Taking Rust for a Test Drive

At Ferrous, we often help folks who are in the “getting started” phase of using Rust. Sometimes their engineering teams have started using the language unofficially and they’d like some help making it official, and other times we are approached by CTOs or Engineering leads who are interested to see if Rust can help their development team.

We don’t generally advise folks to dive in head first, or to rewrite everything from scratch in Rust. Instead, we suggest finding a good first project to take Rust for a test drive, so you can try before you buy.

The right “first project” aims to solve a problem in Rust that’s isolated and compact, but still poses a realistic test case to assess whether Rust fits a team’s needs.

Picking the right first project can be hard! Since we have experience helping teams with this process, especially in selecting projects that are specific to them, we wanted to share some of our common guidance. This is directed both at managers as well as engineers starting this process on their own.

On the search for a first Rust project, we aim to answer these three questions:

  1. How can we minimize cost or risk to projects and timelines?
  2. How can we maximize rewards (reliability, efficiency, developer happiness)
  3. How can we maximize the learnings from the first trial?

Let’s break these down in more details…

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