One Year Of Rust

These are some notes on my opinions on Rust after one year of using it.

Thoughts and remarks

These pros and cons are mostly relative to C++, the language I used for the past ~10 years.


  • Sum types!
    • Option and enum are so much nicer than optional and in particular variant.
  • Build system
    • Never used 3rd party code/libs in personal C++ projects.
    • Use random crates all the time now!
  • Rust Analyzer
    • C++ had YouCompleteMe in Vim, but Rust Analyzer worked out of the box and coding is so much nicer now.
  • No more need for !=nullptr
    • If you want to use an optional, you are forced to check it’s existence.
    • with if let Some(value) = optional, you can do the check and unpacking in one go, saving bugs.
  • C++ move semantics are an afterthought – don’t forget to move() when needed! In Rust, this comes naturally.
  • Lifetimes save bugs. It’s tedious, but as long as you’re doing nothing crazy you just keep applying suggestions until it works.
  • Turn your linux app into a webapp in 1 simple step!
  • I don’t actually believe Rust is hard to learn. Maybe if you’re used to C, but coming from C++11, Rust simply better corresponds to my mental model of code than C++ does. Sure it takes time, but what is the last time you learned a new language? After 1 year, I think I know/understand a larger percentage of Rust than I knew C++ after 10 years.
  • This is the right time to start! Lots of new cool features recently!
    • let-chaing: if let Some(val) = val && val > 0 { .. }
    • let-else: let Some(val) = val else { return; };
    • GATs
  • ranges done right. (Well, at least more sane than C++-20/23 ranges)
  • Traits: tell the compiler that every type with .begin() and .end() is indeed a container.
  • No header/implementation split, and no header mess. Sane modules that map to directories!
  • Single source for all documentation!
  • WASM: taking your SDL2 based rendering and porting it to HTML Canvas in a day is very satisfying!
  • Expressions everywhere!
    • let x = if var {1} else {0};,
    • let x = { let a = 1; a };,
    • let x = loop { break 10; };.
  • Simple and consistent struct initialization: let x = X { a: 1, b: 2 };


  • No equivalent of template-templates.
  • Using global/static convenience variables in simple programs is pain.
  • yes, fighting the borrow checker can be annoying, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. Just remember: don’t try to make a struct that contains references into itself.
  • Using generic types has some rough edges
  • Haven’t used it yet for standalone files. In competitive programming/Project Euler, it’s too much overhead to create a new project for each problem.
  • Casting between usize, u32, and i32 all the time when using graphics libraries gets boring fast.

My programming language journey

Lego mindstorms

  • Age 11-13


  • Age 13-15


  • Age 15-26
  • Oh my god, it’s so nice to just type what you want instead of dragging/dropping boxes and wires
  • Started at C++11, solving Project Euler problems mostly
  • Only learned about references after a few years of using C++.
  • Never really used pointers in my own projects.
  • I couldn’t tell you how to declare and initialize a native array.
  • Also, I still can’t write new
  • Big fanboy; watched ~half the CppCon videos after each edition.
  • Always excited for the next edition.


  • Age 21-
  • BAPCtools, a 5kloc python project


  • Age 26-
  • Started summer 2021 with a small hobby project
  • Now used in AstarPA, a 14kloc pairwise alignment project
  • Read all the blogs on r/rust.