Rust programming language hits the big league

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Major players like AWS and Microsoft are adopting Rust, and the language is quickly gaining popularity with developers.

Mozilla’s programming language Rust has boosted its popularity by leaps and bounds this past year. Rust this week published its latest Rust Survey showing a dramatic increase in uptake among developers worldwide.

The Survey was conducted over a 2-week period in September 2020. It was executed in 14 languages and garnered responses from 8,323 participants worldwide.

Major take-aways from the Rust Survey

83.0% of respondents said they used Rust (an all time high). Rust is also being used more frequently now on reasonably sized projects. In 2019, only 34% of respondents reported using it for projects with at least 10,000 lines of code. In this year’s survey, that number rose to 44%.

The rust-analyzer and IntelliJ Rust plugin projects “both enjoy relatively happy user bases,” according to the survey. Nearly 3/4ths of all respondents noted that they saw at least some improvement in the IDE story, but users of rust-analyzer and IntelliJ were especially happy with 47% of rust-analyzer users noting “a lot of improvement” while 40% of IntelliJ users said the same.

In addition to improvements in the IDE experience, the number of users who are relying on a nightly compiler at least part of the time continues to drop – down to 28% compared with last year’s 30.5% with only 8.7% of respondents saying they use nightly exclusively.

AWS “loves” Rust

Rust is also gaining traction among the big tech players. In a recent blog post entitled “Why AWS loves Rust,” the company said that they were in appreciating the virtues of the language.

They write that AWS loves Rust because it helps them write highly performant, safe infrastructure-level networking and other systems software. Amazon’s first notable product built with Rust, Firecracker, launched publicly in 2018 and provides the open source virtualization technology that powers AWS Lambda and other serverless offerings.

David Barsky, a software engineer at AWS, says that Rust really focuses on providing a great experience for people. “So much so, it attracted a whole of bunch of people to systems programming who’ve never done it before, myself included,” he adds.

For these and other reasons, AWS is looking for more ways to participate in the Rust community, they say.

Tip: Microsoft develops programming language for secure coding