When we write Go code, we’re writing it to be readable for ourselves and other developers. We’re able to make sense of the code and its intentions. Computers, on the other hand, do NOT understand Go code and thus have no direct idea what our code means/does. What computers do understand are a series of 0’s and 1’s (or binary). To translate Go code to binary, Go has a compiler, a piece of software that converts Go code into a program that the computer understands. This translated code is called an executable or a binary file. We can then run the executable which will do what our Go program was written to do.

To tell the compiler to compile a Go program, we first navigate to our Terminal (on Mac), or Command Prompt (on Windows). Then, type in go build followed by the name of our file and press Enter. If we wanted to run a file called greet.go, the command will look like:

go build greet.go

While nothing obvious is shown after we run our command, if we type in the command ls, we’ll see our original Go program and executable file.

ls greet greet.go

To execute the file, we call ./greet


Note: If the Go compiler finds that our Go code isn’t written correctly, then it will throw an error and our Go program won’t compile. We’ll need to fix the error before the compiler can properly do its job.

Now let’s go one step further and actually do it!



In the file provided (main.go), we have a Go program that prints “Hello World” to the terminal. We’ll get into what all the different parts are later. In this exercise, let’s get the program to execute!

In the terminal, type in go build main.go and press the enter key.


Great, we’ve built our executable file, now it’s time to run it.

In the command line, type in ./main and enter to greet the world!

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