Go Google Go! A language on full throttle

Java frameworks still rule the roost, but Go and Facebook's new HHVM PHP environment are gaining fast

TechEmpower's eighth round of Web framework benchmarks are in, and there's a new face at the top of a number of the results: Go.

Google's C-like language recently celebrated its fourth birthday and its 1.2 release, so it's likely its strong showing in the most recent round of benchmarks is a product of the latest revisions to the language and its compiler. Go showed its strongest hand in the JSON serialization test, racking up the best peak performance and the lowest latency scores, and it came in high on the single-query, multiple-query, and data-updates tests. It didn't do as well in the plaintext and "fortunes" tests, however.

The high performance with JSON serialization summons a possible theory: Perhaps Go is being performance-tuned for the same set of workloads most directly associated with frameworks like Node.js.

As it stands, Go already outperforms Node.js across the board. Node's lowest performance was at 14.3 percent of Go's speed (the single-query benchmark, with Node.js using MongoDB) and the best being 69.1 percent (data updates, with Node.js using raw MySQL). But Node.js has the benefit of a broad culture of software development -- not just through its package repository, but via the simple fact that there are far more JavaScript programmers than there are Go programmers.

Another interesting new face in the benchmarks is Facebook's HipHop PHP VM, an open source project that compiles PHP into C++ rather than interpreting it. Under development for some three years and now given a thumbs-up by PHP's own creator, HHVM was designed to replace Facebook's existing PHP-execution framework. HHVM outperformed both Go and Node.js in a couple of the areas -- the multiple-queries and data-updates benchmarks -- and came close to matching Go's performance for the fortunes test.

The big appeal of HHVM isn't raw speed, though. Rather, it's the performance boost the framework can give to legacy PHP code, of which there is -- and will likely remain -- quite a lot out there.

This story, "Go Google Go! A language on full throttle," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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