Developers cite barriers to Rust language adoption

Rust Survey 2019 report identifies multiple challenges including slow compilation times and the need for better documentation

Developers cite barriers to Rust language adoption
Michael Rivera (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The Mozilla-founded Rust programming language faces multiple barriers to adoption by software developers, including the need for better documentation and better libraries, according to the Rust Survey 2019 report. The report also cites the difficulty of learning Rust as a major barrier to adoption.

Results of the survey, which drew on nearly 4,000 respondents, were released in an April 17 report published by the Rust survey team. The following issues were cited as the biggest barriers to adoption:

  • Better training/documentation
  • More/better libraries
  • IDE integration
  • Compilation times
  • Async I/O
  • GUI

The report acknowledge that Rust is well-known for its “significant” learning curve. Just 37 percent of users felt productive in less than a month, about the same as the 40 percent who said so in 2018. More than 70 percent felt productive in the first year, but 21 percent said they did not. 

Usage of Rust on a daily basis did trend upward to nearly 28 percent, versus almost 25 percent in 2018 and 17.5 percent in 2017. Weekly usage was 68.52 percent in 2019 versus 66.4 percent in 2018 and 60.8 percent in 2017.

A plurality of Rust projects (43 percent) have 1,000 to 10,000 lines of code. Rust projects with more than 10,000 lines of code grew to 34 percent of projects in 2019 from 23 percent in 2018, 16 percent in 2017, and 8.9 percent in 2016.

Rust users prefer developing on Linux (55 percent), with Windows (24 percent) and MacOS (23 percent) trailing by a wide margin. Survey respondents identified Serde, rand, Tokio, async, and clap as their top Rust libraries. 

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