Golang vs. Rust: Which Programming Language To Choose in 2021?

With the new year, comes new ideas. And for you, this might mean new ideas to scale your tech startup. Or specifically, it might mean ranking Golang vs. Rust against each other to see what language would be best to optimize operations. If so, you’ve come to the right place.

While Go and Rust are not the most commonly used languages, they are still often compared for those who do consider using them. Both languages are, after all, one of the few languages developed in the aughts and twenty-tens, making them stand out in a room full of languages that have dipped their toes in the past two centuries. 

When Golang vs. Rust gets its due diligence, it’s clear that the two languages have strong similarities. But this article will highlight the differences that will ultimately lead you to the right decision for your tech stack. Keep reading to find out what they are!

Golang vs. Rust: Side-by-Side Comparison

Check out this Golang vs. Rust side-by-side comparison. This way, you can make sure you’re getting the best of your desired features from your chosen language.

 

 

Golang vs. Rust: Side-by-Side Comparison

Performance

Both Go and Rust hold their performance measures as prized possessions. As new languages, it’s pertinent that they not only perform well, but better than the languages that came before them. 

While the two languages do seem to be faster than other languages with their feature set, the question now is how they perform against each other? Well, a simple benchmark test proves that Rust is faster than Go in a multitude of tasks. 

TLDR: Where speed and performance are concerned, Rust out-performs Go. 

Features 

You’ve heard an earful about Rust’s complexity and Go’s simplicity. For that reason, it should be easy to figure why Rust is more feature-heavy than Go. 

Key features of Go like binaries and package management pale in comparison to Rust’s long list of features: zero-cost abstraction, error messages, move semantics, data race prevention, pattern matching, etc. 

TLDR: Golang vs. Rust highlights that Rust is more feature-heavy than Go. Rust wins. 

Ease & Speed of Development 

Go’s readability makes it easy to learn and therefore coding should be a relative breeze. With Rust, in contrast, sophisticated concepts like borrowing and ownership make the language more difficult to understand. Rust has a steep learning curve and it’s not afraid to admit that.

TLDR: Go is easier to learn and use than Rust. Go wins.

Maintenance

Maintenance entails everything you need to do to ascertain your programs are running properly and continue to do so. Short story short, maintaining your codebase will be easier to do in Go versus Rust, because Go code is just all-around simpler. 

TLDR: Due to Rust’s complexity, Go will be easier to maintain. Go wins. 

Community

Open-source languages tend to have strong communities of support behind them. Developer communities play a big part in helping newcomers to a language become familiar with its features and how to use it best. 

Naturally, measuring the support of a community is not very objective. But many bloggers never fail to boast about Rust’s strong community, which is a good indicator of its robustness. 

TLDR: Without a doubt, both Rust and Go have strong communities, but Rust’s community gets the most visibility in this Golang vs. Rust stand-off. Simply put, Rust wins. 

Popularity

It’s hard to define the popularity of languages as young as Go and Rust. In spite of all the features and advantages you’ve gotten a glimpse of, neither Rust nor Go could tackle the popularity of classic languages like JavaScript, Python, or Java. 

Less than 10% of developers use either Rust or Go according to Stack Overflow. Still, Go is stationed in the 14th spot for top language and Rust lags behind in the 26th spot. 

These positions come from the TIOBE Index for January 2021 which uses several factors to determine popularity like popular search engines, computer science courses, and the word of skilled engineers. 

TLDR: In comparing Golang vs. Rust, Go is more popular than Rust. 

Now that you've seen Golang vs. Rust side by side, here's a more in-depth look at Rust and Golang.

What Is Golang?

Go – often stylized as ‘Golang’ – is a statically typed, compiled programming language. Designed by Google developers, the language is modeled after C and with the intent to compete against C++. Golang is also compared to Python because of its uncomplicated syntax. 

As Go is statically typed, this means the language is stricter when it comes to variable declarations. The benefit of this restrictive behavior is better error detection, especially where syntax is concerned. 

Compilers typically perform static type-checking towards this effect. Compiled languages are converted (or compiled) to machine code before execution. In consequence, compiled languages are overall faster than interpreted languages. 

Compiled languages also offer more control of hardware elements. This, in addition to the intentional design of the language, means memory management and multithreading are pointed Go features. 

Garbage collection is one Go component ensuring effective memory management. One of the disappointments of C that Go hopes to improve on is its lack of memory safety. Go, in turn, uses a garbage collector to allocate memory in managed heaps. 

In short, this means unused memory is used for new objects, and unused objects are ‘trashed’ from memory. Garbage collected programs tend to run faster given that they do not suffer from memory leaks. 

Another feature of Go with high notoriety is goroutines. Goroutines are a means of building functions or methods that can run concurrently with other functions or methods. 

Go’s concurrency emphasizes the language’s capacity for multithreading, the ability for a central processing unit (CPU) to process several things at once. Naturally, this leads to enhanced speed and efficiency. 

For trivia’s sake, it’s worth noting that Go was first announced in November 2009, aging the language a bit over a decade old. In effect, Go is significantly younger than its influencers such as Python and C, which were developed in the last century. 

What Are the Advantages of Golang?

To decide between Golang vs. Rust, it’s probably a good idea for you to know just what Go has in store. The following are a few distinct advantages that make Go a good language for your next project. 

Comprehensive 

From Golang’s tools to its libraries to its documentation, the language is fully comprehensive and ready to rock. But seriously, jokes aside, Go is equipped with extensive documentation, convenient tooling, and minimalistic dependencies

GoDoc – a Go package that extracts and generates documentation while you code – deserves a special shoutout. 

Fast

Many of the aforementioned features contribute to Go’s marked performance. Speed, in particular – granted through garbage collection, swift compilation, and concurrency among other things – is likely Go’s defining feature. 

Benchmarks show that Go can perform as much as 100 times faster than Python in some areas. Go is routinely faster than Java as well.

Portable

Go can be compiled nicely and neatly on multiple platforms. No more grappling over what OS to run because of compatibility issues. Proceed with your preferred system. 

Readable

While Go’s run-time efficiency is a C trait, Go borrows its readability from Python. The Go syntax is very accessible to the common programmer, particularly if they are fluent in English. 

Surface-level details like indentation and spacing are automized by gofmt. And golint does additional style checks. 

Go’s ease of use prompts newcomers to take an immediate liking to the language. 

When Is the Use of Golang Recommended?

Go can be used for a range of different project types. That said, Go’s 2019 survey results list web development, databases, and network programming as its primary usage cases. Most Go developers maintain that Go has an affinity for networking services due to its aptitude for concurrency. 

More often than not, Go is prized as a premier language for backend web development. Speedy execution on a web page is paramount to establishing brand awareness online in more ways than you might think. 

The language also provides official support for the Google Cloud Platform. Google Cloud offers a variety of services where the concept of cloud computing is integral to their execution. Hence Go does exceptionally well where high-performing cloud applications are involved.

Does using Go for your next project sound like a good idea? Consider talking to Trio about hiring Go developers

What Companies Use Golang?

Though Golang vs. Rust shouldn’t be determined based on a popularity contest, knowing how and why major companies decide to use Go can help you better understand the language’s potential. 

Google

Some believe a bit of corporate interest has a great effect on a technology’s life span and performance. Whether or not this is true, the fact that Go was designed by Google engineers and always has the company’s support in its corner should hint at Go’s stability.  

Google’s internal projects are regularly built using Go, including Google Chrome, Google Earth, and Youtube. 

Twitch

Twitch is a live streaming service where gamers find comfort in sharing gameplay videos. But with real-time chats and an unimaginable amount of videos being constantly streamed at once, overload is the name of the game. 

With Go, Twitch was able to improve its garbage collection. The refined memory management signifies a smoother user experience for Twitch users. 

SoundCloud

Soundcloud is yet another streaming service, but only for music. Recently, SoundCloud has become a popular platform for underground artists to make their debut. 

The platform sports both Golang and Ruby on Rails in its tech stack. Static analysis, a method of debugging code before execution, is one utility that won over SoundCloud’s favor for Go. 

Google, SoundCloud, and Twitch are examples of companies using Go

What Is Rust?

Rust is a statically typed, compiled programming language with support for multiple programming paradigms. The language was designed to prioritize safety and performance, with safe concurrency being the primary goal. 

Syntactically, Rust mirrors C++. Unlike Go or C++, garbage collection is not a feature of Rust; instead, Rust uses a borrow checker to validate memory safety. 

The borrow checker enforces data ownership rules and prevents data races. The term data race describes two or more pointers accessing the same memory location. 

Programming in the large refers to the type of coding Rust was designed for. This type of programming involves large groups programming or small groups programming over an extended period of time. 

To allow for this type of programming, Rust works to accommodate and encourage highly concurrent and highly safe systems. 

Mozilla employees first started experimenting with what would later become Rust in 2006. After a stable release about three years later, Rust is now used in key parts of the Firefox browser. 

In the year 2016 and every year after, Rust has been voted the “most loved programming language,” as recorded by the Stack Overflow Developer Survey. 

If any of this invigorates some positive bias towards Rust, you should talk to Trio about how to hire Rust developers for your next project. 

What Are the Advantages of Rust?

Any fair battle of the languages, including of course Golang vs. Rust, warrants a nonpartisan breakdown of each language. Now having a brief overview of Rust, here are its advantages.

Performant

By utilizing a compiler, Rust is almost by definition faster than your average interpreted language, like Python for example. But even when it comes to languages like Java with a just-in-time (JIT) compiler specifically designed for enhancing performance, Rust is still faster. 

Intentional 

There are a couple of Rust characteristics which make it clear that Rust’s designers had every intention to build a disciplined language that would embellish the developer experience. 

For one, Rust promises zero-cost abstractions. Abstractions are understood as the extra twists and turns involved in using high-level language. High-level code must be translated or interpreted to a low-level language and/or machine code to be run. 

These abstractions normally slow down performance, if only just a little bit. But in Rust, there is no difference in speed between low-level code and an abstract program. In other words, abstractions don’t require sacrificing performance. They’re without a cost. 

Safe

Rust uses a very strict compiler that checks each and every variable with scrutiny, ensuring memory safety. Type safety is perhaps Rust’s greatest pitch. 

There are no segfaults (or segmentation faults. Segfaults cause programs to crash by attempting to read and write an illegal memory location. But Rust’s ownership system analyzes your program’s memory at compile-time, effectively preventing these issues. 

Concurrent

Concurrency is a well-known feature of Rust, in a similar fashion to Go. Rust’s borrow checker, on the other hand, distinguishes the languages from others of its kind. The unique way in which Rust approaches concurrency equates to multithreading absent of undefined behavior. 

When Is the Use of Rust Recommended?

Rust is the type of programming language you can use nearly everywhere. But some places are better suited for it than others. 

For example, because of its high-quality performance and zero-cost abstractions, systems programming is one field where Rust thrives. Systems programmers are a type of software engineer who works closely on the hardware side of development. 

Since Rust takes some inspiration from C++, it’s not surprising that the language would have some middle-level capabilities. Middle-level languages are the opportunistic compromise between low-level and high-level languages. 

They’re often used to make operating systems or computer applications as they can handle the level of complexity it takes to manage memory on the hardware side of things. But despite the lack of abstraction, they’re still readable by the human eye, which is rare to find in machine code. 

Although there is always some dissent in the developer community about what counts as a middle-level language or not, Rust is recognized for being a modern language with machine-oriented prospects. 

What Companies Use Rust?

Although Go has the support of several big-name companies, Golang vs. Rust wouldn’t be a just comparison without letting Rust be privy to the same recognition. Here are some major companies using Rust right now. 

Firefox

As mentioned, Rust is integrated with Firefox. This integration is cleverly dubbed ‘oxidation’ and has a whole wiki page dedicated to the project. 

Although most people pick Chrome as a favorite, Firefox is actually better at keeping things efficient while handling multiple tabs at once. 

Yelp 

Yelp is an online platform centered around listing recommendations and hosting reviews for businesses, customarily restaurants. Developers at Yelp created their own Rust framework for A/B testing – a means of testing the performance of one page variant versus another. 

This framework is put to work across all Yelp apps and websites. Yelp decided to go with Rust because it’s as fast as C, but safer. 

Dropbox

Dropbox is a cloud service that can store large amounts of data securely and with ease. Much of the core file-storage system depends on Rust, providing greater efficiency.  

Firefox, Yelp, and Dropbox are examples of companies using Rust

Conclusion

Go and Rust shares a considerable amount of similarities. They are both very young languages, intentionally made, with memory safety and concurrency built-in. The languages also demonstrate higher performance than their competitors. 

The differences between these languages, needless to say, set them apart. Go is simple. Rust is complex. And their features and priorities differ in meaningful ways. 

Golang vs. Rust has produced a tie, meaning you’ll have to decide for yourself what’s best for your business.

To get some more intel on how to go about hiring developers, check out this article on the Trio blog.

 

 

 

Cordenne Brewster

Content Marketing

About

A tech enthusiast whose ardor is best expressed through the written word.

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Go can be used for a range of different project types. That said, Go’s 2019 survey results list web development, databases, and network programming as its primary usage cases.

Rust is the type of programming language you can use nearly everywhere. But because of its high-quality performance and zero-cost abstractions, systems programming is one field where Rust thrives.

Rust is a statically typed, compiled programming language with support for multiple programming paradigms. The language was designed to prioritize safety and performance, with safe concurrency being the primary goal.

Go – often stylized as ‘Golang’ – is a statically typed, compiled programming language. Designed by Google developers, the language is modeled after C and with the intent to compete against C++. Golang is also compared to Python because of its uncomplicated syntax.