# Variables and Data Types

Authors

In this tutorial, we will learn about variables. We will also learn about the different data types that Go provides us.

## Variables

This is also known as declaration without initialization:

``````var foo string
``````

Declaration with initialization:

``````var foo string = "Go is awesome"
``````

Multiple declarations:

``````var foo, bar string = "Hello", "World"
// OR
var (
foo string = "Hello"
bar string  = "World"
)
``````

Type is omitted but will be inferred:

``````var foo = "What's my type?"
``````

Shorthand declaration, here we omit `var` keyword and type is always implicit. This is how we will see variables being declared most of the time. We also use the `:=` for declaration plus assignment.

``````foo := "Shorthand!"
``````

Note: Shorthand only works inside `function` bodies.

## Constants

We can also declare constants with the `const` keyword. Which as the name suggests, are fixed values that cannot be reassigned.

``````const constant = "This is a constant"
``````

It is also important to note that, only constants can be assigned to other constants.

``````const a = 10
const b = a // ✅ Works

var a = 10
const b = a // ❌ a (variable of type int) is not constant (InvalidConstInit)
``````

## Data Types

Perfect! Now let's look at some basic data types available in Go. Starting with string.

### String

In Go, a string is a sequence of bytes. They are declared either using double quotes or backticks which can span multiple lines.

``````var name string = "My name is Go"

var bio string = `I am statically typed.
``````

### Bool

Next is `bool` which is used to store boolean values. It can have two possible values - `true` or `false`.

``````var value bool = false
var isItTrue bool = true
``````

Operators

We can use the following operators on boolean types

TypeSyntax
Logical`&&` `||` `!`
Equality`==` `!=`

### Numeric types

Now, let's talk about numeric types.

Signed and Unsigned integers

Go has several built-in integer types of varying sizes for storing signed and unsigned integers

The size of the generic `int` and `uint` types are platform-dependent. This means it is 32-bits wide on a 32-bit system and 64-bits wide on a 64-bit system.

``````var i int = 404                     // Platform dependent
var i8 int8 = 127                   // -128 to 127
var i16 int16 = 32767               // -2^15 to 2^15 - 1
var i32 int32 = -2147483647         // -2^31 to 2^31 - 1
var i64 int64 = 9223372036854775807 // -2^63 to 2^63 - 1
``````

Similar to signed integers, we have unsigned integers.

``````var ui uint = 404                     // Platform dependent
var ui8 uint8 = 255                   // 0 to 255
var ui16 uint16 = 65535               // 0 to 2^16
var ui32 uint32 = 2147483647          // 0 to 2^32
var ui64 uint64 = 9223372036854775807 // 0 to 2^64
var uiptr uintptr                     // Integer representation of a memory address
``````

If you noticed, there's also an unsigned integer pointer `uintptr` type, which is an integer representation of a memory address. It is not recommended to use this, so we don't have to worry about it.

So which one should we use?

It is recommended that whenever we need an integer value, we should just use `int` unless we have a specific reason to use a sized or unsigned integer type.

Byte and Rune

Golang has two additional integer types called `byte` and `rune` that are aliases for `uint8` and `int32` data types respectively.

``````type byte = uint8
type rune = int32
``````

A `rune` represents a unicode code point.

``````var b byte = 'a'
var r rune = '🍕'
``````

Floating point

Next, we have floating point types which are used to store numbers with a decimal component.

Go has two floating point types `float32` and `float64`. Both type follows the IEEE-754 standard.

The default type for floating point values is float64.

``````var f32 float32 = 1.7812 // IEEE-754 32-bit
var f64 float64 = 3.1415 // IEEE-754 64-bit
``````

Operators

Go provides several operators for performing operations on numeric types.

TypeSyntax
Arithmetic`+` `-` `*` `/` `%`
Comparison`==` `!=` `<` `>` `<=` `>=`
Bitwise`&` `|` `^` `<<` `>>`
Increment/Decrement`++` `--`
Assignment`=` `+=` `-=` `*=` `/=` `%=` `<<=` `>>=` `&=` `|=` `^=`

Complex

There are 2 complex types in Go, `complex128` where both real and imaginary parts are `float64` and `complex64` where real and imaginary parts are `float32`.

We can define complex numbers either using the built-in complex function or as literals.

``````var c1 complex128 = complex(10, 1)
var c2 complex64 = 12 + 4i
``````

## Zero Values

Now let's discuss zero values. So in Go, any variable declared without an explicit initial value is given its zero value. For example, let's declare some variables and see:

``````var i int
var f float64
var b bool
var s string

fmt.Printf("%v %v %v %q\n", i, f, b, s)
``````
``````\$ go run main.go
0 0 false ""
``````

So, as we can see `int` and `float` are assigned as 0, `bool` as false, and `string` as an empty string. This is quite different from how other languages do it. For example, most languages initialize unassigned variables as null or undefined.

This is great, but what are those percent symbols in our `Printf` function? As you've already guessed, they are used for formatting and we will learn about them later.

## Type Conversion

Moving on, now that we have seen how data types work, let's see how to do type conversion.

``````i := 42
f := float64(i)
u := uint(f)

fmt.Printf("%T %T", f, u)
``````
``````\$ go run main.go
float64 uint
``````

And as we can see, it prints the type as `float64` and `uint`.

Note that this is different from parsing.

## Alias types

Alias types were introduced in Go 1.9. They allow developers to provide an alternate name for an existing type and use it interchangeably with the underlying type.

``````package main

import "fmt"

type MyAlias = string

func main() {
var str MyAlias = "I am an alias"

fmt.Printf("%T - %s", str, str) // Output: string - I am an alias
}
``````

## Defined types

Lastly, we have defined types that unlike alias types do not use an equals sign.

``````package main

import "fmt"

type MyDefined string

func main() {
var str MyDefined = "I am defined"

fmt.Printf("%T - %s", str, str) // Output: main.MyDefined - I am defined
}
``````

But wait...what's the difference?

So, defined types do more than just give a name to a type.

It first defines a new named type with an underlying type. However, this defined type is different from any other type, including its underline type.

Hence, it cannot be used interchangeably with the underlying type like alias types.

It's a bit confusing at first, hopefully, this example will make things clear.

``````package main

import "fmt"

type MyAlias = string

type MyDefined string

func main() {
var alias MyAlias
var def MyDefined

// ✅ Works
var copy1 string = alias

// ❌ Cannot use def (variable of type MyDefined) as string value in variable
var copy2 string = def

fmt.Println(copy1, copy2)
}
``````

As we can see, we cannot use the defined type interchangeably with the underlying type, unlike alias types.