rust vs. C++ - the main differences between these popular programming languages ​​- CodiLime (2023)

Rust popularitycontinues to grow as the preferred programming language among developers. RespectivelyRotsuche 2020Nearly 40% of developers surveyed use Rust in their work, including 13.8% who say they work with Rust full-time. This growth may be related to popular but controversial opinion.Rust can be used as a replacement for C++. However, it would be an oversimplification to say that C++ can easily be replaced by Rust. In this article, we want to briefly introduce the main differences between these two programming languages ​​and how both can be used.

In this article you will learn:

  • about the features of Rust and C++,
  • when one performs better than the other,
  • if Rust and C++ are easy to learn,
  • in what types of projects these languages ​​can be used.

What is the Rust programming language?

Rust is a child of Mozilla (born 2010), but is now a separate entity and has its ownStiftung. This multi-paradigm, high-level, general-purpose programming language is known for its strong and safe concurrency features. You can easily see the similarities between Rust andC++-Syntax, but Rust offers a higher level of memory safety without using a garbage collector.

Rust was not named for the first timethe most popular language- won more than 86% of developer votes. But C++ is not far behind and still has its supporters: it gets 43% of the votes in the previous poll. Let's see whatlanguage C++has to offer.

rust vs. C++ - the main differences between these popular programming languages ​​- CodiLime (1)

What is the C++ programming language?

C++ was designed and published in 1985 by Danish computer scientist Bjarne Stroustrup. It is described as a high-level, general-purpose compiled language. C++ is often preferred for developing applications that require high speed and parallelism. It's probably obvious, but it's worth noting that C++ is an extension of the C programming language and is often referred to as "C with classes“.

As mentioned, Rust is seen as an alternative to C++, and there is still debate in the developer community about when it is better to use Rust or C++. Let's compare the differences between them.

Rust and C++ performance levels

You've probably noticed that the Rust and C++ programming languages ​​have a few things in common. But are these programming languages ​​as related as they first appear? when we talkRust and C++ performanceWe cannot ignore the fact that these programming languages ​​use the same compilation model. What does that mean?

Rust and C++:

  • compile to native code,
  • does not have an end
  • no garbage collection,
  • have direct access to storage (if necessary),
  • they arelow level programmingLanguages: work close to the hardware.

For most projects, Rust's safe mode will suffice. But in some cases, the Rust compiler can seem a bit restrictive. then you can userust unsafe mode. This allows you to use more of Rust's features, but there's a catch: you're responsible for fixing the code, the compiler doesn't do it for you.

In terms of performance level, there is no obvious winner between the two. There are notable performance differences that can be observed in specific cases, but the overall results for both languages ​​are similar. But here's a tip: Rust can be a C++ replacement for high performance workloads.

For more information, read more aboutPerformance and security by Rust and C.

If you're familiar with some of the features of C++ and Rust, you may have already guessed how and when these programming languages ​​are used. So let's check if you were right.

rust vs. C++ - the main differences between these popular programming languages ​​- CodiLime (2)

When can you use Rust or C++?

Each example mentioned below works for both C++ and Rust (at least in theory). There is no technical reason to exclude any of these programming languages ​​from a project that requires the same build mode and where the features affect the level of performance. This ensures that Rust should work even if you can use C or C++.

Of course, in some cases, one of them is a better option than the other.

Common uses for these programming languages ​​are:

  • Software running on restricted devices/firmware (also known asintegratedDevices),
  • Kernel Driver Development – ​​It is important to note that Rust is considered the official language for Linux kernel development. C++ never got to this point,
  • Libraries for integration with other languages ​​(for example, Python), see more information atDifferences between Python and Rust performance.
  • Backend: The Go programming language has been dominant in this area, but Rust is trying to take its place.the fight between Rust and Golang-For example. Dropbox used Rust to rewrite the core sync engine
  • Game development: Currently C++ is still the main language in this area. Rust doesn't offer as many frameworks as C++, but its developers are always trying to figure it out, so don't forget about Rust.

But these programming languages ​​will not work equally well in all cases. Let's focus on the cases where we consciously choose Rust or C++ as the critical solution:

  • We use C++ when we create aMicroservices security platform. This cloud-native security platform is designed to effectively protect microservices while giving the customer a clear view of all traffic.
  • Rust is one of the tools we use to builda web application for network monitoring in heterogeneous environments.

C++ can seem a bit dated due to its age. Could not be farther from the truth. There are still areas and applications where this programming language has not been defeated.

When does C++ win again?

C++ is over 30 years old, but in some areas this programming language still has no competition.

Why is C++ still pending?

  • existing codebase related to existing products,
  • compile Times,
  • Existing libraries that may be available only in C++: Due to C++'s long career, it has many stable and feature-rich libraries at its side; Game development is one area where this is evident,
  • C++ has several compilers: for example, Clang, GCC, MinGW, Cfront, Intel C++ Compiler, Tiny C Compiler, LLVM, and many more. Currently, the only Rust compiler is based on LLVM, but achange is at the door,
  • Some language features used in high-performance code are only available with C++. But in fairness to Rust, as of May 2021 it has its own "generic constant' (known in C++ as 'untyped template parameter'), introduced by C++ enthusiasts as 'Hey, but can Rust do this?'. Rust is breathing down the neck of C++ with improvements from it and it won't stop.

Finally, a little bonus. It's easier to find a job as a C++ developer than as a Rust developer because more products are still being written in C++

Performance and use cases are not everything: let's talk about how to learn these programming languages.

>> Discover ourrust development services


If you're thinking about learning a new programming language, whether it's for yourself or your team, you need to know what to expect before you start.

This graphical comparison of the learning process for each language can be helpful (but not necessarily reassuring).You can think of the learning curve as a mountain when you start with C++ and a wall when you start with Rust.(But if you drill through the Rust Wall, you'll probably find it's not as bad as it sounds.)

Why (despite your developer background) you should prepare for a brain challenge:

  • Rust requires some concepts to be learned beforehand. C++ can be more forgiving for beginners.
  • Rust introduces unique concepts not found in other programming languages, such as ownership and borrowing.
  • Rust often requires unlearning many patterns from other languages, which can make learning easier for the less experienced developer with less "baggage".

But there are some aspects that you should keep in mind, regardless of which of the two languages ​​you want to learn:

  • Treat the compiler like a friend, thatLecture by Esteban Kuberit's a Rust tutorial on how to handle the curve,
  • C++ is easier to compile but more difficult to create a correct/efficient program,
  • C++ contains many "shotguns— Features that are likely to be used in ways that cause you problems later.

Getting started with both languages ​​can be challenging despite the developer's experience. But maybe a high level of security is worth it?

Rust and C++: how safe are these programming languages?

These two programming languages ​​have a lot in common. But one thing definitely separates them: security. Rust is a safer option than C++: a possible bug will cause the code to be rejected.Rust is "safe by default". It balances preventing unwanted behavior and allowing it when the loss is not too great. In C++, a bug can escape the validation process and lead to application crashes or even security vulnerabilities.

Post your API in C if possible use it appropriately (open world). In Rust, publish a safe API if abuse is excluded (closed world)."This quote clearly shows the difference in the usage of these two programming languages ​​(it refers to the C programming language, but there is no difference to C++ in this case).

When it comes to security, Rust leaves C++ far behind. be one ofReasons why companies use Rust.

Tools are another aspect that affects the quality of the developer's work. What about Rust and C++?

Tools should facilitate the creation, debugging, maintenance and support of programs and applications. Do these programming languages ​​offer similar solutions? Let's compare them.

  • Rust provides easy-to-use tools out of the box.chargingis a single standardized tool for creating Rust package dependencies, building packages, distributing packages, and uploading those packages to Thanks to this, all Rust code repositories are similar: you won't be surprised by dependencies, repository structures, when tests are done, and more. In the C++ repository, on the other hand, everything looks different and you have to relearn the repository every time.

  • C++ doesn't have standardized tools, but some things are more available due to the maturity of the language:

    • Debuggers: GNU Debugger, Visual Studio Code, LLDB, Nemiver. These are just a few examples of the two most popular C++ debuggers.
    • Commercial Static Analyzers: Cppcheck, Clang Static Analyzer, sonarqube, Sourcetrail and more.

Sometimes good tools are not enough, when you face unexpected difficulties, that's when you need the support of the community, people who know the programming language inside out and are ready to help.


Behind every language is its community: it takes care of language development, keeps libraries up to date, and makes suggestions for improvements. In short, the community is working on language development. How are Rust and C++ communities different?

Both programming languages ​​can proudly say that they have a great community. The Rust and C++ communities are friendly and very active. Whatever the problem, you can easily find numerous forums with people willing to help. You don't have to take our word for it, find out for yourself by checking out these pages:Rust-CommunitymiPage C++.

Also, both languages ​​have their official annual conferences:

Rust is much younger compared to C++ but has an equally active community. But in this case, the age of C++ matters. C++ has more forums, open source projects, and to be honest most potential C++ problems have already been found and fixed by developers over the years.

Can we convince you to switch to Rust from C++? Read on to find out if it's possible and how to do it.

How to switch between Rust and C++?

First of all, don't worry: integration with Rust-C++ is possible. You can "rust" your code little by little! The question is: how do you do it right?

em 2020,CXXIt appeared and it was a true revolution.Calling C++ code from Rust and Rust code from C++ is now safe and efficient thanks to the CXX library.That doesn't mean it was impossible before. It was, but before CXX, Rust-C++ integration was more cumbersome: it required creating Rust-C and C-C++ interfaces by hand.

Not impress me? MeetAutocxx— the optimized and automated version of CXX. Autocxx is not an officially supported Google product, but the company uses it, interesting!


Both C++ and Rust are potentially good choices for your next project, both with great performance, tools, and community support. There's no obvious winner, but there's never a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to programming languages. If you're not already up to date with Rust, we encourage you to do so. The Rust programming language is gaining popularity due to its security focus. One thing is clear, when it comes to this feature, Rust beats C++.


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