BLOG Rust - The Revolutionary Programming Language
David Schmid
  • Author: David Schmid
  • Date: 07.01.2024 Last Update: 05.03.2024, 10:14
  • Categories: Software Development

According to the Stack Overflow 2023 Developer Survey, Rust has been voted the most desired and admired programming language, continuing its streak since 2016. But what makes Rust so popular and yet so underutilized in certain sectors?

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Table of Contents

The Birth and Evolution of Rust

Rust evolved from a personal project by Mozilla employee Graydon Hoare, with Mozilla starting to sponsor the project in 2009. The initial aim was to enable the creation of new browser features while addressing the memory management and allocation issues prevalent in languages like C and C++.

By 2020, the core Rust team founded the Rust Foundation, with backing from major tech corporations like AWS, Huawei, Google, Microsoft, and Mozilla.

A Unique Approach to Memory Management

Traditionally, programming languages have been divided into two categories: those with automatic memory management, like Python, Java, and C#, and those where developers manage memory themselves, like C and C++.

Rust, however, adopts a different strategy. It employs compile-time memory allocation based on a set of strict rules that developers must follow, leading to memory-safe applications.

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Rust offers a modern syntax and ensures memory safety without the need for garbage collection. It therefore provides speed and stability, crucial for modern software.

The Heart of Rust: Ownership and Borrowing

Rust achieves memory safety through its unique "Ownership and Borrowing" system. The core principle states that there can be only one owner of data at a time. When a value is assigned to a variable, that variable becomes the owner. If the owner goes out of scope, the memory is freed. However, Rust allows for the transfer of ownership and the borrowing of data through references, maintaining the original binding's ownership.

Rust in Practice

Rust's integration into the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) showcases its practical application and benefits in real-world software development. By early 2023, around 21% of new native code in Android 13, such as the Android Virtualization Framework (AVF), Keystore2, the new Ultra-wideband (UWB) stack, and DNS-over-HTTP3, was written in Rust.

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Significantly, there have been zero memory safety vulnerabilities discovered in Android’s Rust code, highlighting its robustness in secure coding.

This achievement aligns with broader industry trends, as memory safety vulnerabilities have historically represented a major portion of vulnerabilities in products.

Rust Across Industries

Rust's adoption in real-world software development extends far beyond its integration into the Android Open Source Project. Many major companies have recognized the benefits of Rust and have incorporated it into their technology stacks, further demonstrating its versatility and robustness:

NIST Recognition for Rust

Rust's commitment to software safety has been acknowledged by the US National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), which included it in its list of Safer Programming Languages. This inclusion highlights Rust's ownership concept.

The Safer Programming Languages list is part of the SAMATE (Software Assurance Metrics And Tool Evaluation) initiative by NIST, which focuses on software quality assurance. Rust's entry into this list, which comprises only a few selected languages and tools, signifies its importance in developing secure software.

The Callenges of Rust Adoption

Despite its growing popularity and numerous advantages, Rust faces certain challenges that impact (yet) its broader adoption in the industry. It has a steep learning curve and introduces unique concepts such as ownership and borrowing, which require a different mindset and approach to coding. The language is also not strictly object-oriented, which can be a barrier for programmers accustomed to object-oriented paradigms of languages like Java.

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As technology moves towards safer and more efficient software, Rust stands out with its innovative and reliable approach. Its unique approach to memory management and safety, combined with its performance capabilities, makes it a language well worth the attention it has received and more.

At we recognize and support the transformation towards Rust, understanding its potential to redefine software development with improved security and efficiency. Rust aligns with our commitment to more robust and effectie software solutions.

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