency tree from the source code, displaying the levels of call stack depth. 

Developers can customize the tree view using command-line flags to focus on certain packages before analysis. Whether run independently or as part of another tool, Depth delivers clarity into an application’s call graph structure for easier maintenance and refactoring.

  1. Apicompat

Apicompat assists Golang development through compatibility checking. It analyzes codebases to detect potential backward incompatible changes or issues with exported declarations. 

Apicompat tool to check for the introduction of backward incompatible changes
Apicompat tool to check for the introduction of backward incompatible changes. Image Source: Go.dev

By reducing false positives, Apicompat brings more reliability to compatibility verification. While it catches many problems, library authors still must carefully consider changes like argument reordering that may not be flaggable.

  1. GoVendor

GoVendor assists package management by flattening dependency trees into individual levels, enabling inspection of source locations. It handles simple to complex dependency structures with ease. Cross-platform testing integrates seamlessly, too. 

By fetching packages selectively based on status, state, or other criteria, GoVendor streamlines workflows for solo or team Go development alike—all while avoiding common issues that plague dependency trees.


By selecting the right IDEs and developer tools that align with their specific needs, Golang developers can streamline workflows and boost productivity. The options discussed offer seamlessly integrated solutions for tasks from initial coding through deployment. 

With Visual Studio Code, GoLand, LiteIDE, and Vim addressing a variety of use cases, every Golang developer can find an environment tailored to maximize their potential. 

Developers are encouraged to evaluate these solutions based on their priorities to take full advantage of Go’s powerful capabilities. Continuing to upgrade one’s toolkit fuels satisfaction and professional growth in building scalable, high-performing solutions.

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Jamsheer K

Jamsheer K

Jamsheer K, is the Tech Lead at Acodez. With his rich and hands-on experience in various technologies, his writing normally comes from his research and experience in mobile & web application development niche.

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