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A while ago, I made a cellular automata simulator in Go, inspired by this video about a “rock, paper, scissors” simulation, where there are three “species” of cells which consume each other.

Last week I rewrote this in Rust, with a number of modifications. There are now four colors, which make the system far more stable, resulting in a much more pleasing simulation (imo).

Here’s the result:


Things that worked well

  • I really like the match construct
  • everything is an expression
  • I like the module system, the syntax, etc. Feels comfortable
  • the compiler is very helpful, telling you what you did wrong and what you should probably do to fix it
  • runtime exceptions are reported well
  • the type system, once I understood it, is amazing. There’s a ton of potential there

Things that didn’t work as well

  • the macro system wasn’t quite powerful enough to do the things I wanted :( but it’s still cool
  • compilation process isn’t blazing fast, but it’s not too bad
  • parallelism is currently limited to message passing, whereas I really wanted fork/join functionality for processing the arrays. That should be fixed soon
  • the language is still higly volatile; breaking syntax changes happen all the time, which means that many libraries on github are broken
  • it took a fair amount of experimentation before I understood the type system enough to make things happen. owner vs borrowed pointers, etc.
  • there’s no solution for package management. This should be fixed soon as well

Conclusion

Rust is very promising, but to volatile for real work just yet. Once the syntax stabilizes, the standard library is fleshed out, and the community develops, I think it will be incredibly useful.

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Jared Forsyth

I'm an unashamed idealist, but I'm not afraid to change my opinions. I love creating beautiful things. interfaces, apis, music. ideas.


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Jared Forsyth

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