Rust survey reveals focus on stability in 2020 is paying off


A key focus of improving the Rust language in 2020 has been on stabilizing features, and according to the newly released Rust 2020 Survey, those efforts have paid off. Survey respondents in general felt that stability of the language has been improving. 

The rust-analyzer and IntelliJ Rust plugin were key projects highlighted in the survey as having happy users. According to the team, almost 75% of respondents felt that they saw “at least some improvement” in the IDE, but users of those two projects in particular said that they were especially happy. Forty-seven percent of rust-analyzer users and 40% of IntelliJ users noted “a lot of improvement.”

In addition, the number of users that rely on a nightly compiler is continuing to drop. This year only 28% of Rust developers cited that they rely on one part of the time, compared to 30.5% last year. Those developers that use a nightly compiler cite being able to use the Rocker web framework as a key reason. The next largest reason for using a nightly compiler was for const generics, but the team noted that as a minimal version of const generics is almost stable, there will soon be less reliance on using a nightly compiler for this. 

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Eighty-three percent of the Rust 2020 Survey respondents stated that they used Rust, which, according to the team, is an all-time high for the yearly survey.

Seven percent of the respondents said that they used to use Rust but no longer do. When asked why they didn’t use Rust anymore, 35% said that they hadn’t learned it yet, 34% said their company wasn’t using the language, and 19% said switching to Rust would slow them down in comparison to their current language of choice.

The future looks promising, however, with almost half of respondents with knowledge on hiring decisions saying that their employers planned to hire Rust developers within the next year. 

Rust continues to be more common in production at companies over hobbyist use. Forty percent of respondents that work in software say that they use Rust at work. The amount of Rust in production was 10,000 lines of code or more at 44% of respondents’ workplaces, which is up from 34% last year. 

The improvements that respondents want to see in the language include C++ interop, better ways of learning Rust, reducing compile times, GUI library support, and increasing community involvement. Specifically, users want to improve the Rust community for non-English speakers and increase the number of the large corporate sponsors in the community, which will make it easier for developers to make the case to use Rust at work. 

The team surveyed 8,323 developers for the Rust 2020 Survey, which was available in 14 different languages, with the majority (75%) of respondents being English speakers. 

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