Rust, a new systems programming language from Mozilla is becoming increasingly popular, due to features such as memory safety and its performance and has rapidly grown – it now has 90 Rust User Groups in over 35 countries.
Why is Rust growing in popularity?
According to the 2018 Stack overflow developer survey, Rust was the “Most Loved” programming language for the third year in a row and in the top ten of “Most Wanted” languages. This continues the trend of the language’s popularity surge.
So, why has Rust become so popular and endured the test of time, in the developer community?
Evan Wallace, CTO of interface design tool company Figma says of its use when redeveloping a server: “We chose Rust for this rewrite because it combines best-in-class speed with low resource usage while still offering the safety of standard server languages. Low resource usage was particularly important to us because some of the performance issues with the old server were caused by the garbage collector”.
(Garbage collection is a form of automatic memory management; used by Go, Java or .NET Framework to name a few examples. Rust doesn’t use it: instead, memory and other resources are managed through “RAII”, or resource acquisition is initialization).
This is in keeping with the languages core features, focused on providing low-level functionality whilst providing:
- zero-cost abstractions
- guaranteed memory safety
- threads without data races
- type inference
- minimal runtime
What is it being used for?
Open Source tech firm Mozilla originally created Rust to solve the problems of its precursors, namely safety, concurrency, control over resources and other such antiquated language features.
Furthermore, Rust was designed as a systems language which is being used in applications such as Servo (a Mozilla created browser engine) and Redox, an operating system with Unix undertones, depicting its usefulness within the context of low-level systems which require uncompromising speed and efficiency.
Overall, its blazingly fast speed, coupled with the control that it is giving to developers working in such contexts, is paying dividends with the developer community.
It will be interesting to see how teams adopt the language for more common application use cases, in the same way that Figma did, who spoke very positively in their review of the language: “While we hit some speed bumps, I want to emphasize that our experience with Rust was very positive overall. It’s an incredibly promising project with a solid core and a healthy community. I’m confident these issues will end up being solved over time.”
It seems at this rate, Rust will continue to be refined (no pun intended) into a language that will have a great impact on the developer community.
Want to learn Rust? Also known as “The Book”, The Rust Programming Language is the primary official document of the language.