Rust: What’s next for the fast-growing programming language? - Questers

Rust: What’s next for the fast-growing programming language?

Let's go back to May 15, 2015. On this day, Mozilla released the first version of Rust, a modern multi-paradigm programming language known for its performance, reliability and productivity. It is used to build high-performance systems and has the simplicity of high-level languages like Go and Python, while preserving the control of low-level languages like C. The release of the new language promised to fix the problems that C and C++ developers had been struggling with for a long time, namely memory errors and parallel programming. Furthermore, without a large runtime environment or a garbage collector, Rust can power performance-critical services and easily integrate with other languages. Syntax-wise it is similar to C++.

Globally, there are hundreds of companies that are using Rust in their development for fast, low-resource, cross-platform solutions. The list of the well-known software companies that use Rust includes Firefox, Dropbox, Discord, Cloudflare, and even Microsoft. A truly interesting fact is that Rust developers are known as "Rustaceans”. According to Stack Overflow's 2022 Developer Survey held among over 80,000 developers, the programming language is one of the "most loved" with 87% of developers saying they want to continue using it and won this award seventh year in a row.

To celebrate Rust’s anniversary, we've brought together all the major events from the language's development to the present day in one article. So read on :)

The Story

The Rust programming language is a result of a personal project which was started in 2006 by the Mozilla Research employee Graydon Hoare. He decided to name the language after the rust fungus because it is robust, distributed and parallel. Four years later, Mozilla became a sponsor of the project as part of the ongoing development of an experimental browser engine called Servo, which was officially announced in 2010. During the same year, the work shifted from the initial compiler, which was coded in OCaml, to a self-hosted LLVM compiler - written in Rust. The first stable release, Rust 1.0, was announced on May 15, 2015.

The Rust Foundation

You might be wondering what this foundation is?

The Rust Foundation was established in February 2021 after Mozilla officially announced its restructuring in August 2020, due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. These events forced Mozilla to lay off around 250 employees, many of which were on the Rust team. The foundation is an independent non-profit organization with the purpose to steward the Rust language and ecosystem, with a unique focus on supporting the set of maintainers that govern and develop the project. Its founding member companies were Amazon via Amazon Web Services (AWS), Huawei, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla. In April 2021, Facebook also joined the foundation.

Why do developers choose Rust over other programming languages?

According to a recent Rust survey conducted among 9,354 developers that are using Rust, there are top three reasons to prefer it:

  • The possibility to build correct and bug-free software – 96%
  • The high performance of the language – 92%
  • Robust security properties – 89%

These results could be supported by the following features that the language has:

  • Memory safety: Rust's ownership system enables memory safety without the need for a garbage collector. This system effectively prevents data races and null pointer dereferences, which significantly decreases the chances of encountering memory-related bugs and crashes.
  • Concurrency: The language provides exceptional support for concurrency, allowing developers to write parallel code without concerns about common concurrency bugs such as race conditions. This is made possible through concepts such as threads, mutexes and channels.
  • Trait system: The Rust trait system enables flexible code reuse and composition by defining a set of methods that can be implemented for any data type. This allows for the creation of interfaces and supports generic programming. The trait system aims to provide an elegant implementation of the benefits of OOP.
  • Pattern matching: The pattern matching feature of Rust enables concise and expressive code for handling complex data structures and error handling. It simplifies the code by allowing developers to match different values and data.
  • Macros: The macro system allows for powerful metaprogramming, where developers can write code that generates other code during compilation. This enables more efficient and customized code writing.

All these features work together to provide a safe, fast and expressive language, making Rust an appealing choice for systems programming and beyond.

The potential of Rust

Given all the advantages Rust has to offer, its popularity is set to only continue to grow in 2023. With its latest release announced in April this year, Rust will continue to offer a high degree of performance. The latest update also added two new features for reliability and security. The first feature allows auto-fixing of some simple Clippy (a tool for catching common mistakes in the code and improving it) warnings. The second feature is that Cargo - the Rust package manager, now avoids emitting debug information in build scripts by default.

We can't wait to see in which direction the development of Rust will take. But one thing is sure – it is expected to be among the most-used programming languages for 2023, as both developers and big tech companies start to see its current development potential (and beyond). We will expect to celebrate its next anniversary with a new even more functional andflexible version.