Rust - What is the programming language used for and which companies use it?

Discover Rust's diverse applications in web development, networking, game design, and more, and learn how companies like Microsoft and Dropbox use it to create secure, efficient software.

Blockchain & Web3 developmentUPDATED ON April 24, 2024

Image depicting Rust code

The Rust coding language, originally developed for system programming, has quickly made a significant impact on software development.

Rust, created by Graydon Hoare in 2010 and later supported by Mozilla, has grown into a robust language known for its safety, speed, and ability to handle multiple tasks simultaneously.

It emerges distinctively as a solution that’s engineered to confront the long-standing issues associated with memory management and security vulnerabilities – a challenge often encountered when dealing with established languages such as C or C++. Check out our dedicated blog post for an in-depth comparison of Rust to other common languages like Go, C, or C++.

But what is it about Rust that captures the attention and admiration of developers, project leads, and corporations across the globe?

 

What is Rust and why is it so popular?

Rust is a versatile system programming language emphasizing safety, speed, and concurrency.

It allows developers to build software that is both reliable and efficient by avoiding common bugs associated with memory management in other languages. This is achieved through features like ownership and type safety, ensuring memory safety without needing a garbage collector, enabling high-performance applications.

From a 2023 survey by rust-lang.org, the top reasons cited by users for Rust’s adoption in the workplace include:

  • Bug-Free Software Development: Its stringent compile-time checks prevent common bugs, making software safer and more reliable.
  • Performance and Control: Offers control over “low-level” system details with high-performance outcomes, similar to C++ but with added safety.
  • Security and Safety: Enhanced security features protect against vulnerabilities, making Rust ideal for writing secure applications.

Rust’s appeal extends globally, with significant usage in the US, Germany, China, the UK, and France, and has been translated into several languages, including Chinese, Ukrainian, Russian, German, and Korean.

Its adoption by leading tech companies like Deliveroo, Dropbox, Coursera, Cloudflare, and Atlassian demonstrates Rust’s utility across various industries, showing its increasing role in the tech sector.

 

What is Rust used for?

Rust’s application spectrum is broad and varied, touching on several key areas in the tech industry. Here, we delve into some of Rust’s most compelling use cases, illustrating its versatility and power.

Popular applications of Rust

An overview of some of the most common applications of Rust

 

1. Web Development

Rust works well with WebAssembly (WASM), transforming application construction and operation within browsers.

Take, for instance, the Yew framework. It empowers developers to harness Rust’s robust capabilities in crafting high-performance web applications.

This technique merges Rust’s dependable safety features and brisk performance with WASM’s streamlined execution, fostering an environment where web apps run securely and at speeds comparable to native software.

 

2. Internet of Things (IoT)

For embedded systems, Rust’s safety and efficiency are showcased in the development of the Tock operating system.

Tock is designed to run multiple applications on microcontrollers securely and reliably. Its use of Rust allows for robust memory isolation between applications without sacrificing performance, exemplifying Rust’s capability to handle complex, concurrent tasks in resource-limited environments typical of IoT devices.

 

3. System-Level Programming

Rust’s approach to system-level programming combines security with speed, a combination that sets it apart for critical software development.

Take Redox OS, for instance. Written entirely in Rust’s code fabric, this operating system demonstrates Rust’s capability to forge durable and streamlined platforms.

 

4. Blockchain and Cryptocurrency

Rust is carving out its niche as the go-to for blockchain and cryptocurrency projects where safety, quick processing, and handling multiple simultaneous tasks are non-negotiables.

Parity Ethereum is no small player in the Ethereum space, and it’s built on Rust.

With strong capabilities in dealing with complex code required by digital currencies and decentralized platforms, it fits into creating their underlying architecture, offering developers peace of mind and high performance.

 

5. AI and Machine Learning

Rust is making a confident push into AI and machine learning, carving out its niche beyond traditional boundaries.

The linfa framework is Rust’s way of entering the competitive fray with Python’s scikit-learn, offering a robust collection of algorithms for tasks like clustering and regression analysis.

This shows that Rust can support sophisticated data scrutiny and algorithmic innovation.

This move demonstrates Rust’s flexibility and strong performance potential, suggesting it can play a significant role in the future development of advanced machine-learning technologies.

 

6. Game Development

Rust is steadily becoming a force in the world of game development, bringing along its reputation for reliability and high performance, all traits ideal for game developers.

The Bevy game engine embodies an example of Rust’s growing influence. This free and open-source gem quickly makes a name for itself with its user-friendly nature and data-centric design philosophy.

Moreover, it harnesses Rust’s knack for safety while tapping into its powerful parallel processing capability.

Bevy’s defining feature lies in its hot asset reloading capability. This lets developers immediately see changes reflected in the game without restarting or recompiling, greatly enhancing efficiency and streamlining the development workflow.

 

7. Data Science and Backend Systems

Rust demonstrates its effectiveness in data science through efficient data manipulation and high-performance server capabilities.

An illustrative case is its use in the ndarray crate for data science tasks, which mirrors Python’s NumPy efficiency but with Rust’s type safety and speed​​.

For backend development, frameworks like Actix showcase Rust’s suitability for creating robust web servers, leveraging its performance and safety features to handle high throughput and concurrency demands​​.

 

8. Robotics, Industrial Automation, and Automobiles

OpenRR, hailing from the open-source community and built with Rust, is an example of the language’s capacity for handling robotics needs for dependability.

Rust’s ecosystem includes tools for AI, path planning, and sensor integration, showing its growing role in robotics.

Given Rust’s uncompromising safety protocols paired with its robust performance qualities, it’s no surprise that it’s steadily gaining ground in robotics.

 

9. Developing CLI Tools

Rust has reimagined standard command-line interface tools, providing fresh interfaces for the classic shell commands essential for every developer.

Take ‘bat,’ for example – it takes the simple concept of ‘cat’ and infuses it with syntax highlighting. Then there’s ‘exa,’ which does everything ‘ls’ can do and adds helpful icons and more under its belt.

On the hunt for files? ‘fd’ is a speedy and intuitive alternative to ‘find’ that spares you from complexity. And when it comes time to check running processes, ‘procs’ offers a modern take on ‘ps’ by delivering outputs that make sense at first glance.

These innovations are just snapshots of how Rust is reshaping tool development within command-line interfaces – streamlining tasks to boost efficiency without sacrificing user-friendliness​​​.

 

10. Networking Applications

Writing network applications is a strong suit for Rust due to its performance and reliability.

A great example is tokio, an asynchronous runtime that enables small, fast, and reliable network services.

With tokio, developers can build scalable and non-blocking I/O solutions that are perfect for handling thousands of connections simultaneously. This makes Rust ideal for developing web servers, databases, and more, offering efficiency and safety in network programming.

 

Which Companies Use Rust and How Have They Implemented It?

What is Rust good for? Look no further than its popularity among businesses seeking a reliable and efficient programming language.

Its ascent reflects a growing trust in its ability to ensure safe, concurrent operations – a vital concern for any software-driven enterprise.

Moreover, the broad spectrum of industries embracing Rust reveals how adaptable it is, ready to tackle various software engineering challenges with finesse.

Companies using Rust

Major companies making use of Rust

 

Microsoft

Microsoft’s adoption of Rust aims to enhance the security and efficiency of system programming.

By integrating Rust, they address common security vulnerabilities associated with system-level programming in Windows.

Notably, Microsoft has embarked on rewriting core Windows libraries in Rust, showcasing a significant commitment to leveraging Rust’s safety features for system software development.

 

Discord

Discord has turned to Rust to optimize its real-time communication services. By utilizing Rust’s performance and concurrency features, Discord has improved its service reliability and efficiency, ensuring smooth and responsive user experiences on its platform.

 

Facebook

Facebook employs Rust to enhance the performance and reliability of its services.

Rust’s safety and concurrency features align with Facebook’s requirements for developing high-performance, secure software, contributing to the robustness of their service infrastructure.

 

Dropbox

Dropbox incorporates Rust in its file synchronization engine, benefiting from Rust’s emphasis on safety and performance. This adoption allows Dropbox to efficiently manage data synchronization across millions of devices, ensuring secure and reliable file storage and sharing services.

 

Cloudflare

Cloudflare utilizes Rust for its ‘pingora’ framework, processing millions of HTTP requests per second across its global network. Rust’s performance and safety capabilities enable Cloudflare to maintain high security and efficiency in its content delivery and edge computing services.

 

Mozilla

Mozilla, the birthplace of Rust, has significantly invested in the language. Rust is utilized in the CSS engine of Firefox, enhancing both performance and safety. Mozilla’s adoption of Rust demonstrates its capability to improve critical software components, reinforcing Rust’s role in developing robust web technologies.

 

Final Thoughts

As we’ve seen, Rust is carving out a significant spot in the software development landscape, and it’s getting noticed by tech heavyweights.

Companies like Microsoft, Facebook, and Cloudflare use Rust’s essential features, safety, speed, and reliability, to lead efforts in developing secure and efficient software.

This growing preference for Rust points to its expanding clout in the tech sector as an instrumental force behind next-gen software that rises to meet our digital world’s ever-changing needs with finesse.

 

If you’re planning to incorporate Rust into your project’s tech stack, we’re here to help. With over 20 years of experience as a nearshore IT outsourcing provider and a custom software development agency, K&C is your go-to partner.

We recruit Rust developers and other IT professionals from nearshore regions across Eastern Europe and other locations, providing three geography-based rate tiers to fit diverse budgetary needs.

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