Keeping Go a human-first language

Disclaimer: I forked my opinions on this one from a barely readable Twitter thread and wanted to write it down how I feel about keeping the language internals away from the users, especially from the newcomers. This is not a skill-level concern, it is a core goal of Go to provide a high-level programming language that saves users from excessive mental overhead. Note that these are personal opinions and are not written on the behalf of a group.

Go is a highly opiniated language when it comes to API design, readability and human-first approach. It is critical to understand these aspects and the history of the language before deep diving into more.

Go is created at Google to make engineers more productive and do more without mental overload. Go wishes that behavior is predictable from a human perspective, rather than humans are being enforced to think like machines to be efficient and productive. Go sets the same high bar for its runtime. Go wishes to be good enough to be doing the right for the most of the time – anything else can be optimized.

It is highly critical for us to keep Go users having high expectations that things will work out of the box, and escalating major problems to the team where the promise is not matching the actual behavior. Go is far away from being a perfect language. It is important not to be sold so quickly and participate in the future of the language if you are already skilled to understand the internals and their pitfalls.

I encourage our users to report bugs rather than creating extensive documentation around how to hack the current limitations for the short-term gain. There is much space for improvement in Go and the team desperately needs actual feedback from actual users to commit work in the right direction. Go needs to understand its users rather than users having to understand every aspect of the language. This is the only scalable approach.

Maybe along the way, our core goal of creating a human-first language will be challenged, but I believe Go has proven that a language can be high-level, precise and performant at the same time. I see no reason we should give up on this so quickly. I apologize on the behalf of everyone involved in Go for a long time to forget that this specific language goal needs to keep being communicated better.

If you have any suggestions or comments, please ping @rakyll.