Rust Twice As Productive As C++
Written by Mike James   
Wednesday, 03 April 2024

Google director of engineering, Lars Bergstrom, gave a talk at the recent Rust Nation UK conference and claimed that Rust was twice as productive as C++. Given how good Google is at C++, this is quite a claim.

rustlogo

The problem with Rust is that to get any benefit from it you have to code using some new, and perhaps difficult to get used to, features. Early adopters often report that Rust was no problem, but then it turns out that they weren't really coding in Rust because they had so many "unsafe" sections they were essentially using Rust as if it was C.Looking at more experienced users, it now transpires that lots of projects have demonstrated that Rust is safer than C or C++ and it is as fast as C. The only question that seems to remain is how productive is a Rust programmer versus a C or C++ programmer. After all, Rust has features that take time to learn to use properly and if coding in safe Rust takes a lot longer than using C/C++ you could argue that the your C/C++ program could be made safer by spending more time on it.

rustcon

Bergstrom confessed that Google has lots of experience in converting projects to Rust and the conclusion is that Rust teams are as productive as Go teams and twice as productive as teams using C++. So no loss of productivity in moving from Go to Rust but what about C++? Not only did Google find that there was a consistent 2x productivity gain in building services in Rust, this factor also applied to maintenance and update. In addition, the time to convert to Rust and be competent and confident in Rust is about the same as the time to convert from Java to Kotlin - about 2 months.

The suggested reason for the improvement is, unsurprisingly, the security of memory management that Rust brings. A competent Rust programmer simply doesn't have to think about the sort of problems that plague C++ code and this also makes it more maintainable.

It is worth noting that Bergstrom is a Rust aficionado, but his account seems to be backed by experience and data.  Check out his full presentation:

 

 

More Information

https://www.youtube.com/@rustnationuk

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 03 April 2024 )