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Go vs Rust: Which One Will Be a Better Choice in 2021?

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07/12/2021 |

6 min read

Dominika Reszke

Rust vs Go is one of the most interesting oppositions in modern software development. Also, it’s one of the most important decisions for programmers to make. 

As The Stack Overflow 2021 Developer Survey unveiled, out of over 80,000 developers who took part in it, over 10,000 JavaScript developers want to start or continue developing in Go or Rust. Moreover, Rust is dubbed the most loved language for the sixth year running, with almost 87% of indications in the year 2021.

But can any of these highly appreciated programming languages be regarded as better, in fact? Well, the above-mentioned Stack Overflow survey shows that utilizing them lets software developers earn similar yearly remuneration, accounting for $77,530 in the case of Rust, and $75,669 as far as Go is concerned.

Of course, this is just the beginning of the long list of what Go and Rust have in common. But this doesn’t mean that there are no differences in the Rust Go combo. In this article, we’ll try to help you decide whether you should go Rust or maybe try Go instead in the nearest future.

 

Table of contents:

1. Isn’t Rust a bit rusty? All you need to know about it

2. Is Go worth a Go? What makes it useful?

3. Rust vs Go – which one is better?

4. Rust or Go? Find the perfect match for your project

 

Isn’t Rust a bit rusty? All you need to know about it

As already mentioned, Rust is being chosen on and on as the most loved programming language by developers surveyed by Stack Overflow. Undoubtedly, those repeated results over the years mark a huge success of this programming language, considering that this environment changes rapidly, and there are more and more competitors showing up regularly.

But where does this affection come from?

Well, what makes Rust fans love it are features such as impressive performance, memory safety, safe concurrency, cutting-edge tooling, great documentation, and useful appliances such as auto-formatter, auto-completion, and other supporting functions.

Boiled down, Rust is a high-level, general-purpose, cross-platform, multi-paradigm, concurrent, and functional programming language. What’s also crucial in terms of Rust code or Rust programs is that Rust is syntactically similar to C++.

Is Go worth a go? What makes it useful?

And what can be said about Go? In short, Go is a statically typed, object-oriented, concurrent, and functional programming language. Also, Go belongs to compiled languages, which makes it comply with machine code easily (with no additional installations necessary) and outperforms interpreted languages. Sometimes it is referred to as Golang although this is not correct as Golang.org is just Go’s domain name and not this language’s legitimate name.

On its website, Go calls itself „an open source programming language that makes it easy to build simple, reliable, and efficient software”. Many users also praise it for being easy to read and easy to comprehend. Other interesting features include scalability, flexibility, automatic memory management, powerful error checking, as well as detecting variables that go unused and impressive speed.

Rust vs Go - which one is better?

Rust & Go similarities

The list of Rust and Go similarities seems to be endless. They are nearly age-mates, with Go first appearing in November 2009, and Rust debuting only a few months later, in July 2010. They both have huge corporations standing behind them – Google in the case of Go, and Mozilla as far as Rust is concerned. They even have their own mascots – Ferris is the (unofficial) one of Rust, and the famous Gopher is associated with Go.

Both Go and Rust are compiled, concurrent, and multi-paradigm system programming languages, perfect for supporting parallel computing environments.

 

Rust vs Go key differences

Rust alone is famous for its exceptional run speed, being secure, well-designed, and offering many advanced yet practical features. Also, it has a useful inbuilt dependency and build management. Moreover, software developers can take advantage of a vast Rust community support and make use of The Rust Programming Language book. However, despite having access to those resources, some users say Rust was not that easy to learn as it has a steeper learning curve than Go.

In turn, Go’s advantages include simple language syntax, outstanding code readability, great ecosystem, community support, and a variety of libraries available. On the downside, Go may be regarded as oversimplified and a little superficial, and this may imply some limitations of its use.

Moreover, the fact that Go forces a garbage collection run no less often than every 2 minutes can cause problems such as latency spikes, worsened user experience as well as failing to meet performance targets. Rust, on the other hand, has no runtime or garbage collector, and this makes it „blazingly fast and memory-efficient”, as it calls itself on its website.

For this reason, Rust’s memory management is outstanding with memory security guaranteed and memory used by the program being freed when it is not needed anymore, and with no runtime memory safety bugs. Rust itself highlights the fact that its ownership model and rich type system „guarantee memory-safety and thread-safety”.

Rust or Go? Find the perfect match for your next project

Being aware of the pros and cons, or advantages and disadvantages of utilizing both Go and Rust makes software developers more confident in making decisions regarding choosing any of these. But can we indicate a winner in the „Golang” vs Rust opposition? Well, in the major Golang vs Rust performance category, Rust takes the lead, as it is regarded as way more efficient and offers better execution speed and development speed. However, it may be a little worse than Go when compilation speed is concerned.

In the case of Go, simplicity rules, and many modern conveniences simply aren’t there. It is great, however, for writing code for lightweight microservices or single-page apps, as well as for writing clear API server code fast. It’s also right to learn as a complementary language for software developers who already have some experience with other languages (and switching to it from Python, C/C++, or JavaScript, for instance, may be a good idea). 

You can go from C or C++ to Rust, too, and succeed similarly. Rust, in general, can be a great fit for many use cases as it is a general-purpose and low-level language. Some of its use cases include browser engines, operating systems, microcontroller applications, distributed online services, and embedded devices. Undoubtedly, it has great potential, and is ahead-of-time, loved by young software developers, and is definitely worth giving it a try in the year 2021.

And to you, which one is a better choice for 2021’s challenges – Go or Rust? And what makes the chosen language better or more appropriate than the other one? What are its main advantages software developers can utilize in their day-to-day work?

Rated: 5.0 / 1 opinions
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Dominika Reszke

IT Content Writer with 12 years of professional writing experience. Prefers facts and figures to any kind of fiction.

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