Rust vs. C++ is one of the most interesting programming language debates. Both Rust and C++ are used in system-level development and have steep learning curves compared to other popular programming languages like PHP, Kotlin, or Java. Since both programming languages are used for similar tasks, comparing and contrasting them is critical for organizations interested in using them.
This post will explore Rust vs. C++. We will briefly describe each programming language before comparing and contrasting them to help your organization determine which language best suits its development needs.
What Is Rust?
Rust is a system-level programming language developed in 2010 by tech company Mozilla. Mozilla developed Rust specifically to address shortcomings it perceived in C++, mainly inefficiencies related to memory and concurrent programming. Syntactically, Rust is very similar to C++, but most developers say that Rust is more convenient and versatile.
Mozilla believes that Rust delivers higher performance and better safety levels than C++. The company used Rust to develop its popular Internet browser Firefox. Rust does not use garbage collection in memory management efforts, which makes it safer.
Since Rust provides detailed control capabilities such as manual memory management, it is considered a low-level programming language. In addition, the binary code produced by Rust is the smallest possible, and it compiles quickly with little overhead.
What Is C++?
C++ is an object-oriented programming language that was created by Bjarne Stroustrup in the mid-80s. C++ vastly improved the C programming language and was a revolutionary solution at its release. Like Rust, C++ is a powerful system programming tool. Most Microsoft operating systems, such as Windows 95, 98, and XP, were developed using C++.
C++’s fast performance, reusable code modules, and determined code structure have made it a popular choice in various development projects. In addition, since C++ is a multi-purpose programming language, it can be used to build anything from operating systems to stunning 3D visuals and video games.
The efficiency and flexibility of C++ have made it one of the most popular programming languages for decades.
Comparing Rust and C++
Why is it important to compare Rust and C++? Since Rust uses a similar syntax and can be used for many of the same tasks as C++, it is important to compare these programming languages so developers can make the best choice for their projects. The main points of comparison we will be exploring include the following:
- Coding speed
- Code quality
- Support and community
- Development costs
Coding speed is a major consideration for mobile app and web developers. Rust can be written faster than C++ due largely to its elaborated semantics and system for preventing undesired behaviors. One of the significant issues with C++ is that avoiding undefined behaviors can be difficult. As a result, it can take longer to write C++ code.
However, while it might be quicker to write Rust than C++, this only applies to skilled developers. Both Rust and C++ are complex languages with a high learning curve. Beginners will find that the coding process for these programming languages is significantly longer than other popular options.
C++ is a dynamically-typed language, whereas Rust is a statically-typed language. As a result, Rust has more vigorous code validation measures than C++. On the other hand, C++ lacks measures to prevent coding errors and spot code issues before compiling the entire program.
On the other hand, Rust offers developers far more attentive code quality measures. These measures can also help expedite the development process since more issues are caught in the early stages before the code is compiled.
C++ can produce fast applications while spending less time on code compilation and execution than Rust. C++’s performance levels can be attributed to its vast standard codebase. In addition, C++ does not have automatic garbage collection tools, which leads to faster performance levels than Rust, but it can also contribute to more runtime errors.
Rust’s robust tools ensure that code flaws only lead to compilation errors and not runtime errors. However, too many runtime errors can lengthen the development time and increase costs. While C++ can outperform Rust, you need an experienced C++ developer to avoid costly runtime errors.
Since C++ is the more mature programming language, it has more frameworks and libraries than Rust. On the other hand, compared to C++, Rust has a small standard codebase library and few options to extend its capabilities. However, it is important to note that Rust is still evolving, and new tools and frameworks are being developed for the programming language to improve its extensibility.
Support and Community
Since C++ has been around since the 80s, it has a larger community of developers and support information than Rust. As a result, there is a wealth of information and support services for C++. On the other hand, Rust developers have less access to support resources and community discussion, which means these developers have to solve many of their own problems. As Rust matures, there will be a larger community and more support online, but for now, C++ has a significant support and community advantage over Rust.
It costs more to hire Rust developers than C++ developers because there are fewer of them in the job market. As a result, it is more expensive to develop a program using Rust. However, since Rust has more code quality protections in place, your team might spend less time correcting errors and thus reduce costs. Additionally, unless you have an experienced C++ developer working for your organization, it is easy to create errors and spend more time fixing them.
It costs more to hire Rust developers on average, but the cost of experienced C++ developers might be just as much, if not more.
Rust and C++ are both great programming languages, and while they are used for similar projects, one might be better suited for your organization than the other. While C++ has a larger community and more extensions, it is clear that Rust is here to stay. Will Rust ever replace C++ completely? That seems unlikely, but Rust is getting more popular every year. If you need more help comparing Rust vs. C++, reach out to an experienced app development partner for more information.