Two Years of Rust

Published May 14th, 2017

Last year I published my One Year of Rust article to document how the community has changed, what I managed to accomplish for myself, and what we could do better. This year I want to reflect on these topics again as well as a few other things. With Rust's second birthday (and my second year of Rust) I figured this is a good time to look at the accomplishments of everyone involved as well as reflecting on how I've personally grown as a Rust Developer.

What I've done

For me this has been an incredible year for Rust.

How the community has/hasn't changed

It's certainly felt like it has gotten bigger. I've seen more people at the Boston Rust meetups, we've had more people respond to the 2017 community survey in the first 72 hours than the whole of 2016's, and overall a bigger influx of articles and questions in /r/rust and other places where discussion occurs. One thing that hasn't changed though (FWIW) is the positivity from the community as well as the willingness and ability to laugh about ourselves and not take everything too seriously. Just take a look at the Fireflowers incident. We spent a good couple days of discussing what Rust is then topped it off by shitposting Rust memes (at least in /r/rust) to cool ourselves down and blow off some end of year steam. This is the kind of stuff I like to see because it means we aren't an Evangelical Strike Force but just a bunch of geeks who love Rust.

I think that what's amazing is that even as we grow that positivity is infectious and it's not slowing down. Others notice that kind of community attitude. It's easy to be mean but it's a lot harder to nice all the time. While I have seen cases of more mean spirited things (hey, we're not perfect) the excellent moderation teams and an enforced Code of Conduct limit the scope of that kind of damage. Too many developers don't submit code if they perceive the community as toxic. Why would you if all you'll get is snubbed? I'm hoping this trend continues as we invite more people into the fold.

Here's an interesting tidbit for the Rust compiler. Contributors to rustc from last year to now has gone from 1466 to 1949 up 483 users or ~32% from last year! The command I used for this data is git shortlog -s -n | cut -f2 | uniq | wc -l it may be a bit off if someone used different names when committing. This was from May 15th, 2016 to May 14th, 2017 when I published this article. There have also been 11 releases of Rust since then (1.9 to 1.17)!

It's hard to quantify some things with numbers though and some of this is just a gut feeling, but for the first time Rust just feels more noticed and mainstream. Now, this is my perception mind you so I don't have hard data to back this up, just a feeling. Two years ago and even last year alone it really felt like Rust was in this precarious place, that it was do or die in terms of being accepted by a larger audience of programmers. Now though, I just get the feeling that the most precarious part of Rust's journey is over. Ask me again next year though and we'll see if I'm wrong or not.

What can we do differently?

With that being said what could we as a community do this year? Where can we go to from here? These are my opinions of what I think we can do to really help the grow Rust further:

Overall I think the core teams have done a great job of growing and sustaining the project up to this point. I think we just need to consider long term where Rust will be and we'll need the people and infrastructure to do it. Better to have it in place now then have it be too late. Otherwise, the community is awesome, supportive, and coming up with all kinds of really neat stuff, as well as improving everyone's day to day work flow. We should keep that up!

My wish list of lang features

Here's a non exhaustive list of what I would like to see be added or worked on over the next year (even if the priorities are set by the 2017 survey):

There's probably more but these are the things I've wanted in stable for some time now/to even be implemented.

Conclusion

Rust has changed so radically in the past year that as I've written this and looked back it just blows my mind on all that has been accomplished as well as what's being planned. It's crazy to see and I'm super excited to see where we'll be next year. Hopefully more great people, talks, crates, language items, and tooling. I know I can't wait to look back at this next year just to see how much has changed between now and then.