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Best Golang IDEs: The Top 10 Picks

In modern software development, choosing the right Integrated Development Environment (IDE) plays a pivotal role in enhancing productivity and streamlining the coding experience. For developers immersed in the world of Go programming, commonly known as Golang, having a robust Golang IDE is not just a preference but a necessity. This article explores Golang IDEs, along with the features, capabilities, and benefits that four prominent Golang IDEs bring to the table.


Golang IDE

  1. GoLand: A commercial IDE developed by JetBrains, designed specifically for Go.

  2. LiteIDE: A simple, open-source, cross-platform Go IDE that highly resembles Visual Studio and GCC C++.

  3. Wide: An open-source, web-based IDE for Teams using Golang.

  4. Gogland: A commercial IDE by JetBrains aimed at providing an ergonomic environment for Go development.

  5. Komod: A powerful, multi-language IDE with support for Golang.

  6. KDevelop: A free, open-source IDE that supports many programming languages including Go.

  7. NetBeans: A popular open-source IDE that supports multiple languages, including Go.

  8. Eclipse with GoClipse: Eclipse is a well-known, versatile IDE that supports multiple languages. GoClipse is a plug-in for Eclipse that adds Go support.

  9. Visual Studio with Visual Go: Visual Studio is a full-featured IDE from Microsoft. Visual Go is a plugin that adds Go support.

  10. IntelliJ IDEA with Go Plugin: IntelliJ IDEA is a popular IDE for various programming languages. Its Go plugin turns it into a fully-fledged Go IDE.


Goland

GoLand is a popular Golang IDE specifically designed for Golang development, created by JetBrains. It’s a commercial IDE, which means it comes with a price tag, but it also offers a rich set of features.

Goland Golang IDE

As you work in the editor, GoLand analyzes your code, searches for ways to optimize it, and detects potential and actual problems. It provides developers with a unique environment with extra tools and offers a comfortable setting.


Features of GoLand:

  • Coding Assistance: GoLand provides smart completion, inspections & quick-fixes, refactorings, quick navigation, quick popups, and code generation. It also detects recursive calls and highlights exit points in your functions.

  • Code Editor: The editor offers semantic highlighting and parameter hints for literals and nils used as method arguments, which makes the code much more readable.

  • Built-in Tools and Integrations: GoLand comes with a full-featured debugger, coverage tools, a test runner, and Go tools. It also integrates with Docker and Kubernetes.

  • Version Control: GoLand provides out-of-the-box support for Git, GitHub, and Mercurial5.

Pros of GoLand:

  • Intelligent Code Completion: GoLand offers intelligent code completion, which can significantly speed up your coding process.

  • Built-in Support for Go Syntax: The IDE has built-in support for Go syntax, which can be a great help when you’re writing Go code.

  • Debugging Tools: GoLand comes with debugging tools that can help you find and fix errors in your code.

  • Integration with Build Tools: GoLand integrates with build tools like Docker and Kubernetes, which can be very useful if you’re working on projects that use these tools.

Cons of GoLand:

  • Version Control: Some users have reported that the version control in GoLand is not as robust as in some other IDEs.

  • Performance: Some users have reported that GoLand can sometimes be laggy.

  • Price: Since GoLand is a commercial IDE, it comes with a price tag, which might be a con for some users.


LiteIDE

LiteIDE is an open-source Golang IDE specifically designed for the Go programming language. It’s known for its simplicity and cross-platform compatibility, making it a popular choice among Go developers.

LiteIDE Golang IDE

To work with LiteIDE, you first need to install it on your system. Once installed, you can create a new Go project or open an existing one. LiteIDE provides a user-friendly interface where you can write and edit your Go code.


As you write your code, LiteIDE offers features like syntax highlighting and code formatting that make your code easier to read and understand. It also has a built-in terminal for running your Go programs, so you can quickly test and debug your code right from the IDE.


Features of LiteIDE:

  • System Environment Management: LiteIDE allows you to manage your system environment effectively.

  • MIME Type Management: It provides MIME type management which can be useful in handling different types of data.

  • Configurable Build Commands: You can customize the build commands according to your needs.

  • Expandable Golang Support: LiteIDE supports Go1.18~Go1.21 generics, Go1.18 go.work, Go1.11 Go modules, Go1.5 Go vendor, and Go1 GOPATH.

  • Plugin System: It comes with a plugin system that allows you to add additional functionality.

  • File Search, Revert, and Replace: LiteIDE supports file search, revert, and replace which can be handy when dealing with large codebases.

  • Fast Open Files, Commands, and Symbols: It allows you to quickly open files, commands, and symbols which can speed up your development process.

  • Advanced Code Editor: The code editor supports Golang, Markdown, and Golang Present1. It also provides syntax highlighting and color scheme.

  • Code Completion: LiteIDE offers a code completion feature.

Pros of LiteIDE:

  • Simplicity: LiteIDE is known for its clean and simple interface which makes it easy to use.

  • Speed: It is fast which can improve your productivity.

  • High Degree of Customization: LiteIDE allows a high degree of customization which means you can tailor it according to your needs.

  • Cross-Platform Support: It supports major systems such as Linux, macOS, and Windows.

Cons of LiteIDE:

  • Limited Language Support: LiteIDE is designed specifically for Go developers. So, if you are working with multiple languages, you might need to switch between different IDEs.

  • Lack of Certain Advanced Features: Compared to some other IDEs like GoLand, LiteIDE might lack certain advanced features.


Wide

Wide is a web-based Golang IDE that allows developers to write and run code directly in their browsers. It is a lightweight and easy-to-use IDE that is well-suited for beginners and experienced developers alike.

Wide Golang IDE

Wide is a client-server application. The client is a web application that runs in the browser. The server is a Go application that runs on a remote server. The client and server communicate over a WebSocket connection.


When a user opens a project in Wide, the client sends the project files to the server. The server then compiles and runs the project. The output of the project is sent back to the client, which displays it in the browser.


Features of Wide:

  • Debugging: Wide provides debugging capabilities which can be crucial in identifying and fixing issues in your code.

  • Code Highlighting: It offers code highlighting which can make your code more readable and easier to understand.

  • Integration with Git: Wide integrates with Git, allowing you to easily manage your version control system.

Pros of Wide:

  • Collaborative Development: As a web-based IDE, Wide is designed for collaborative development which can be a major advantage for development teams.

  • Web-Based: Being web-based means you can access your development environment from anywhere, which can be very convenient.

  • Integration with Git: The integration with Git allows for effective version control, which is essential for any development project.

Cons of Wide:

  • Limited Language Support: Wide is designed specifically for Go developers. So, if you are working with multiple languages, you might need to switch between different IDEs.

  • Lack of Certain Advanced Features: Compared to some other IDEs like GoLand, Wide might lack certain advanced features.


Gogland

Gogland is a comprehensive Golang IDE. It provides a wide range of features to help developers write, debug, and test Go code. Gogland is based on the IntelliJ IDEA platform, which is a popular IDE for Java and other programming languages. This gives Gogland access to a rich ecosystem of plugins and tools.

Gogland Golang IDE

Here is an overview of how Gogland works:

  1. User opens a project in Gogland: The user either creates a new project or opens an existing one. Gogland loads the project files and begins to analyze the code.

  2. Gogland provides code completion and inspections: As the user types, Gogland provides suggestions for completing identifiers, keywords, and expressions. Gogland also scans the code for potential errors and code smells and provides suggestions for fixing them.

  3. User writes and edits code: The user writes and edits code in the Gogland editor. Gogland provides syntax highlighting, code folding, and other features to make it easy to read and write code.

  4. User refactors code: The user can use Gogland's refactoring tools to clean up and improve their code. These tools can be used to rename identifiers, extract methods, and perform other code transformations.

  5. User runs and debugs code: The user can run their Go code directly from Gogland. Gogland provides a debugger that can help them step through their code, inspect variables, and set breakpoints.

  6. User writes and runs tests: The user can write Go tests using Gogland's integrated test runner. Gogland can run tests, view test results, and debug test failures.

  7. User tracks changes using version control: Gogland integrates with popular version control systems such as Git, Mercurial, and Perforce. This allows users to track changes to their code and collaborate with others.

  8. User profiles and optimizes code: The user can use Gogland's profiling tool to identify performance bottlenecks in their code. This information can be used to optimize the code and improve its performance.

  9. User measures code coverage: The user can use Gogland's code coverage tool to ensure that their tests are covering their code adequately. This can help to prevent bugs from being introduced into production code.


Features of Gogland:

  • Coding Assistance: Gogland provides smart completion, inspections & quick-fixes, refactorings, quick navigation, quick popups, and code generation.

  • Code Editor: The editor offers semantic highlighting and parameter hints for literals and nils used as method arguments, which makes the code much more readable.

  • Built-in Tools and Integrations: Gogland comes with a full-featured debugger, coverage tools, a test runner, and Go tools4. It also integrates with Docker and Kubernetes.

  • Version Control: Gogland provides out-of-the-box support for Git, GitHub, and Mercurial1.

Pros of Gogland:

  • Intelligent Code Completion: Gogland offers intelligent code completion, which can significantly speed up your coding process.

  • Built-in Support for Go Syntax: The IDE has built-in support for Go syntax, which can be a great help when you’re writing Go code.

  • Debugging Tools: Gogland comes with debugging tools that can help you find and fix errors in your code.

  • Integration with Build Tools: Gogland integrates with build tools like Docker and Kubernetes, which can be very useful if you’re working on projects that use these tools.

Cons of Gogland:

  • Version Control: Some users have reported that the version control in Gogland is not as robust as in some other IDEs.

  • Performance: Some users have reported that Gogland can sometimes be laggy.

  • Price: Since Gogland is a commercial IDE, it comes with a price tag, which might be a con for some users.


komod

Komodo IDE is a cross-platform Golang IDE that supports a wide range of programming languages, including Go. It is a powerful and versatile IDE that can help developers write, debug, and test Go code. Komodo IDE is based on ActiveState's Komodo platform, which is a popular platform for developing IDEs. This gives Komodo IDE access to a rich ecosystem of plugins and tools.


Komod Golang IDE

Features of Komodo IDE:

  • Live Previewing: You don’t have to switch between browser and editor.

  • Devdocs.io Integration: Makes the process of looking up documentation simple.

  • Revamped Code Intelligence: Smarter and more responsive autocomplete and symbol browsing.

  • Debugging and Unit Testing: Tools to debug and test code.

  • Version Control: Support for Git, Mercurial, Subversion, CVS, Perforce, and Bazaar.

  • Extensibility: Tons of add-ons for customizing and extending features.

  • Workflow Management: Define your own workflow with easy file and project navigation.

  • Enterprise-Grade Support: Backed by ActiveState, trusted by developers and enterprises.

Pros of Komodo IDE:

  • Intelligent Code Completion: Komodo IDE offers intelligent code completion, which can significantly speed up your coding process.

  • Sophisticated Code Editor: The code editor in Komodo IDE is sophisticated and supports multiple languages.

  • Unit-Testing and Syntax Checking: These features help you to ensure the quality of your code.

  • Version Control: The IDE provides support for multiple version control systems.

Cons of Komodo IDE:

  • User Interface: Some users find the user interface to be a bit cluttered and confusing.

  • Performance: Some users have reported that Komodo IDE can sometimes be slow.

  • Learning Curve: It may have a bit of a learning curve for a beginner.


KDevelop

KDevelop is a free and open-source integrated development environment (IDE) for C, C++, Python, QML/JavaScript, PHP, and Go. It is a powerful and versatile IDE that can help developers write, debug, and test Golang code. KDevelop is based on the KDE Frameworks libraries, which are a cross-platform development framework. This gives KDevelop a wide range of features and makes it compatible with a variety of operating systems.

KDevelop Golang IDE

Features of KDevelop:

  • Code Highlighting: KDevelop provides code highlighting, although currently some of the language constructions are not supported.

  • Navigation Widgets: KDevelop offers navigation widgets that provide information about type, declaration, and so on.

  • Code Completion: KDevelop supports code completion for struct and interface members, type methods, and package imports.

  • Version Control Systems Support: KDevelop provides GUI integration for Git, Bazaar, Subversion, CVS, Mercurial (hg), and Perforce.

  • Build Systems Support: KDevelop knows how to invoke build automation tools such as make and ninja and has dedicated configuration pages for them.

  • Quick Code Navigation: KDevelop supports quick code navigation.

  • Semantic Highlighting: KDevelop provides semantic highlighting.

  • Context-Sensitive, Semantic Code Completion: KDevelop features sophisticated heuristics that allow for best code completion by providing suggestions that are based on context

Pros of KDevelop:

  • Lightweight: The platform runs on low prerequisites that allow users to properly deploy it on low-end or older machines.

  • Multi-Language Support: KDevelop fully supports various languages, including PHP, Python, JavaScript, Qt QML, and C/C++.

  • Context-Based Code Completion: KDevelop features sophisticated heuristics that allow for best code completion by providing suggestions that are based on context.

  • Popup Navigation: The IDE features a robust quick navigation popup widget that allows users to navigate around their project easily.

Cons of KDevelop:

  • Limited Language Support: KDevelop is designed specifically for Go developers. So, if you are working with multiple languages, you might need to switch between different IDEs.

  • Lack of Certain Advanced Features: Compared to some other IDEs like GoLand, KDevelop might lack certain advanced features.


NetBeans

NetBeans IDE is a popular integrated development environment (IDE) that supports a variety of programming languages, including Golang. It is a free and open-source IDE that is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux. NetBeans IDE provides a comprehensive set of features for Go development, including code completion, syntax highlighting, error checking, code formatting, and debugging. It also integrates with the Go toolchain, so you can start developing Go applications right away.

NetBeans Golang IDE

Features of NetBeans for Golang:

  • Syntax Highlighting: NetBeans provides syntax highlighting for Go, which can make your code more readable and easier to understand.

  • Templates for Go: NetBeans provides templates for Go.

  • Code Organization and Navigation: With NetBeans, you can organize your code hierarchically, view and navigate it with ease, and also quickly search your code.

  • Integrated Testing: NetBeans allows you to run tests in a selective way (all, just one project, just failed tests from previous run), highlights failures, and lets you jump quickly to the right place in the code to fix any problem.

  • Integrated Debugging: NetBeans allows you to add a breakpoint (including conditional breakpoints), view the stack trace, and view the variables at each frame.

Pros of NetBeans:

  • Wide Range of Plugins: NetBeans offers a wide range of plugins that can extend its functionality.

  • Easy to Install and Lightweight Runtime: NetBeans is easy to install and has a lightweight runtime.

  • Works Well for Smaller Projects: NetBeans works well for smaller projects.

  • User-Friendly Interface: NetBeans has a user-friendly interface.

  • Good Performance and Responsiveness: NetBeans is known for its good performance and responsiveness.

Cons of NetBeans:

  • UI Improvement: Some users feel that the user interface of NetBeans could be improved.

  • Not Up to the Level for Legacy Application Development: Some users feel that NetBeans is not up to the level for legacy application development.

  • Customization of the IDE Can Be Improved: Some users feel that the customization of the IDE can be improved.

  • Some Features Are Only Available in the Paid Ultimate Edition: Some features are only available in the paid Ultimate Edition.


Eclipse with GoClipse

Eclipse with GoClipse is a Golang IDE for developing applications. It provides a comprehensive set of tools and features to help you write, debug, and test your Go code.

Eclipse with GoClipse Golang IDE

GoClipse is an extension for the Eclipse IDE that adds support for the Go programming language. It includes features such as syntax highlighting, code completion, and code formatting. GoClipse also integrates with the Eclipse debugger, allowing you to step through your code line by line and inspect variables.


Features of Eclipse with GoClipse:

  • Go Source Code Editor: GoClipse provides a Go source code editor with configurable syntax highlighting and automatic indent/de-indent.

  • Brace Completion: It offers brace completion on certain keypresses (Enter, Backspace).

  • Go Project Wizard and Project Builder: GoClipse works as a wizard and project builder that detects and corrects errors quickly and reports syntax.

  • In-Editor Build Errors Reporting: With in-editor build errors reporting, you can easily identify and fix issues in your code.

Pros of Eclipse with GoClipse:

  • Automatic Indentation: The plugin lets web developers edit source code with automatic indentation.

  • Quick Error Detection and Correction: GoClipse also works as a project builder and includes the ability to identify and correct errors quickly and report syntax.

  • Custom Syntax Highlighting: It offers custom syntax highlighting, which can make your code more readable and easier to understand.

  • Reliable Integration with Git: Eclipse has pretty reliable integration with Git.

Cons of Eclipse with GoClipse:

  • Setting Up Eclipse Can Be Tiresome: Some users find that setting up Eclipse is a bit tiresome.

  • Project Explorer Can Be Hard to Understand: If you are not used to using this IDE, it might be hard to understand the project explorer.


Visual Studio with Visual Go

Visual Studio with Visual Go (formerly known as the Go extension for Visual Studio) is a golang IDE for developing applications. It is a popular choice for Go developers because it is lightweight, extensible, and easy to use.

Visual Studio with Visual Golang IDE

Visual Go is an extension for Visual Studio that adds support for the Go programming language. It includes features such as syntax highlighting, code completion, code formatting, and debugging. Visual Go also integrates with the Visual Studio debugger, allowing you to step through your code line by line and inspect variables.


Features of Visual Studio with Visual Go:

  • IntelliSense: Visual Studio with Visual Go provides features like IntelliSense, which offers intelligent code completion, helping you write code more efficiently.

  • Code Navigation: It provides code navigation, allowing you to quickly jump to definitions, declarations, and references.

  • Symbol Search: You can navigate via symbol search using the Go to Symbol commands.

  • Testing: Visual Studio with Visual Go provides testing features, helping you ensure the quality of your code.

  • Debugging: It offers debugging features, allowing you to identify and fix issues in your code1.

Pros of Visual Studio with Visual Go:

  • Intelligent Code Completion: Visual Studio with Visual Go offers intelligent code completion, which can significantly speed up your coding process.

  • Code Navigation: It provides powerful code navigation capabilities, allowing developers to quickly jump to definitions, declarations, and references.

  • Testing and Debugging Tools: Visual Studio with Visual Go comes with testing and debugging tools that can help you find and fix errors in your code.

  • Support for Go Modules: Visual Studio with Visual Go provides support for Go modules.

Cons of Visual Studio with Visual Go:

  • Price: Visual Studio is a commercial IDE, so it comes with a price tag, which might be a con for some users.

  • Performance: Some users have reported that Visual Studio can sometimes be slow.


IntelliJ IDEA with Go Plugin

IntelliJ IDEA with the Go Plugin is an integrated development environment (IDE) for developing Go applications. It is a popular choice for Go developers because it provides a comprehensive set of tools and features to help you write, debug, and test your Go code.

IntelliJ IDEA with Go plugin Golang IDE

The Go Plugin is an extension for IntelliJ IDEA that adds support for the Go programming language. It includes features such as syntax highlighting, code completion, code formatting, refactoring, and debugging. The Go Plugin also integrates with the IntelliJ IDEA debugger, allowing you to step through your code line by line and inspect variables.


Features of IntelliJ IDEA with Go Plugin:

  • Go Source Code Editor: IntelliJ IDEA with Go Plugin provides a Go source code editor with configurable syntax highlighting and automatic indent/de-indent.

  • Brace Completion: It offers brace completion on certain keypresses (Enter, Backspace).

  • Go Project Wizard and Project Builder: IntelliJ IDEA with Go Plugin works as a wizard and project builder that detects and corrects errors quickly and reports syntax.

  • In-Editor Build Errors Reporting: With in-editor build errors reporting, you can easily identify and fix issues in your code.

  • Go Tools: Though IntelliJ IDEA does most of the Go tools functionality automatically, you can still run gofmt, goimports, go generate, and go vet manually.

  • Go Templates: See what features IntelliJ IDEA has for text/template and html/template packages.

  • Build Constraints and Vendoring: Define rules under which files are included in the package and build your application only with dependency packages that are stored inside your project.

  • Using Profiler Labels: Label your goroutines with custom data to differentiate between during debugging.

Pros of IntelliJ IDEA with Go Plugin:

  • Intelligent Code Completion: IntelliJ IDEA with Go Plugin offers intelligent code completion, which can significantly speed up your coding process.

  • Code Navigation: It provides powerful code navigation capabilities, allowing developers to quickly jump to definitions, declarations, and references.

  • Testing and Debugging Tools: IntelliJ IDEA with Go Plugin comes with testing and debugging tools that can help you find and fix errors in your code.

  • Support for Go Modules: IntelliJ IDEA with Go Plugin provides support for Go modules.

Cons of IntelliJ IDEA with Go Plugin:

  • Price: IntelliJ IDEA is a commercial IDE, so it comes with a price tag, which might be a con for some users.

  • Performance: Some users have reported that IntelliJ IDEA can sometimes be slow.


Conclusion

To sum up, choosing the right Golang IDE is crucial for a smooth development experience. Each of the top four IDEs has its strengths, catering to different preferences. Your chosen IDE is more than a tool—it's a companion that enhances efficiency and contributes to project success. Stay updated, embrace features that suit your style, and let your Golang IDE be your coding ally.


Happy coding!

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