Go vs Rust: Which is Better and Why?

Go vs Rust: Which is Better and Why?

By Avinash Sharma
December 2, 2019 5. min read
Last update on: December 4, 2019

If you had to make a list of top programming languages that appeared in the industry in the past decade, the two names that would emerge would be Go and Rust. 

And, if you had to sit down and think of the programming languages which were best aligned with the motive to develop secure, microservice favoring frameworks and apps, you would again find yourself staring at the two languages.  

Even after being similar in some prominent ways like maturity, being open source, and being designed for microservice oriented, modern, parallel computing environments, there is a lot of confusion around Go vs Rust and which of the two languages are good for the developer community to enter into. 

The intent of this article today is to look into the difference between Go and Rust in much detail. The differences that go beyond Rust use cases and Golang use cases. 

Let us answer Which is better: Rust or Go?

But before that, let us refresh the basics of both the programming languages. 

Rust Programming Language

Rust language came into existence back in 2010. Deemed as one of the ML languages’ extensions, the aim that the language was expected to fulfill was better security, performance, improved parallelism, and greater modularity. 

The feature set that Rust comes with has brought it to a stage where there are very few developers who haven’t heard of it or as showing an unwillingness to work in it. 

developers unwillingness to work on rust

Advantage of Rust language:

  • Amazing run speed 
  • Enables fine grain features such as rich patterns, syntax extensions, and novel embeddings. 
  • Interoperable with C, and FFI, amongst others. 
  • Zero-cost abstraction
  • Predictable runtime behaviour 
  • Saves crashing, debugging time. 

Disadvantage of Rust language:

  • Learning Rust is steeper than Go 
  • Between Go vs Rust, it is slow to compile 
  • It is slower than the C and C++ language in the analogous conditions. 

Go Programming Language

Go coding language was introduced back in 2007 by Google. It was looked at as a language that had emerged to solve the issues that organizations face when developing software infrastructure. The Go language specification was devised to introduce garbage collection, dependency management, built-in concurrency, robustness across multiple boundaries between the components, etc. 

The result of the well thought of features of Go has gotten it a market position which is enough to bring it several points ahead in the Go vs Rust debate. 

go market position

Advantage of Go Language:

  • The best feature of Go language is the incredible speed at which it compiles to machine code. 
  • The simplicity of code
  • Concise, pragmatic, and efficient
  • Flexible and highly concurrency favoring 
  • Strong interoperability with C language. 

Disadvantage of Go Language:

  • Keeps simplicity over performance 
  • Lacks the generics to an extent
  • Not enough immutability 
  • Not a system language. 

Now that we have looked into the basics of both the languages, let us get on to the part where we look into how they stack up against each other. 

Rust vs Go: Performance 

The one factor that weighs up Rust in the Rust vs Go debate is performance. The programs have been designed to run at similar or near similar speed of C++ and C. 

Go, on the other hand, trade runtime speed for convenience, by making tasks automatic. But in terms of Rust vs Go Performance comparison, development speed of Go falls several steps behind the high performance that Rust offers. 

Go vs Rust: Memory Management 

Rust make use of compile time ownership strategy for memory management through zero cost abstractions. If a Rust program is not memory safe, it won’t be able to cross the compilation stage. 

Like Rust, Go is also memory safe. But in the case of Go, it is handled automatically during the runtime. Meaning, developers won’t have to think of releasing or allocating memory when writing code. 

Go vs Rust: Development Speed

At times, the development speed becomes more important than the program speed. A working example of this can be seen in the case of Python, which is not one of the fastest languages to run but fastest to write a software in. 

Go comes with the same appeal. The simplicity and directness that it offers makes it faster than a number of languages in the market. 

Rust, on the other hand, comes with more language features and thus takes longer to master. Its compile speed is also longer than Go’s. So, if the intent is of faster development cycle, you would be better off with Go than Rust. 

Rust vs Go: Concurrency

Modern day apps are distributed and networked. The languages that haven’t planned for these realities are far off behind the curve. The developers have to be able to run the tasks independently and share state between the tasks minus the risk of data corruption. 

Now while concurrency was built into Golang’s syntax from beginning, Rust recently gained the native syntax in the form of async/.await. But even though the concurrency of Rust lacks the developer experience that went behind Go, it makes up for it through Rust’s memory safety. 

Conclusion

We could keep digging into both the languages, dissecting both sides of Go vs Rust comparison, but the ultimate answer to the Rust and Go comparison would be the fact that it depends. There are instances where Rust is better than Go and vice versa. 

Ultimately, this is what we recommend as an app development company, who works on both – 

Choose Rust when:

  1. If performance is a necessity 
  2. If you want it to interoperate with C language. 
  3. When your developers need control on every detail of how the threads behave with the rest of the system, how the errors must be handled, it would be better to look into Rust use cases.  

Choose Go when:

  1. If readability is a must have requirement 
  2. If you wish to write codes faster
  3. If the focus is on uniformity and simplicity. 

FAQs About Go vs Rust

Q. Why Go and not Rust?

The answer to this would be in when and not why. You should go with Golang when – you have to write code faster, when simplicity is a bit more important than performance, and when readability is a must have necessity. 

Q. What does Go and Rust have in common?

There are some prevalent similarities between Go web development and Rust, mostly in terms of the maturity and the fact that both: the programming features of Rust and Go are open source and have been designed for microservice oriented, modern, parallel computing environments.  

Q. Is Go faster than Rust?

Yes. Speed is one of the biggest differences between Go and Rust – a difference which is won by Go.

Avinash Sharma
Avinash Sharma
Solution Architect
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