Rust is exciting. That is what developers in almost every discipline are saying. With so many programming languages out there, how do you choose which one to learn? How can one language by any more exciting than another?
There is an excellent case to be made that Rust should be the next language you learn. Today we’ll cover seven reasons you should learn Rust, but first, a primer.
What Is Rust?
Rust is a programming language developed by Mozilla. Compared to many other languages Rust is quite young, but on the surface seems much like older languages like C or C++.
Despite this, Rust has a modern package management system and can be installed for use on almost any operating system, and even on embedded hardware.
You can install Rust from the official website, which also provides documentation for the language.
There are certainly easier languages to learn (but then again Python isn’t for everyone), so why learn Rust?
1. Rust Is Special
Different coding languages are suitable for different uses. Low-level languages are perfect for hardware and memory intensive tasks due to their speed. They come with potential problems though. Even experienced developers can run into program-breaking bugs which are near impossible to debug.
Rust combines the speed and control of a lower level language with the tools, safety, and debugging provided from a high-level language.
2. Cargo Does Everything
Each new Rust project has a Cargo.toml file, which contains project details and dependencies. Every time you check or build your project, Cargo use the Cargo.toml file to package everything the project needs.
Some frameworks can be challenging to navigate for beginners. Even if you’ve never used a package manager before, Cargo is simple for first-timers to use.
3. Rust Is Fast
One of Rust’s major draws is its speed. Its cleverly constructed memory management rules mean it requires no garbage collection. Many other languages have to continually check what is being executed at runtime to prevent problems.
Rust has no runtime checking, as the compiler stops bad code from ever getting built. While some scripts might take longer to compile, they will run quickly.
This isn’t just the case for programs running on computers either. This same system of clever memory use with little or no overhead makes Rust perfect for embedded hardware. Rust also, unsurprisingly, plays very nicely with the Raspberry Pi.
4. Rust Is for Web Development
The speed and safety Rust bring to hardware also exists on the web. WebAssembly is both a language and a portable executable for running code online. As well as being a low-level language in its own right, any language can compile into WebAssembly.
Frameworks such as Rocket allow developers to build web apps purely in Rust, and given that speed is critical online, it might be the perfect online language.
5. Developers Love Rust
All kinds of developers love Rust, and it shows. It was the most loved language in 2016, 2017, and 2018 in the Stack Overflow developer survey. Everyone including web developers, music makers, game developers, and embedded hardware programmers are talking about how it is perfect for their discipline.
Regardless of what field you are interested in, knowing Rust will likely help you in the future. Even if it doesn’t, there is another good reason to learn the language.
6. Rust Will Make You a Better Programmer
Most people coding today taught themselves, many using high-level languages. It is possible to be proficient at coding and still not truly understand what makes your program tick. Worse yet, your code might compile correctly but run horribly despite it performing a seemingly reasonable task on a computer more than capable of running it.
Lower level languages can run code much faster. Trying beginner projects in C and other low-level languages show that the languages don’t seem too hard to learn. The problem is, if you don’t understand memory management perfectly you are going to eventually run into issues that are very difficult to debug.
Rust requires you to program well but doesn’t expect you to know everything before starting. When something doesn’t work in a program, the compiler will not only tell you what is wrong but suggest fixes to the code.
Learning Rust means learning all of the same things needed for low-level languages. The difference is Rust’s well thought out rules, and the helpful compiler will assist you in learning good practices without accidentally destroying the universe with C or C++.
7. The Book
Almost all languages have a getting started section of their documentation to help get new users acquainted with the syntax and usage. Rust goes further. The Rust Programming Language, known simply as The Book, is more than a simple manual.
The book is a twenty chapter guide covering every element of the language through examples. Aimed at being readable to novices, but not frustrating for professionals, the book manages to retain a tone suited to both.
The Rust Programming Language is not a coding fundamentals book as such, but the process of learning how the language works holds a mirror up to your own practices.
Should You Learn Rust?
To almost anyone with interest in programming, Rust is exciting. The Rust Programming Language book is worth reading even if you have no intention of learning the language fully.
After everything said in this article, if you are an absolute beginner, I’d still recommend Python. It’s perfect for learning the absolute fundamentals, but powerful enough to be the language of the future of tech.