Google Says You Got Rust Wrong - It's Great!
Written by Mike James   
Wednesday, 28 June 2023

Google is keen on Rust and a recent blog post attempts to dismiss some of the bad things you may have heard about it.

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The post states that over 1000 Google developers are now into Rust and it is this experience that they have used to debunk many Rust myths. 

The first is that it takes a lot of time to learn Rust. They claim that their devs took no longer to learn the language than other languages - a third took two months or less. I find this surprising as I'm still struggling with some aspects of Rust after a few years. It's not that its ideas are super difficult it is more seeing how they fit into the old ways of doing things. I'd like to know how much unsafe code was being produced after two months of learning. Dropping back to unsafe code is a sure sign that you have probably not really got to grips with Rust - unless you have to work with legacy code as well.

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The second rumour wasn't debunked. The Rust compiler is slow and build times are a problem. You will get no disagreement from Google, but then compilers could always be faster and better. Google is trying to help and then there is the GCC implemenation of Rust to look forward to.

The third rumour is a debunked, but again I'm not sure I believe it. The Rusty Googlers suggested that the three big problems were Macros, ownership and borrowing, and async. Well all I can say is that what you think the problems are isn't the same as how the outside world views the problems in the code you produce. In addition, ownership and borrowing is one of the big reasons, apart from using other peoples code, that causes the programmer to have to resort to unsafe code.

The fourth rumour is that the Rust compiler has good error messages - I'd agree and so would most.

The fifth rumour is that Rust code is high quality code and the participants agreed. Given these are Rust programmers being asked to rate their code you have to take this one as being highly subjective. Even so, they did rate the code they were producing in Rust against what they had produced in other languages. We all hope that this last one is true as it is the only reason for going to so much trouble to learn something different.

If you would like to learn some Rust the blog post publicises the new three-day Rust course from Google's Android team - it's free and it looks quite good.

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More Information

Rust fact vs. fiction: 5 Insights from Google's Rust journey in 2022

Welcome to Comprehensive Rust

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 28 June 2023 )