When was the last time you read a book or listened to a podcast and felt inspired?
Now I know that as programmers we encounter tasks on a daily basis with often interesting or unique-ish challenges. And solving them can lead us to feel anything from pride to frustration or boredom.
These feelings may move you to take action (taking a nap when you're bored, for example). But the effect inspiration can have on you is of a different order of magnitude. Inspiration causes your mind to race with ideas and possibilities; it makes you want to stop what you're doing and reassess your priorities; it can drastically alter the course you are on in life.
What do my unoriginal musings about inspiration have to do with learning Rust? Returning to the opening line of this article, my answer would be: this week. Having attended my first PyCon conference in Berlin, I found myself in talks that left me energised and impassioned: new age DataFrames with Polars, ML components in databases, and wearables with embedded LLMs.
A fascinating fact about the conference was the number of Rust-focused talks. From language comparison, to optimised DataFrame APIs, Rust seemed to be at the centre of attention at Germany's largest Python conference. As an professional Python developer, I began to think about how Rust could help me grow. And with some of the biggest libraries (e.g. Pydantic) and frameworks (e.g. pandas) being rewritten or reimplemented in Rust, I began to see a future Python ecosystem built on top of Rust.
Python's package ecosystem is rich, and as a language loved by the scientific community, there are dozens if not hundreds of projects which could benefit from compute- and memory-optimised implementations in Rust. Rust is obviously not the only language that can make such optimisations, but it seems to be the tool of choice for smart developers who are doing those rewrites. I'd love to comment on why programmers are opting for Rust, but as I know nothing about Rust (:D) I'll come back to that question after 30 days.
Ultimately PyCon gave me some inspiring rusty thoughts: doing a library rewrite of my own (especially for horrible Java ports); learning new kinds of computer science abstractions; and generally becoming a more valuable developer.
Over the next thirty days I will be documenting my journey of learning Rust through open-source content. Hopefully, I'll be just as inspired at the end of my journey as I am now - but no promises there!