Rust: Is This Programming Language The Future Of Web Development?

Rust is the programming language loved by developers for its security and efficiency. Rawnet’s Elliot Dickerson explores how it’s changing the game for multi-purpose programming.

Everyone seems to love Rust (just look at Microsoft’s Windows, Azure teams, Linux kernel maintainers, Amazon Web Services, Meta, and Android’s open source project). But why? What even is Rust? And why will it be important in 2023?

Rust is a high-performance, statistically-typed programming language designed for safety and performance. It’s one of the most popular programming languages in the tech industry today, with many companies using it to achieve faster performance and ensure their code is memory-safe.

Other languages, such as PHP, are primarily designed for implementing websites. However, Rust is a general-purpose language which can be used in many different places. While with PHP, you are limited to the options available in the PHP interpreter and the web server, in Rust you can do anything if the time is spent implementing it.

Basically, it makes most things possible without development restriction.

The much-loved programming language is set to shape the future of web development. Thousands of developers, and growing, use the language; we can expect its usage to increase as more and more companies discover how it can improve their codebases.

It’s a fast, reliable, and memory-efficient, having been voted the most-loved programming language seven years in a row for a number of reasons. But why, exactly, is Rust catching developers’ attention right now?

Memory safety

It can stay memory-safe without the costly overhead of a garbage collector. The strict rules on the lifecycle of a value mean that once its owner is no longer in scope, it is automatically removed from the memory.

Concurrency without data races

This means that multiple threads in a process can run simultaneously without worrying about which thread will access a value first and if that value might change in the time between the two threads accessing it.

Performance without compromising safety

People enjoyed being able to write code aggressively without having to worry about safety. Rust can guarantee memory safety while being one of the most efficient programming languages out there.

Easy error messages

Rust compiler returns build errors that are very easy to understand and give hints on what you may need to change. As it works differently from many common languages, this can make learning Rust much easier.

Noncommercial and open source

This means there are no concerns that the language may introduce paid versions which could cause unexpected plan changes in the future. It also allows a large group of developers to contribute to the code and check what others have done.

What are the downsides of Rust?

Rust’s approach to ownership of values can take some time to learn, especially if you come from a language such as JavaScript or PHP that does not have this. There are many other changes to understand, such as using macros to achieve common functionality instead of functions and often needing to use vectors instead of arrays to prevent mutability issues.

As a low-level language, you will often need to implement your code for what are simple commands in higher-level languages. This can be overcome to some extent by using macros made by other developers. This also means you have more control over how that specific functionality works.

As a result, the time it takes to make the complete code may be greater than if a higher-level language such as JavaScript or PHP is used. However, this time may be worthwhile as the code will work exactly how you want it to, and the improved performance gained compared to these languages.

Rust has been identified as being slow to compile. Some articles suggest this may be because of how the code was written rather than a flaw in the Rust language. There are guides available, such as Fast Rust Builds, to help improve the compilation times, but it still may not be as fast as some other compiled languages.

The future of Rust

Looking at the plethora of benefits that Rust can offer, its popularity will only continue to grow in 2023. Rust solves problems that developers have been facing for years, while still providing the high level of performance that they have come to rely on.

Renowned brands are already on the path to Rust adoption, with Meta now encouraging its engineers to use the programming language for coding high-performance backend services. Volvo is also exploring ‘software-defined cars’ to customize, differentiate, and improve vehicles. Rust will play a big part in this evolution.

With both developers and major technology brands recognizing Rust’s potential, it’s set to be one of the most used and popular programming languages in 2023 (and beyond).

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