Rust Vs C++: Which Language is Better For Your Startup?9th January, 2024 7 min
Launching a brand-new startup requires meticulous planning, with factors such as team planning, marketing strategies, and funding all playing a vital role. One of the most important decisions to make is choosing a suitable programming language, and for those who aren’t well-versed in the world of computer programming, narrowing down all the available options can seem a little overwhelming. Among the myriad of languages available, Rust and C++, in particular, have garnered reputations for their unique strengths and attributes.
The Rust Vs C++ debate has raged on for years, but in this guide, we’ll focus on helping you answer this key question - which one is best for your startup?
We’ll cover why it’s so crucial to pick a language that suits your specific needs, look at Rust and C++’s backstories, and evaluate how they compare.
The Importance of Choosing the Right Language For Your Startup
Selecting the most suitable programming language for your new start-up is no easy feat. Should you place your trust in a highly performant, exceptionally secure modern programming like Rust? Or will you play it safe and opt for a long-established, traditional language with a reputation for its scalability, extensive library, and backward compatibility, such as C++?
Ultimately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to picking a programming language that best suits your business’s needs. However, the importance of making the right choice cannot be understated, as choosing the wrong one can pose several challenges that stand to hinder your startup’s growth and success, including time and cost overruns, integration issues, limited performances, and security vulnerabilities.
To effectively mitigate these risks, it is vital for you to identify your startup’s unique needs. Here are the key factors you must take into account to make an informed decision about which language to choose:
- Nature of Your Products: Before making your selection, be sure to consider the specific requirements of your products. Each language has its own distinct set of features and applications, and their suitability for different types of projects varies dramatically. For instance, if your startup specialises in desktop applications, C++ is a suitable option, while Rust is better suited to systems programming and web assembly projects.
- Feasibility of Finding Talent: Some programming languages, particularly newer ones like Rust and Go, have smaller talent pools, making it harder to find skilled developers. This scarcity can result in longer hiring cycles and increased labour costs, impacting the speed and quality of development.
- Scalability: Startups typically aim to grow rapidly, so picking a language known for its impressive scalability would be a wise step. The programming language you select should be capable of scaling along with your business, and both Rust and C++ are especially cut out for handling increased data volumes and traffic.
- Community Support and Libraries: Languages with smaller communities might have a limited amount of available resources, frameworks, and libraries. This has the potential to slow down development and innovation as software developers won’t have access to the latest tools. However, languages with tight-knit communities are often able to provide more specialised knowledge.
- Long-Term Maintenance: Choosing a language with poor long-term support or limited developer resources could lead to higher maintenance costs. Maintaining and updating the software could become more challenging as the startup evolves.
Seeking the advice of experienced developers or software recruitment agencies may help you reach your final decision.
Rust Vs C++: The Overview
Before we delve into the advantages of Rust and C++, let’s briefly examine why these programming languages have become so widely used by companies and software developers alike.
While the exciting and relatively new Rust has been dubbed the most desired programming language by Stack Overflow’s annual developer survey multiple times, C++ still retains a loyal following. Still a go-to option for many, C++ is a traditional programming language with a rich and varied history. First implemented as a commercial product in 1985, the language quickly became a popular option for developers owing to its versatility, low-level control, and efficiency.
Despite the emergence of new languages like Rust and Golang, C++ still retains its esteemed reputation. According to the TIOBE index of 2022, the language is the 4th most popular language in the world. C++ has evolved dramatically in the years since its creation, with new features and capabilities added to the language all the time. For instance, the C++ 20 version published in 2020 introduced a variety of new concepts and modules that made the language all the more concise and secure.
Although C++ has the ability to adapt and evolve with the times, there is no doubt that Rust has emerged as a challenger to this traditional language’s dominance. After receiving sponsorship from Mozilla in 2009, Rust was officially launched in 2015. The language soon garnered acclaim for its high performance, efficiency, and versatility, advantages that also pertain to C++.
However, Rust really shines in its memory safety. Designed to address the various shortcomings of traditional programming languages, the language guarantees memory safety, meaning that users don’t have to worry about common memory-related problems like dangling pointers and buffer overflows. As we alluded to earlier, Rust has been consistently ranked as the most desired language, and this popularity is showing no sign of slowing down any time soon.
It’s no secret that a rising number of companies are choosing to make the shift from C++ to Rust, but how are they going about this? We encourage you to read our ‘How to Navigate the Transition from C++ to Rust’ to find out.
Evaluating Rust Vs C++ For Startups
Of all the contenders in the ever-growing world of programming languages, Rust and C++ stand out as two of the most reliable and powerful choices for startups. While both languages share some common characteristics, each has its own distinct set of strengths, challenges, and features.
However, in essence, each language represents something different. C++ symbolises tradition and reliability, as its features have been serving software developers well for generations. On the other hand, Rust has gained a reputation for being somewhat of an industry disrupter, with its remarkable memory safety, performance, and concurrency earning appreciation from a whole new breed of coders and programmers.
There are solid cases to be made for both Rust and C++, and the likelihood is that whichever one you choose will help your startup to thrive. But your choice will be based on which aspect you value more - are you a game development business looking for a highly performant language? Or perhaps you value a rich ecosystem of tools and libraries more?
To help you with your decision, let’s see how Rust and C++ compare with each other in a range of key areas:
As we established earlier in this guide, one reason Rust has gained such popularity is its excellent performance. The language’s ownership and borrowing system is designed to eliminate runtime errors such as data races and dangling pointers, a characteristic that allows it to achieve impressive overall speed. Overall, Rust achieves outstanding performance through a mix of zero-cost abstractions, low-level control, and an optimising compiler.
Similarly, C++ has earned acclaim for its speed and memory management capabilities. Although Rust just about edges it on the memory safety front, C++’s manual memory management makes it a more flexible option suitable for software developers who value more control. Like Rust, C++ achieves its performance levels through low-level control and zero-cost abstractions.
Verdict: So, which comes out on top for performance? As both are excellent in this area of computer programming, we’ll call this one a tie. It is up to startups and software developers to analyse the trade-offs and features when deciding which language is better in this area.
Another one of Rust’s defining characteristics is its strong emphasis on memory safety. Its ownership and borrowing system facilitates high speed and minimises the risk of crashes, data leaks, and exploits, thereby boosting the language’s security. Rust’s concurrency features also provide safe abstractions that prevent data races and other concurrency-related vulnerabilities. Additionally, as Rust doesn’t have a garbage collector, software developers don’t have to deal with garbage collection algorithm frailties.
On the other hand, C++ offers more low-level control and flexibility, which can be both an advantage and a challenge. While C++ allows for manual memory management, this means that developers have more responsibility to avoid common pitfalls that can lead to security vulnerabilities. C++ provides a wide range of features that can be leveraged for security, but it also requires careful programming skills to avoid potential issues.
Verdict: Although both languages can be utilised to build highly secure applications and systems, Rust is the winner here. Rust offers inherent benefits due to its memory safety features, whereas C++ requires a greater level of specialist knowledge to manage memory safely, making it more prone to certain types of cyber security issues.
A problem many software developers encounter when picking up Rust for the first time is the relatively steep learning curve. Despite its performance and security benefits, the language’s ownership and borrowing system can be difficult to comprehend, particularly for those unfamiliar with enforcing memory management without garbage collection. Other challenging concepts in Rust include its enum-based error-handling system and strict compiler.
Although C++ can be challenging for computer programming novices, those with prior programming experience may find it relatively straightforward to get to grips with the language. Developers with a background in languages like C, Java, or Python may find C++’s concepts to be easy to learn. Nevertheless, there are aspects of C++ that are notoriously difficult, such as pointers, manual memory management, and object-oriented paradigms.
Verdict: If you are brand new to the world of computer programming, Rust may prove to have a steeper learning curve. Those with prior knowledge of C-like syntax and general programming concepts may find C++ easier to navigate. Although it poses its own set of difficulties, C++ is probably the better option if you’re looking for a slightly easier language to learn.
While Rust is a relatively new programming language with a smaller community than more traditional languages, it nevertheless has a growing and vibrant user base. Research shows that while the Rust developer community is one-fourth of the C++ community, the number of Rust users has increased threefold over the last couple of years, making it one of the fastest-growing developer communities. The community is also fairly young, with 60% of developers being under the age of 30.
As a traditional programming language, C++ has a mature and extensive ecosystem, especially in areas like game development, embedded systems, and performance-critical applications. The language has a markedly robust community, and despite the emergence of modern options like Golang and Rust, it remains dominant.
Verdict: Both Rust and C++ have vibrant and supportive communities, each with its own unique characteristics. Rust's community is relatively newer, more focused on modern software development practices, and known for its friendliness. C++ has a well-established, diverse community with a wealth of experience and a broad range of applications. Even though C++ technically has more devotees, Rust’s welcoming nature means that we’ll declare this particular battle a draw.
Key Takeaways From Rust Vs C++: Which Language is Better?
The decision between Rust and C++ for your startup hinges on your specific priorities and project requirements. Both languages offer robust performance and security features, yet they differ in crucial aspects.
Rust, with its modern approach, excels in memory safety, making it a standout choice for applications where security is paramount. However, its learning curve may pose challenges for those new to programming.
On the other hand, C++ represents tradition and reliability, boasting a mature ecosystem and a broad range of applications. Its flexibility and lower learning curve make it accessible to developers with prior programming experience.
The performance battle between Rust and C++ is a tie, emphasising the need for startups to carefully weigh the trade-offs based on their unique needs. Whether you prioritise cutting-edge security features or a well-established ecosystem, both languages have thriving communities ready to support your endeavours.
Experts in Connecting Talent With C++ and Rust Developer Jobs
As one of Europe’s premier software recruitment agencies, we take pride in helping tech firms secure exceptional talent for their C++ and Rust developer jobs. With a team of top-tier consultants, we have a proven track record of providing market-leading recruitment services for companies of all sizes. Whether you are seeking an ambitious graduate or an accomplished programmer with expertise in various programming languages, we are here to support you.
Get in touch with us today to discover more about how we can help your business accomplish your recruitment goals.