In context: Rust is a contemporary, general-purpose programming language designed to inherently ensure memory safety. Programs written in Rust are notably more secure, as various classes of bugs and potential vulnerabilities in the code are eradicated during compile time.
Rust is already being adopted in some of the most high-profile software projects that dominate the modern technology landscape. The programming language, created by Graydon Hoare, an employee of Mozilla Research, has found its way into the Linux kernel, the Chromium Project, and Windows. This adoption brings a more secure approach to coding in comparison to traditional compiled languages like C or C++.
The popularity of Rust is growing, as officially confirmed by the Rust Foundation through its recently published annual survey. The survey was open for submissions from December 5, 2022, to December 22, 2022, with the final results becoming available in August 2023. Project maintainers, contributors, and programmers with a keen interest in the future of Rust participated in the study.
The survey was accessible in 11 different languages including English as well as simplified and traditional Chinese. It was completed by 9,433 respondents from all around the world – an impressive completion rate of 82 percent, compared to 76 percent in 2021. The Rust Foundation noted that the survey demanded time, energy, and focus, making the 82 percent completion rate quite high.
More than 90 percent of survey respondents identified themselves as 'Rust users,' and among them, 47 percent write Rust code on a daily basis – a four percent increase compared to 2021. A significant portion of Rust coders (30 percent) can write simple programs, while 27 percent are capable of producing production-ready code. Furthermore, a robust 42 percent of Rust users consider themselves 'productive' with the language.
The survey also took into account the opinions of former Rust users, with a notable percentage (30 percent) citing difficulty as their primary reason for discontinuing use of the language. Additionally, nearly 47 percent of users mentioned factors beyond their control as the determining factors for ceasing usage. Perceived difficulty was similarly cited by non-Rust users as the primary reason for avoiding code writing in the new language.
The survey revealed that some software developers still perceive Rust as being too difficult and complex for creating and managing large software projects. A quarter of the respondents (26 percent) also expressed concerns about future project support, a decrease from 30 percent in 2021.
Nevertheless, the Rust Foundation noted a 21 percent decrease in apprehensions about Rust usage in the industry. The foundation stated that overall confidence in the memory-safe project is on the rise.