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The Go Programming Language (Addison-Wesley Professional Computing Series) 1st Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 101 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0134190440
ISBN-10: 0134190440
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Product Details

  • Series: Addison-Wesley Professional Computing Series
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1 edition (November 5, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0134190440
  • ISBN-13: 978-0134190440
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,151 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By D. Golden on January 4, 2016
Format: Paperback
[Disclaimer: I was provided with a free review copy by the publisher.]

TL;DR

If you're looking to buy a comprehensive text on Go, "The Go Programming Language" is an excellent choice. But with so many free e-book introductions to Go, do you really need it? Maybe, but maybe not.

OVERVIEW

The authors "assume that you have programmed in one or more other languages" and thus "won't spell out everything as if for a total beginner". Yet the book weighs in at a hefty 380 pages (over 100 pages more than my venerable 1988 K&R 2nd edition).

Is it better than the free 50-page "Little Go Book", or the free 160-page "Introduction to Programming in Go" or even the freely-available 80-page Go Language Specification itself? Yes, certainly. But is it two or three or four times as good? I don't think so.

So is "The Go Programming Language" worth the cost to read in both dollars *and* time? It depends on how you learn, how much you already know, and whether, for you, the good parts outweigh the bad.

THE GOOD PARTS

Chapter 1 ("Tutorial") sets the stage for much of what is excellent about this book: fabulous examples. Beyond the obligatory "Hello World", it presents a quick look at several simplified "real world" examples, including command line text filtering, image generation/animation, URL fetching and serving a web page.

The rest of the book follows this same pattern. Chapters typically present several different code examples, most of which do real things rather than just consist of toy code. They include exercises (which I didn't do), that would be good for a course or for someone who learns best by doing structured exercises.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I tried another Go book, before tossing it aside in favor of this one. Excellent book. It did what the others didn't: it explained "why". Go is a weird language. So if the reasoning behind the decisions is left out, then the language is hard to swallow. But with proper explanation of the reasoning, one can see the wisdom of Go and forgive some of its odd design and syntax decisions.
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This review mostly focuses on the presentation and typesetting of the digital edition. As far as the content, I completely echo the praise that others have lauded on this book. It is the essential book that has been missing for Go as a language. That said, it is *not* perfect, and I will touch on the criticisms I have later perhaps.

However, the presentation of the Kindle/Ebook edition is literally painful to read. It a significant impediment. It is so bad, that perhaps 4 stars is much too generous. (I have seen all versions other than the nook, which will undoubtedly be the same)

The line spacing is unbearably compressed – it would require many over the age of 25 to squint or reach for a ruler. The font choice and typesetting are archaic, unprofessional and lazy – exacerbated by the authors failing (forgetting?) to embed the fonts they used in the production – resulting in no better than a direct export from something you would expect from a high school student essay in Word, and some 600 "pages" of it, with the code examples set stupidly on the page. I understand the appeal and desire to have this book be a contemporary version of K&R (and content wise, it succeeds), but this is significantly sub-par that standard which even so is incompatible with the legibility requirements for reading from screen. The fact that the authors advise “adjust(ing) the font size to the smallest setting” for optimal viewing is laughable, and effectively adds insult to injury. Is the print book published in a landscape orientation? No, it isn't, and reading the ebook that way is no remedy, and no eReader device or software has the necessary controls to fully remedy it. If I were to rate the book on the presentation alone it would be a zero. It is inexcusable.
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Every programming language has one book that become the de-facto book. C has K&R and other programming languages has their own. This book is for Go what is K&R for C. If you ever want to buy a Go programming language book, this book should be the one. I have been programming in Go from almost an year and I also find some new tricks from the book. Also I use this book as a reference when I need to brush up some concept.
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This is the best book (out of 5) that I have read on Go. It's rare to find something in the computer science world that is as accessible and yet as accurate as this work. The examples are excellent and the explanations and instructions clear. Like the language itself it emphasizes clarity and simplicity and abstracts away the right parts, allowing for both accurate understanding and the avoidance of unnecessary complexity.

It also provides the most solid grounding for getting more deeply involved in the more complex areas of the language, which it introduces on a gradient, without getting too thoroughly involved in them.

I have a feeling that It would work reasonably well as a beginner's book, although you might want to make it the second book (or a follow up to the many free tutorials on-line) if you're brand new to programming. It could easily be a first Go book if you've produced even trivial programs in any other language. I highly recommend it to anyone who is not yet fully comfortable reading the language spec and standard library source code. And even if you are happy doing so, you're not going to be doing yourself any harm by reading this work.
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