A brief history and benefits of the Rust programming language

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One of those languages that are getting viral literally day by day is Rust. It appeared in 2010 as an open source project, and for more than ten years it has been gaining the attention of web developers. This is due to its characteristics that make it stand out from the rest of the programming languages. 

Rust is not just another programming language, doomed to sink into oblivion like many new ones. This language has managed to break out into the big league and to become widely used by developers and companies As Rust simplifies and streamlines software development, adopting this language is a wise decision.

In today’s article, we’ll learn how Rust appeared and why this programming language is considered an investment for the future. 

A brief history of Rust: from its release to its rapidly growing popularity

Rust was created by Graydon Hoare at Mozilla Research, with contributions from Dave Herman and others in 2006, with the intention of addressing the memory management issues that plague C and C++. It was designed to be a safe and fast systems language, which means it can be used for many different types of applications. 

In 2012, Brendan Eich announced that Mozilla would be using Rust for Firefox OS. The project was picked up by a number of volunteers and has continued to grow since then. In 2014, it reached version 0.8, including a full standard library and documentation; this was followed by version 1.0 in 2015, with support for many more platforms (including Windows), and an IDE written in Rust itself called Racer (which allows installing extensions from the browser).

Rust has been used in production at Dropbox since 2013; they have found it easier to write reliable code than C++ or C# because it does not allow null pointers or reference leaks, as well as having no head-of-tail jumps (so there are no race conditions).

This programming language has been around since 2010, but it wasn’t until 2016 that it became a major player in the world of web development and cloud computing. 

However, Rust has become much more popular over the last few years. In 2022, Rust was stated to be one of the most loved programming languages in the world.

Rust has changed a lot since 2010. This is one such language that is slowly becoming a popular choice among developers as well as companies, and Yalantis confirms this with their Rust market overview. Even though its adoption rate hasn’t been high compared to other languages, still it has received positive comments from developers because of its features that do not allow its safety features to degrade the performance while writing code.

What are those most prominent features of Rust developers are so pleased with? Let’s find out. 

What makes Rust such a demanded programming language

Why did Rust get popular? The answer is pretty simple. 

If we are to carry out the rust language review, the first thing to say is that this language is safe, concurrent, and practical. Its designers and community seek to avoid catastrophic failures by eliminating certain types of software bugs. Rust has a simple syntax, that’s why it is easy to learn. You can build programs using only a few lines of code, without having to worry about syntax errors or missing semicolons.

The benefits of Rust include:  

  • Memory safety. Rust ensures memory safety even without garbage collection. In C and C+, memory management is not guaranteed by the language; instead, there are tools like reference counting and the garbage collector that help you get the job done correctly. These tools can cause bugs if they’re misused or don’t work correctly — but Rust doesn’t rely on them at all! Instead, Rust guarantees memory safety by default through its type system and borrow checker. 
  • Performance. Rust was built with performance in mind, so it comes as no surprise that it can be much faster than other languages like C++ or Python. This makes it ideal for low-level programming such as operating systems, mobile devices, and embedded systems. However, Rust can also be used for high level applications like web programming or desktop apps because it provides type safety and memory safety features that prevent runtime errors at compile time.
  • Concurrency. Concurrency is an important but tricky problem for many programming languages. In particular, shared memory concurrency tends to force developers to choose between two extremes: either writing code that is easy to reason about but prone to bugs; or writing code that is fast and efficient but difficult to reason about and understand. Rust’s type system makes it easy to write code that scales well across multiple cores. In fact, Rust has built in concurrency support, so you don’t need to worry about locking or thread synchronization issues!
  • Ownership. Ownership is the core concept of Rust. Rust’s ownership model helps to avoid memory leaks by ensuring that resources are always released correctly. We don’t even need to use explicit garbage collection in most cases because Rust does it for us. The borrow checker guarantees that no two parts of your code can ever mutate the same data structure at once, which makes concurrency much easier than in languages like C or C++ where those kinds of mistakes are common.
  • Community. The Rust community is one of the most active ones. There are thousands of active users on Stack Overflow. There are hundreds of libraries available for use by programmers. And there are hundreds of meetups around the world where people can come together to discuss their projects and get help from others with similar interests.

With all benefits enumerated above, there might emerge a logical question: if it’s that good, what is Rust language used for?

Thanks to its features, Rust is used for web development and cloud computing. Besides, it’s suitable for embedding in other languages, programs with specific space and time requirements, and writing low-level code.

This is enough for companies to consider developing their solutions in Rust. Actually, a lot of them have already taken advantage of Rust’s features. 

Rust use cases among big companies

Enumerated benefits would never put big companies away. That’s why we can see lots of well-known companies jumping inside the Rust track. Those are names that we hear on a daily basis:

  • Discord. Discord moved their client and server codebase, as well as the Read States service from Golang to Rust, appreciating its speed and performance. 
  • Dropbox. Dropbox has been partially using Rust for their file-syncing engine because of its concurrency. 
  • Figma. Figma needs great performance, and thanks to Rust, Figma has it. The company decided to move from TypeScript to Rust for their synchronization engine to accommodate constant growth. 
  • Facebook. Facebook uses Rust for their source control backend that was originally written in Python. Facebook’s main concern was security, and they were able to improve it thanks to Rust. 
  • Amazon. For Rust’s security and performance, Amazon chose this programming language to build Amazon Web Services.  

Does your solution need Rust?

Rust is a newcomer, but it is certainly gaining popularity really fast. It’s being used in systems where reliability and performance are essential. That’s why this language is a trusted solution to many problems developers have. It’s great that it can be used in so many different areas, and as such, it’s getting more and more popular as time goes on. 

The popularity of Rust is likely to grow even more as the language develops further. The same goes for its use in developing complex solutions, which means now is a great time to become familiar with the Rust programming language. If you are interested in making reliable, high-performance code without sacrificing programmer productivity and development speed, then Rust is what you need.