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Why Microsoft Is Dumping C & C++ For This New Programming Language

The adoption of Rust programming language by the developers has been increasing in an exponential manner. This language provides the simplicity and security which a developer needs while writing codes. According to the Stack Overflow’s annual Developer Survey, Rust surpassed the ever-popular Python and secured the top position as the most-loved language by the developers.  

Microsoft has been facing issues with C and C++ for a while now. In fact, Microsoft spends an estimate of $150,000 per issue as a whole to solve the issues and vulnerabilities. In 2018, there were more than 450 issues faced by the tech giant and it is only getting worse with time. This year, the tech giant faced over 470 issues.   

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To overcome such issues, Microsoft developers recently announced to use the Rust programming language instead of C and C++ to write and code the components of Windows. The project is known as Verona where the developers will develop a new and safer programming language for Windows. 

Why Adopt Rust?

According to the developers at Microsoft Research, using C and C++ for developing software is a billion-dollar problem. C and C++ are one of the oldest programming languages, these languages lack the documentation for resources for modern machines. However, they work great on the low-level systems and it is mainly underlying on the basis of the insecure technologies on which the developers create machines in the present scenario. One thing that really concerns the developers is safety while coding. C and C++ lack this ability to write secure and correct code. 

Some of the reasons which led to the adoption of Rust are mentioned below:

  • The memory and data safety guarantees made by the Rust compiler is stronger than that of C and C++.
  • Less time is spent debugging trivial issues or frustrating race conditions in Rust.
  • The compiler warning and error messages are extremely well written in Rust than in C and C++.
  • The documentation of Rust for compiling error messages and other such topics are provided neatly than the documentation of C and C++. 

As Rust is relatively younger than C, the developers at Microsoft Research mentioned that there are several important features which are missing in this new language in order to make it fully developed:

  • Safe Transmutation: Safe transmutation helps to safely cast “plain old data” types to and from raw bytes.
  • Safe Support for C Style Unions and Fallible Allocation. 

Wrapping Up

Previously, there are a few programming languages which have been created at the Microsoft Research, like: 

  • F* – a functional programming language inspired by ML and aimed at program verification, where ML is a general-purpose functional programming language
  • Cω or Comega – a free extension to the C# programming language
  • Spec Sharp – a programming language with specification language features that extends the capabilities of the C# programming language

Rust, the multi-paradigm system programming language has been appreciated by the developers for a few years now. This year, Rust language has secured the second position as the fastest-growing programming language contributed by the GitHub repository contributors.

Developers at Microsoft Research seem to be adopting this language to have a more secure environment for coding. It ensures as a memory-safe programming language and has a few interesting features like unit testing built into Cargo which allows developers to write unit tests in the same file as production code and run them easily while developing. However, this is not the first time that the tech giant research centre is creating a new language. 

Click here to watch the Rust-Adoption video.

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Ambika Choudhury
A Technical Journalist who loves writing about Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. A lover of music, writing and learning something out of the box.

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