Programming language Go: Microsoft hands VS Code Go extension to Google's Go team

Microsoft is passing the Go programming language extension for the VS Code editor over to Google.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Google and Microsoft might be arch rivals in desktop and mobile, but their interests align in some areas of programming thanks to Visual Studio Code (VS Code), Microsoft's open-source code editor that most Google developers are now using to write software.  

Google's Go programming language has become one of the most popular systems programming languages among developers, now widely used at Netflix, IBM, Google and Salesforce for building platforms

At the same time, Microsoft's cross-platform open-source editor Visual Studio Code (VS Code) has become hugely popular among developers who write programs in Go, with 41% of so-called 'Gophers' using VS Code as their main code editor, a recent Go developer survey revealed. 

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Until now, Microsoft has maintained the Go VS Code extension, much as it maintains a Python VS Code extension and several extensions for Java on VS Code. But now the Go VS Code extension is moving to Golang, the open-source project that maintains the Go programming language. 

Google created Go in the early 2000s for building big distributed computing systems and released it to the public just over a decade ago. Since then, Go has become a key language for systems programming, ranking 14th in RedMonk's list of top languages

Like the Mozilla-created Rust language, which Microsoft is keen on, Go serves as a memory-safe alternative to older languages like C and C++.

"Today we are happy to announce that the Go team has officially stepped up as the new maintainer of the Go extension" said Microsoft's VS Code team

The changeover means the publisher of the Go extension for VS Code will no longer appear as 'Microsoft' but the 'Go Team at Google' in the VS Code Marketplace, Microsoft's platform for distributing VS Code extensions. 

Also, on Microsoft-owned GitHub, the Go VS Code extension repository is moving from microsoft/vscode-go to golang/vscode-go

"During the past few years working together with the Go team, it's been clear they are in the best position to advance the tooling ecosystem for Go and ensure that it evolves alongside the language," the VS Code team said. 

"Both the Go and Visual Studio Code teams recognize the importance of Visual Studio Code to the Go community and believe strongly in an open tooling ecosystem for Go developers. 

"Even as the extension graduates to be part of the Go project, the VS Code team will continue to work together with the rest of the Go project and the community to deliver a great experience for all Gophers."

According to the VS Code team, the editor now has 11 million users. That would represent around half the world's roughly 24 million developers, according to Statista's estimates. 

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Microsoft's efforts to boost support for Go in VS Code include gopls, the official Go language server, and support for the Delve debugger.    

"As the VS Code Go extension grows in popularity and as the ecosystem expands, it requires more maintenance and support," the Golang project said in its announcement about the extension handover

"Over the past few years, the Go team has collaborated with the VS Code team to help the Go extension maintainers. The Go team also began a new initiative to improve the tools powering all Go editor extensions, with a focus on supporting the Language Server Protocol with gopls and the Debug Adapter Protocol with Delve.

"Through this collaborative work between the VS Code and Go teams, we realized that the Go team is uniquely positioned to evolve the Go development experience alongside the Go language."

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