Rust Survey 2018 key findings: 80% developers prefer Linux, WebAssembly growth doubles, and more

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Yesterday, the Rust Survey team published the results of their annual Rust survey of 2018. This year’s survey was launched in 14 different languages which helped in increasing the number of responses to 5991. The survey highlights that there is a slight increase in medium to large investments in Rust, most of the users prefer Linux over Windows for development, and more.

Growth in the number of Rust users

Rust is seeing a steady growth in the number of Rust users. Nearly 23% of these users have been using it for 3 months or less and up to a quarter of them are using it for at least 2 years. Talking about how much time it takes to get productive in Rust, 40% of Rust users said it takes less than a month of use, and over 70% felt productive in their first year of use itself. Over 22% of the Rust users do not feel productive, out of which only about 25% are in their first month of use.

Larger overall investments in Rust projects

Rust projects are seeing larger overall investments and trending to larger sizes. The percentage of medium to large investments in Rust has increased from 8.9% in 2016, to 16% in 2017, to 23% this year. There is also some growth in the Rust daily usage from 17.5% last year to nearly a quarter of users this year. In total, Rust weekly total usage has risen from 60.8% to 66.4%.

Difficulty level of common Rust concepts

Most of the Rust users consider themselves to be intermediates in terms of expertise in Rust. The users felt that Enums and Cargo are the easiest concepts to learn, followed by Iterators, Modules, and Traits, Trait Bounds, and Unsafe. The most difficult concepts are Macros, Ownership & Borrowing, and Lifetimes.

Usage Patterns of Rust tools

  • Same as last year, users are preferring the current stable release of Rust. There is a slight increase in the number of the Nightly compiler users, which is now over 56% (up from 51.6% of last year). Users are opting Nightly for accessing 2018 edition, asm, async/await, clippy, embedded development, rocket, NLL, proc macros, and wasm.
  • The percentage of users who see a breakage during a routine compiler update remains the same as last year (7.4%). These breakages generally required minor fixes, though some reported having moderate or major fixes to upgrade to the next stable compiler.
  • 90% of the users voted rustup as their first choice for installing Rust. Linux distros is the second option with only 17% of Rust installs.
  • Tools like rustfmt and rustdoc got lots of positive support, following these is the clippy tool. The IDE support tools Rust Language Server and racer also had positive support but unfortunately, of the tools surveyed, generated a few more dislike votes and comments. The bindgen tool has relatively small userbase.

Preferred development platforms of Rust users

While there is some increase in Windows usage from 31% last year to 34% this year, Linux platform continues to be popular among Rust developers with 80% of users opting it. While there is not much change from the last year for other target platforms, WebAssembly is an exception. It has shown nearly doubled up growth from last year’s 13% to this year’s 24%. In editors, VSCode has bested Vim, the front-runner in editors for two years, which grew from 33.8% of Rust developers to 44.4% this year.

Increase in commercial use of Rust

Rust’s part-time usage at the workplace has increased from 16.6% to 21.2%. Its full-time commercial has doubled from 4.4% to 8.9%. In total, its commercial use has grown from 21% to just over 30% of Rust users. Though there is an increase in the commercial use, over a third of Rust users aren’t sure their companies will invest in Rust.

To know more in detail, read the annual Rust Survey 2018.

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