In January I wrote a post for the Rust 2019 call for blogs. The 2020 call is aiming for an RFC and roadmap earlier this time, so here is my 2020 post =]
Last call review: what happened?
An attribute proc-macro like
#[wasm_bindgen] but for FFI
This sort of happened... because WebAssembly is growing =]
I was very excited when Interface Types showed up in August, and while it is still very experimental it is moving fast and bringing saner paths for interoperability than raw C FFIs. David Beazley even point this at the end of his PyCon India keynote, talking about how easy is to get information out of a WebAssembly module compared to what had to be done for SWIG.
This doesn't solve the problem where strict C compatibility is required, or for platforms where a WebAssembly runtime is not available, but I think it is a great solution for scientific software (or, at least, for my use cases =]).
"More -sys and Rust-like crates for interoperability with the larger ecosystems" and "More (bioinformatics) tools using Rust!"
I did some of those this year (bbhash-sys and mqf), and also found some great crates to use in my projects. Rust is picking up steam in bioinformatics, being used as the primary choice for high quality software (like varlociraptor, or the many coming from 10X Genomics) but it is still somewhat hard to find more details (I mostly find it on Twitter, and sometime Google Scholar alerts). It would be great to start bringing this info together, which leads to...
"A place to find other scientists?"
Hey, this one happened! Luca Palmieri started a conversation on reddit and the #science-and-ai Discord channel on the Rust community server was born! I think it works pretty well, and Luca also has being doing a great job running workshops and guiding the conversation around rust-ml.
Rust 2021: Interoperability
Rust is amazing because it is very good at bringing many concepts and ideas that seem contradictory at first, but can really shine when synthesized. But can we share this combined wisdom and also improve the situation in other places too? Despite the "Rewrite it in Rust" meme, increased interoperability is something that is already driving a lot of the best aspects of Rust:
Interoperability with other languages: as I said before, with WebAssembly (and Rust being having the best toolchain for it) there is a clear route to achieve this, but it will not replace all the software that already exist and can benefit from FFI and C compatibility. Bringing together developers from the many language specific binding generators (helix, neon, rustler, PyO3...) and figuring out what's missing from them (or what is the common parts that can be shared) also seems productive.
Interoperability with new and unexplored domains. I think Rust benefits enormously from not focusing only in one domain, and choosing to prioritize CLI, WebAssembly, Networking and Embedded is a good subset to start tackling problems, but how to guide other domains to also use Rust and come up with new contributors and expose missing pieces of the larger picture?
Another point extremely close to interoperability is training. A great way to interoperate with other languages and domains is having good documentation and material from transitioning into Rust without having to figure everything at once. Rust documentation is already amazing, especially considering the many books published by each working group. But... there is a gap on the transitions, both from understanding the basics of the language and using it, to the progression from beginner to intermediate and expert.
Can we bring more people into Rust?
RustBridge is obviously the reference here,
but there is space for much,
Using Rust in The Carpentries lessons?
mirroring the communities of practice of rOpenSci and pyOpenSci?