Rust – Programming Language

Rust is a modern programming language, which is used mainly for web development. The programming language has been designed while keeping safety in mind. Therefore, you will be able to get an enhanced experience while you are using the programming language. People who are interested in developing systems that promote safe concurrency can take a look at Rust. 

What is Rust?

Syntactically similar to C++, Rust is a low-level statically-typed multi-paradigm programming language focused on speed, memory safety, and parallelism.

Now, while it’s syntactically similar to C++ but what makes it different from C/C++, it does not have issues such as memory errors and building concurrent programs (this is a big deal and the reason why Rust exists). Problems that C/C++ has been struggling with for a long time. 

History of Rust

Rust came to the world back in the year 2006. One of the employees at Mozilla named Graydon Hoare was the inventor of this programming language. Mozilla soon got to know about the project and they started investing in it. The pre-alpha release of Rust programming language was released in the year 2012. Along with time, it has gone through many changes. They were able to release the first stable version of the programming language in the year 2015.

Rust is a special programming language 

When you take a look at the programming languages available out there, you will figure out that Rust is a special programming language. That’s because it has been designed specifically for certain special uses. If you are an experienced developer, you will figure out that Rust is coming out with a large number of unique and impressive features. Some of these features that you can find in Rust are stunning. However, you will need to put more effort to get a better understanding of the programming language. Even some of the developers run into issues when they are trying to tackle the bugs that exist in the programming language.

The role played by Cargo 

Inside Rust, you will be able to discover a dedicated package manager. This package manager is called Cargo. It is playing a major role in the programming language. For example, it is collecting and compiling everything to make life easy for you. Therefore, you can easily overcome frustration at the time of working with Rust. 

If you want to create a new project on Rust, you will come across the need to use Cargo. In addition to that, you will have to use the same to look for errors in the code. On the other hand, Cargo should be used to compile and build the code. Some of the developers say that it has become essential for them to use Cargo to manage the dependencies as well.

Rust is a faster programming language 

One of the biggest benefits that you can experience in the Rust programming language is its speed. You will be able to receive an impressive experience at the time of using this programming language to get your work done. You will be able to receive excellent memory management capabilities out of the programming language as well. That has also contributed towards the superior speed that is offered by programming language to the users.

You will not be able to find any runtime checking in Rust. That’s because the compiler of Rust stops bad code from the building. Some of the scripts will indeed take a considerably longer time duration to compile. However, it will deliver a quick and fast performance to you at the end of the day and you will not have to worry too much about the results that you are getting.

Rust is ideal for web development 

As mentioned earlier, Rust is an ideal programming language designed for web development. It has got all the features that a programming language designed for web development should have. For example, you will be able to receive enhanced safety and speed while you are using Rust. In addition to that, you will also be able to bring hardware into the web. 

You will be able to run code that executes quickly online with the help of this programming language. This is a low-level programming language. It has its copyrights as well. Therefore, you will be able to compile directly into Web Assembly and receive outstanding results.

You will be able to use a framework such as Rocket and use Rust for the development of web applications. It can provide you with outstanding speed with web applications. On the other hand, you will also be able to combine Rust with many other programming languages such as JavaScript to receive outstanding results.

Developers have fallen in love with Rust

When you take a look at the comments left by developers on the internet, you will figure out that they love Rust. This fact was also proven from a survey that was conducted by Stack Overflow. Rust can deliver a variety of prominent features, which the developers would need to get their work done daily. On the other hand, they are provided with the chance to overcome some of the bottlenecks that they have to face when using other programming languages for web application development. 

No matter what kind of web application you develop, you will be able to receive great assistance from Rust. Due to the same reason, the popularity of Rust is increasing along with time as well. You will also be able to find a large number of developers who are investing their time to learn about Rust and enhance their knowledge of this programming language.

Rust can help a person to become a better programmer 

Last but not least, you should figure out that Rust can help a person to become a better programmer at the end of the day. Rust is indeed a low-level programming language. However, it will be able to provide you with some important lessons in programming. You will be able to learn how to write code, which compiles faster. You will also be able to learn about memory management while you are using Rust. They can all contribute to the programming capabilities that you can achieve at the end of the day.

No segfaults

A programmer needs low-level control if he/she wants to do system programming. The low-level control is provided by memory management, but unfortunately, in languages like C, manual management is not easy and comes with many issues. Although Valgrind and other such tools help a lot, catching memory management problems is still very tricky.

Rust prevents these issues from occurring. As its ownership system analyses the program’s memory management at compile-time, ensuring that bugs due to poor memory management can’t happen and that garbage collection is unnecessary. Moreover, a programmer can also do super-optimized implementations in a C-like manner while expressly separating them from the code’s rest with the unsafe keyword. 

So, in short, Rust provides you with the benefits of a lower-level language without paying as much cost as you would with C. Now, all this is not free and comes with a price: you’ll pay with compile times and cognitive complexity, but it would be “why my code does not compile” complexity, rather than “why my heap is corrupted” complexity.

Easier concurrency

Rust can prevent data races at compile-time, thanks to the borrow checker.

In case you don’t know what data races are or why they occur, well, they occur when two threads access the same memory simultaneously. These data races can lead to some very nasty, unpredictable behavior. Thankfully, a reason why Rust exists is to prevent undefined behavior.

Zero-cost abstractions

Zero-cost abstractions make sure that there is virtually no runtime overhead for the abstractions that you use. To put it simply: the speed difference between the low-level code and one written with abstractions is almost null.

To give you an idea of how important these things are, let me give you a real example. Around seventy percent of the issues addressed by Microsoft in the past twelve years have been memory errors. The same is the story with Google Chrome too.

What is Rust good for?

As mentioned above, Rust is a low-level language, which makes it very useful in cases when you have to squeeze more out of the available resources. Since it’s statically typed, the type system helps you deter certain bug types during the compilation process. Therefore, most programmers will opt for this language when the resources are limited, and the software mustn’t fail. In contrast, Python, JavaScript, and other such high-level dynamically typed languages are better for things like quick prototypes.

Following are some of Rust’s use cases:

  • Powerful, cross-platform CLI tools
  • Online distribution services
  • Embedded systems software
  • Web apps for the server or client
  • Any other case where you would need systems programming, such as browser engines and, perhaps, Linux kernel.

E.g., here are a few OSs written in Rust: Redox, RustOS, QuiltOS, Mifflin, Tock.

Is Rust object-oriented?

I don’t think there is anyone out there that knows what object-oriented means today. With that said, no, Rust is not object-oriented, although it does have some of the object-oriented features such as you can create structs, which are kind of like classes as they can contain both data and associated methods on that data. But in contrast to object-oriented languages like Java, Rust doesn’t have inheritance and uses traits to achieve polymorphism.

Is Rust a functional programming language?

Despite its many similarities to C, Rust is heavily influenced by the ML family of languages (the three most prominent languages in this family are Standard ML (SML), OCaml, and F#). For instance, Rust traits are typed classes of Haskell, and Rust has potent pattern-matching capabilities.

Is Rust good for game development?

On the paper, yes. Since this language’s focus is on performance and as it does not use a garbage collector, games written in Rust should be performant and predictably fast.

But, since the ecosystem is still quite young, there is nothing written in it so far compared to Unreal Engine, for instance. The pieces are there, though, and Rust has a vibrant community growing with each passing day. Visit the Rust game dev subreddit if you want to see some examples of games written in Rust.

Is Rust good for web development?

Rust supports several frameworks for web development; Actix Web and Rocket are the most powerful ones. 

Rust doesn’t have anything that can compete with the ecosystem of frameworks like Angular and Rails, though. As mentioned above, Rust is a young language; many handy utility libraries are missing, which means that the development process is not that simple and easy.

Rust and WebAssembly

In case you don’t know, WebAssembly is like… Assembly for the Web.

Historically, browsers have been able to run HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, with CSS responsible for the style and look, HTML for the structure, and JavaScript for the functionality. If writing plain JS was something you didn’t like, you could transpile it from various other languages that added types, Haskell- or OCaml-like code, and other things.

But, JS does not have the predictably fast performance (thanks to the garbage collector and dynamic typing) necessary to run computation-intensive apps like games. 

WebAssembly helps with that. It is a language for the browser that can serve as a compile target for Rust, Python, or any other language. Meaning that you can code in basically any modern programming language and put it in the browser.

Out of all the languages, Rust is the most ideal for writing code to compile to WebAssembly.

  • Minimal runtime. WebAssembly needs to be shipped with the code as it doesn’t have its runtime. The smaller the runtime, the less stuff the user will have to download.
  • Statically typed. As mentioned many times above, Rust is statically typed, which means it can compile more efficiently to the WebAssembly since the compiler can use the types to optimize the code.
  • We have a head start. Most importantly, Rust has embraced WebAssembly wholeheartedly. Rust already has an amazing community and tooling for compiling to WebAssembly, which, to be honest, is the most significant advantage out of these 3.

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