Rust is an open source programming language that was initially developed at Mozilla Research and became increasingly popular for building distributed applications. It has been referred to in the Stack Overflow Survey as “the most-loved programming language” by software developers for five consecutive years. Moreover, companies like Amazon and Microsoft have recently revealed that they are using Rust to develop the software components that are responsible for ensuring application safety.
Rust allows the implementation of safe and predictable code by leveraging memory safety and speed. It is the ideal choice to create code without incurring undefined or unpredictable behavior thanks to its features such as consistent runtime behavior and a static type system.
Although Rust can be used for any system programming application, it is mainly implemented to build applications like simulation and game engines, browser components and file and operating systems. Rust syntax is similar to C++, but it addresses issues that C and C++ normally struggle with such as developing code without security vulnerabilities, general memory errors and problems in writing concurrent programs.
The Advantages of Rust in Distributed Programming
Rust tackles the performance and reliability problems of other low-level programming languages by using a careful compiler which examines all the variables used and referenced. As the code is compiled, Rust uses monomorphization by creating exclusive and high-performance code for each type of channel. It prevents programmers from paying performance penalties due to its flexibility. Based on the principle that you don’t pay for what you don’t use, the code written in Rust is enhanced and abstractions are solved at compile time making the program safe and without runtime overhead.
Rust doesn’t have a garbage collector, which allows programmers to build abstractions with predictable performance. In Rust, there is no garbage to collect because the moment something would have become garbage, it gets freed immediately at compile time, making the program much faster. Moreover, Rust uses a borrow checker to check where data is used across the program, and by following a set of rules it establishes where data needs to be dropped or initialized. It provides the same advantages of a garbage collector with the efficiency and predictability of manual management.
Another crucial characteristic of Rust is its asynchronous I/O. In Rust, asynchronous programming is widely implemented and well-integrated. It enables developers to effectively scale on a certain number of cores and exploit the operating system resources. By running several units of code on each application, this feature enhances performance and responsiveness of the operating system.
Rust prevents some of the software engineering problems that could critically damage the application development process. These issues concern concurrency and memory safety which can cause very often denial of service, code vulnerabilities or compromised secrets. Examples of these frictions that are common in other languages such as C or C++ include uninitialized variables, undefined behavior, invalid iterators and unexpected variable modification.
Another great advantage of using Rust is the Rust developer community, an extremely friendly and welcoming community. There are multiple events, chat rooms and forums to participate in that makes it even more pleasant to build distributed applications with Rust.
Thanks to its ability to fix concurrency and memory issues, to compile and run safe and predictable code and provide a fast implementation, Rust is quickly increasing its popularity and establishing itself as the ideal choice for building distributed applications.