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Workshop Rust


Report written by Angelo van der Sijpt

Wednesday evening brought us to Luminis Rotterdam's new office, where we were greeted by Bert Breeman's wide grin, a very fine Chinese buffet, and some 15 Devnology enthousiasts, many of them first-time visitors.

Topic of the evening was Rust, a new systems-programming language by our friends at Mozilla.

As a system's programming language, Rust is about speed, safety, and reliability. To reach this goal, it introduces a number of concepts that keep the programmer from shooting themselves in the foot. Two things I particularly liked are,

  • The memory ownership model. As opposed to any language I've seen before, there is always one variable that owns the memory of an instance--unless you explicitly transfer it. This default means you think twice before implicitly passing access to "your" memory to some other context, and prevent a lot of common mistakes. Besides, it allows for a lot of optimization, making the run-time blazingly fast.
  • Immutability, pattern matching, closures, ... There are a lot of functional programming influences in Rust. By making these the default choice--that is, it's easier to get things done by following the language's best practices than working around it--Rust ensure you make the right choices. Nice.

Daan van Berkel, a software craftsman who has now decided to dedicate his craft to being a housefather, believes in "give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll eat for a lifetime." In stead of explaining everything beforehand, he taught us how to use the excellent documentation and error reporting features. He then set us up with a few simple exercises, and provided pointers where necessary.


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