Comparisons

Rust vs. C++: Differences and Similarities Explained

rust vs c++

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Rust vs. C++ is a trending topic because these programming languages compete in the same sphere of system-level development. They have steep learning curves, meaning that beginners will struggle to learn them as their first programming languages. Therefore, neither Rust nor C++ is the preferred beginners’ choice.

Despite competing in the same arena, C++ has a stronger foundation when it comes to community, frameworks, and general information about its principles. Rust is a newcomer in the programming world, and many developers hesitate to pick it up. Hence, people wonder who uses Rust and what are the possible implementations with this language.

Looking at these languages from a very technical perspective, they share a variety of similarities in their syntax and code-peculiarities. However, while similar, Rust and C++ have significant differences that are very likely to help you make up your mind about which to learn.

C++

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C++ is a general-purpose language, meaning that it can be applied for nearly any purpose. However, due to its complex syntax rules and overall challenging use, it is mainly dominant in applications that require high-speed, concurrency, and a closer inspection of the way hardware works.

Being the descendant of C and with its code compiled, C++ excels such languages as Python, C#, or any interpreted language. In terms of Rust vs. C++, Rust is frequently proclaimed to be faster than C++ due to its unique components.

However, both of their speeds depend on the program developed, the compiler, and the quality of code. Therefore, if your product written in C++ is performing poorly, the culprit might be the flawed code.

Capabilities of C++

C++ is the programming language that can create operating systems such as Microsoft Windows. Additionally, C++ produces the majority of market-breaking video games, making it the leading language for game development.

Even the Unity game development framework that lets you create games using C# is written in C++. A superior choice is to use the Unreal Engine, which is pure C++ and more advanced.

To guarantee speed, C++ does not offer automatic garbage collectors. Despite sounding convenient (in a way that all of the garbage will be collected automatically), this feature frequently slows down programming languages such as C#.

Rust

In the eyes of the specialists, Rust is a more innovative system-level language. Creators produced this language with safety in mind. Notably, they aimed to beat C++ by offering safer memory management while keeping their speed advantage.

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In the Rust vs. C++ discussion, it is clear that programming with Rust will lead to the production of fast software. What is Rust used for? It is possible to develop device drivers, embedded systems, operating systems, games, web applications, and so much more. The language frequently supports projects aimed at high-security and high-concurrency.

One of the first things you will learn about Rust is its blazing speed. Yes, software created with Rust can impress with its speed, but not every program will have the necessary components to reach the full potential of Rust. After all, programming languages only give you the tools to produce fast software: you need to hammer nails yourself.

Rust catches errors in code before developers even begin testing their software. For instance, Rust can help you produce programs that would check the correctness and validity of code at runtime.

To learn Rust, you need to get familiar with the basics of Rust programming. We offer you a course explaining the installation, basic concepts, data and error handling, and many other tips!

Available Rust frameworks

While the ecosystem of C++ is more mature, Rust also offers some frameworks. To learn Rust means to become familiar with the frameworks offering functional, secure, and robust code.

  • Rocket is a web framework for Rust developers that value security, speed, and flexibility. Therefore, if you want to use Rust for web development, this framework is for you.

Rust vs C++: Rocket framework

  • Actix is a powerful actor framework proclaiming to offer many features, responsiveness, extensibility, type-safety, and other lightweight components. Due to its clever design, the framework does not sacrifice speed, nor does not it add unnecessary elements to jeopardize high-performance.

Rust vs C++: Actix framework

  • Nickel is a Rust framework for producing and managing information flow control systems with clear validation rules and user-friendly interfaces.

Rust vs C++: Nickel framework

  • The Yew framework is for developing web applications with Rust. While backend would be the obvious choice, some enthusiasts have conducted experiments when they attempt to use Rust for frontend. While this choice for the client-side is irregular, developers have deemed it possible.

Rust vs C++: Yew framework

  • Azul is an immediate-mode GUI framework for developing desktop applications with Rust.

Rust vs C++: Azul framework

  • Conrod is a speed-oriented GUI library for developing reactive and dynamic interfaces.

Rust vs C++: Conrod framework

Technical comparison: Rust vs. C++

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Why use Rust over C++ when the latter has a stronger community, more frameworks, and has reached a stable position over the years? One of the arguments is Rust’s approach to security and correctness of code.

In dynamically-typed languages such as C++, it is much easier to miss problems and issues in your code. Rust can be described as a statically-typed language on steroids as its code-validating procedure is much stricter than in C++.

For instance, Rust compilers check every variable and memory address referenced. Therefore, Rust prevents data races that can lead to undefined behavior. As a brief reminder, data races refer to situations when multiple threads of a single process access the same memory allocations, and there is no synchronization.

Memory-safe Rust

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It is standard for system-level languages not to have automatic memory management since features such as garbage collectors can jeopardize performances. Therefore, C++ is anything but memory-safe to preserve its speed. Therefore, how can Rust, a system-level language, be memory safe?

Rust is memory-safe but should not be expected to work as C# with its garbage collector. Sometimes it seems that Rust does not follow the pattern of a manually-managed memory due to the built-in features. Only C++ requires developers to perform purely manual management of memory, while Rust supplies many features that make the management procedure easier.

C++ vs. Rust: Which language is easier to master?

The discussion above touches another argument in the debate on Rust vs. C++: which is easier to use and why. Almost anyone who uses Rust can state that programming in this language is easier due to well-defined semantics and the prevention of unwanted behavior. In C++, developers have more issues when trying to avoid undefined behavior.

Furthermore, C++ is a deep ocean when compared to Rust since C++ has so many features and opportunities for implementation that it can become challenging to keep track. However, Rust was not created to be a simple language for beginners. Just as C++, it is a complicated system-level language that helps you figure out the way machines work under the hood.

Game development: Rust to push C++?

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C++ is the leader in game development with the majority of top-notch, market-dominating games developed in C++. As we have mentioned, the Unreal Engine is the main framework for helping you produce games.

Rust also wishes to enter the game development sphere. However, it does not have the elaborate and polished frameworks that could win in the Rust vs. C++ battle. While some simple gaming applications are being developed with Rust, it will take a long time before this programming language will become the top choice for developers to produce more high-tech games. At least not until the ecosystem of Rust will become more prominent and reliable.

Conclusion

C++ vs. Rust is not an easy question to answer, as you need to consider many things. If you are looking for a well-supported and framework-rich language, you will probably choose C++. In other cases, you might want your code to be extremely safe, avoid memory leaks and other undefined behavior. Therefore, you will start experimenting with Rust. If your main priority is speed, both C++ and Rust are fair game.

Alternatives for beginners

If you are looking for the quickest possible way of developing not performance-critical programs or games, both C++ and Rust are not for you. Since these languages have steep learning curves, you won’t be able to master them quickly. Additionally, even skilled C++ developers take months or even years producing bug-free functional software.

If you are looking for more beginner-friendly options, try learning Python or C#. This course on Python is a perfect place to start exploring the capabilities of this language, and this C# course explains the basics of game development with the Unity framework.

Rust: the language of the future?

Even though the ecosystem of Rust is still pretty young, specialists are seeing its potential and labeling it as the programming language of the future. While developers are mainly creating, for instance, games with C++, Rust has the potential to take over this sphere once it gets settled.

Therefore, if the lack of tools and frameworks does not scare you off, you should definitely try learning Rust, especially if you already know C++. Thus, the final ruling of Rust vs. C++ depends on the way you see the future and which features are more appealing to you.

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