Why you should be blogging about Rust
Published September 27th, 2016
Let's jump right into it, I'm here to convince you to start blogging about Rust if you haven't and if you have to continue to do so, and possibly even more if you have the time for that. Why blog about it? What if I have nothing to contribute? Even if I did how would I even know what to write about? Fear not. All of these questions will be answered so let's start with the biggest one.
Why we should blog more about Rust
Well chances are if you're reading this article you like Rust right? Even if you don't you might have some constructive criticism about it which is just as valuable. If the community can't ascertain the problem points because no one speaks up then we can't fix it. Blogging is a way in order to present ideas and explanations to a group of people. It covers a wide variety of things such as project announcements, tutorials, new ideas, explanations of language features or anything else that you can think of. The point is that this is a platform for exploring all of these things and articles are a great way to draw a community together to discuss ideas, get excited about them, debate on what should come next, what we can do differently, and explore the language together. They provide an invaluable wealth of information about how to do things that resources like Stack Overflow or the Book just might not cover. They're a way to add to our collective knowledge about Rust and to prevent us from making the same mistakes as well as picking up new tricks to do things that we didn't think of before. There's no downside to these articles because it promotes the language in search results, can benefit new users, can benefit advanced users, and can teach things to people in ways that other resources couldn't (since we all learn differently).
I think most importantly though it helps spread around that Rust is a serious language and can be used in production and by people. I had a wonderful conversation with Steve Klabnik and others about this a couple months back when he came to Boston for the meetup. Someone had asked what one of the biggest blockades to adoption he could see being in Rust's way. His answer was that we need people to talk about Rust and provide tutorials and projects. If we don't have the documentation or the words to show Rust is being used then companies don't see a reason to adopt a lesser known language. Why risk it on something small that might not be supported? This is why it's imperative that we blog about what we know and learn. I'm assuming we want this language to succeed of course and that we would like to use it in production. That's why we need to blog about it more!
Well, you might be asking yourself, why should I blog? What benefit do I get out of it?
What you get out of blogging
If I haven't convinced you out of those things alone then here is a list of what you gain from blogging:
Writing experience. The more you write the better you get. By learning how to articulate your words to people better you'll not only benefit in your writing and documentation, but even being able to convey ideas to others precisely both on and offline.
Constructive feedback! The community always loves to point out cool things you might have missed in your article or correct what was wrong about it. These are all beneficial things. It clears up misunderstandings about what you had learned (for instance my iterator article had some glaring inaccuracies that were pointed out to me) and allows you to learn more. I see no problem with that!
Your name gets out there. Employers like seeing you have an online presence and that you engage in some coding community of sorts. Blogging is perfect for that, and if your content is really great you stand out in the community. Take a look at burntsushi's article on ripgrep a tool he wrote. It's long and detailed but it shows he has a grasp of what he wrote and understands other's code as well. A prospective employer could learn more in that article than what could be done in an in person interview. My point is that you'll have higher visibility amongst peers and prospective employers and that's good.
You get to help people! Writing about something you were stuck on only benefits others who were having the same problem. Documenting a solution is great and not doing so only hurts.
What do you have to lose? There's no downside to blogging about things you learn and bringing up new ideas for consumption.
I want to blog but what about?
You've made it this far so you're probably convinced. Maybe you don't know what to talk about. Well here are some ideas:
Something new you learned. Don't worry if it has been talked about before. If it's the first time you've learned it then you're one of the lucky 10,000. Talking about what you just learned solidifies your knowledge on the subject and it helps teach people who haven't learned about it before, just like you before the post!
Tutorials for various projects or crates. For instance Tokio is close to empty on documentation but it's something the community really wants to use. If you understand it and are able to do something with it writing a well written blog post really helps out. Maybe you've figured out how to use iron well (which also isn't too great with examples and documentation), so write about it!
Announce your creation to the world with how to use it! You've made something cool in Rust. Show it off, tell us how to use it, and be proud of your work.
Maybe you have a new feature in mind for Rust. Think about it and write it out. Maybe you can turn it into an RFC eventually!
Maybe you went to a Rust meetup. Blog about your experience there! What was shown off? What did you learn?
You've figured out a really neat way to do something and think others can benefit from it too. Tell us about it! Explain what it's good for and what we can gain from it.
If you're new to Rust, explain your experiences. You'll only be new once and learning about pain points and enjoyable experiences help the community know what to focus on and improve.
I hope I've convinced you to start talking about your experiences with Rust and given you a few ideas to start with. I really love this language and I want it to succeed and I hope you do too. Nothing gives me greater joy than seeing what cool stuff the community comes up with or learns each week. I look forward to what I can learn from you all and what you'll create on a more regular basis.