I will be going through the official Rust book and supplementing with “Rust by Example”, the std lib doc, and potentially some of the other official materials if time and skill allows.

Setup

In the introduction it mentions that Rust comes with its own install and update management program called rustup. Chapter one starts where most/all programming books start, installation. I will be installing Rust as the book instructs (as opposed to using the pkg in pacman). I will initially be installing it on my Lenovo T530 running Arch Linux. In the future I may try using pacman to manage Rust and I will probably experiment with running Rust on Windows as well, I’d even try it on macOS, but I am not sure how I’d get my hands on a Mac so that probably won’t be happening…

Step one to installing Rust is getting rustup, which consists of running:

$ curl https://sh.rustup.rs -sSf | sh (will not work without https)

This will download and then run a shell script. The script initially prompts you and explains it will add a few locations to PATH. You have the option of confirming, exiting, or customizing. I went with the default options. The book mentions that you need a linker and a C compiler, luckily gcc it pretty much a requirement to use Linux so I don’t need to bother getting a C compiler on my laptop –though this may be an important point when it comes time to try Rust on Windows as I don’t believe Windows comes with a C compiler by default.

Updating Rust is as easy as rustup update and uninstalling is as rustup self uninstall. I confirm Rust is installed by running rustup --version, and lo and behold! I am running Rust version 1.16.0, which was released on 18-12-06.

The documentation mentions help can be found on their IRC channel (#rust @ irc.mozilla.org) and their forums. I will make sure to get an account setup on their forums at some point and to get their IRC channel added as well. I also went ahead and subscribed to r/rust. As an added bonus the Rust documentation is all available locally via rustup doc, so I will still be able to work on this when Comcast inevitable fails me once again!

Hello World!

The Rust ‘Hello World!’ is all of three lines, no imports like in C:

fn main() {
	println!("Hello, world!");
}

Sure enough, as soon as I get that into vim, save, and run rustc main.rs I am greeted with a binary –the compiler spares no time for salutations or statuses it’s quick and to the point, like a systems programmer would expect.

Anyone used to C and C derived languages will be familiar with the standard main(){}. println! is not a function as I had suspected, but a macro. The chapter mentions, in passing, the macros are denoted by the !.

Cargo

Cargo is to Rust what pip is to Python – a package manager, though I suspect calling either merely a ‘package manager’ does neither justice. Cargo can be used to start new Rust projects. It’s actually really neat! cargo new $PROJECT_NAME will create a new directory for that project, create a src directory inside of that (preloaded with main.rs), initial a git repo, and create a TOML file for configuration data pertaining to the project.

total 24
drwxr-xr-x 4 ian users 4096 Feb  1 11:23 .
drwxr-xr-x 4 ian users 4096 Feb  1 11:23 ..
-rw-r--r-- 1 ian users  136 Feb  1 11:23 Cargo.toml
drwxr-xr-x 6 ian users 4096 Feb  1 11:23 .git
-rw-r--r-- 1 ian users   19 Feb  1 11:23 .gitignore
drwxr-xr-x 2 ian users 4096 Feb  1 11:23 src

./src:
total 12
drwxr-xr-x 2 ian users 4096 Feb  1 11:23 .
drwxr-xr-x 4 ian users 4096 Feb  1 11:23 ..
-rw-r--r-- 1 ian users   45 Feb  1 11:23 main.rs

The TOML file is super nice, it has the expected information; project name, version, author, and something called “edition”. But it also has a section for dependencies, to my knowledge Python makes you maintain your own requirements.txt file, so the fact that this maintains it for me is really nice! (I am sure there is a way to automate this in Python too, but it isn’t a stock feature) I like this, when I am creating a new project with Python and I want it to be organized nicely I always have to spend five to ten minutes ~remembering~ searching the proper Python project structure (by the way, there isn’t an official one and there really should be, so someone get PEP’ing!)

You can use Cargo to build the project with cargo build. cargo run will build and the execute and cargo check will check the code against the compiler but won’t actually compile it into an executable. When you run the cargo [build|run|check] it adds a number of new files and directories. I won’t list them here, but the executable ends up in ./taget/debug/. And when it comes time to make a release version cargo build --release will compile with optimizations and drop the executable in ./target/release/.

And that’s all for chapter one folks! Tomorrow I will jump into chapter two and get working on building a guessing game.