Solana is one of the leading Ethereum competitors for developing smart contracts and decentralized applications (dapps). Thanks to the ultra-fast throughput and minimal transaction fees on the Solana blockchain, many smart contract developers are looking to it as a viable alternative to Ethereum, thanks to the secure and cost-effective development environment it provides. If you’re familiar with the Solidity programming language, you’ll likely be no stranger to creating smart contracts on Ethereum. However, to create smart contracts on Solana, you’ll need to be familiar with a different programming language called Rust. So, if you’re one of the many developers wondering, “what is the Rust programming language?” and “why should I use Rust?”, read on!

In this article, we’re going to explore the Rust programming language. Also, we’re going to answer some common questions for budding developers, such as “what is the Rust programming language?” and “what are the benefits of rust?”. Plus, we take a look at some of the best reasons to learn Web3 development and how you can become a Web3 developer.

Moralis Academy is the ultimate Web3 and blockchain education suite online. If you have zero coding knowledge but want to learn how to create dapps, check out the JavaScript Programming for Blockchain Developers course at Moralis Academy. In this course, we teach students how to build a decentralized exchange from scratch on Ethereum. Join our community of over 30,000 students and kickstart your blockchain education with Moralis Academy. In addition, save ourWhat is Luna Coin?” and “How Do Stablecoins Work?” articles for later reading! 

What is the Rust Programming Language?

So, what is the Rust programming language? Rust is an open-source, highly performant, statically typed, and memory-efficient programming language originally developed by Graydon Hoare. It helps developers “write faster and more reliable software” while easily controlling low-level details such as memory.

Also, Rust’s type system and ownership model allow developers to eliminate several classes of bugs when compiling. Furthermore, the Rust programming language has no runtime or garbage collector, which means it can power performance-critical computations and run on embedded devices. In addition, Rust is easy to integrate with other popular programming languages. 

Solana's programming language - Rust

Rust aims to empower developers by enabling them to achieve more in a shorter time frame. Plus, it was created to lower the barrier to entry for developers by removing many of the pitfalls associated with learning to code. It provides a range of tools that make it easy to problem-solve without needing to understand every aspect of every problem you encounter when developing. Moreover, Rust is an intuitive, versatile, and ergonomic programming language that lends itself to a variety of applications.

Top Companies Using Rust

Several prominent technology companies use Rust for developing “fast, low-resource, cross-platform solutions”. In addition, Rust has been used by top social media platforms, including Facebook (now Meta) and Discord. Rust was the programming language of choice for rewriting the source control backend for Facebook, which was originally written in Python. Since then, the Facebook source control team has adopted Rust. Also, Rust was used in rewriting the client and server codebase for Discord, which were originally written in Go. This has enabled the platform to scale to eleven million concurrent users thanks to the use of “Elixir Native Implemented Functions” (NIFs).

Blog What is the Rust Programming Language?

Also, Rust is used by a subsidiary of the internet giant Amazon, Amazon Web Services (AWS), for developing secure cloud computing infrastructure and systems software. In addition, Microsoft is one of the founding members of the Rust Foundation. Microsoft’s Rust for Windows project is a language projection for Windows that allows developers to use Windows APIs via the Rust windows crate (binary/library).

Furthermore, several aspects of the core file storage system of US-based cloud storage and file management firm Dropbox were written using the Rust programming language. Also, some features of the Dropbox file syncing engine rely on Rust. Another popular technology firm using Rust is Mozilla, the primary investor in Rust. Also, US web infrastructure provider Cloudflare and online education platform Coursera use Rust. 

Why Use Rust?

Now that we have addressed the “what is the Rust programming language?” question, let’s explore why so many developers are turning to Rust. One of the biggest advantages of Rust is its ability to eliminate different types of memory-related bugs at compile time. Also, Rust is extremely fast and reliable with high execution speeds. Plus, it is relatively easy to learn compared to other languages and boasts advanced features that assist in writing highly performant code quickly.

Developer exploring the Rust programming language

Furthermore, Rust is an effective tool that facilitates collaboration throughout large teams with varying degrees of technical ability and programming knowledge. Also, because the Rust programming language eliminates several low-level bugs, it allows development teams to spend more time focusing on the logic of their programs and less time hunting for bugs.

Rust features several advanced tools that remove much of the legwork from the development process. For example, Cargo is Rust’s integrated dependency manager and building tool that allows for effortless and consistent dependency management. Also, Rustfmt allows developers to format code in adherence to style guidelines. It enables multiple developers to collaborate with consistency across their code. In addition, Rust Language Server facilitates integrated development environment (IDE) integration.

Rust is a compiled programming language. If you write a program in Rust, you compile it into a binary executable file that anyone can use, even if they don’t have Rust installed. Also, it features an integrated package manager, an auto “formatter”, and several other tools to increase productivity. Rust takes inspiration from the popular programming language C++. It uses a syntax similar to that of C++ and shares many similarities with JavaScript. As such, Rust has fantastic compile-time correctness and ensures no crashes or data races occur. Plus, anyone familiar with C++ will have a headstart when it comes to learning Rust.

What is Solana?

Solana is a smart contract-enabled blockchain developed by Solana Labs in conjunction with the Solana Foundation. Originally conceptualized in 2017, Solana is one of the fastest blockchain networks in existence. The SOL token is the native cryptocurrency of the Solana network. It is used in protocol governance and as a unit of account throughout the Solana ecosystem. 

The Solana mainnet went live in 2020 following the formation of the Solana Foundation and the transfer of intellectual property and 167 million SOL tokens from Solana Labs. The project aims to advance the adoption of decentralized technologies by lowering the barrier to entry for developers and funding innovative projects built on Solana.

Furthermore, the Solana blockchain can process more than 60,000 transactions per second (TPS). As such, Solana is capable of scaling to meet the growing demands of the Web3 industry without compromising on security or decentralization. Also, this is possible without the use of layer-2 scaling solutions. This makes it a compelling alternative to Ethereum as it prevents bottlenecking and congestion that results in high gas fees.

The Solana team has so much faith in the architecture of the network that the website encourages users to “break Solana”. This means attempting to process so many complex transactions that it crashes the network. Thus far, nobody has been successful.

Moreover, the Solana blockchain uses a byzantine fault tolerance (BFT) proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism called “Tower” consensus. Tower consensus utilizes the proof-of-history (PoH) concept for timestamping transactions prior to consensus to reduce network latency.

The SOL Token

The SOL token is the native cryptocurrency of the Solana blockchain. It plays an essential role as a medium of exchange and unit of account throughout the Solana ecosystem. Following a surge in adoption from smart contract developers, the SOL token shot into the top ten cryptocurrencies by market capitalization, reaching an all-time high of $213 on September 9th, 2021, according to CoinGecko.

Furthermore, the SOL token uses the SPL token standard, which is similar to the ERC-20 standard used on Ethereum. The SOL token is the lifeblood of the decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem built on the Solana blockchain and is used for paying transaction fees throughout the network. 

Also, the SOL token is an essential part of the Solana blockchain’s proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism. Plus, holders can stake their SOL tokens to participate in protocol governance and become network validators. Solana validators earn a portion of transaction fees for securing the network and validating transactions. Also, SOL token holders can delegate SOL to a validator to earn a portion of transaction fees.

Solana Architecture

Solana boasts various innovative features that set it aside from other blockchains. For example, Solana smart contracts use “Sealevel”. Sealevel is the first parallel smart contracts runtime that is capable of processing tens of thousands of smart contracts at the same time. This allows for significantly greater scalability than Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) or WebAssembly (WASM)-based runtimes that only operate one contract at a time.

Furthermore, Solana uses the “Pipeline” transaction processing unit to optimize validation hardware throughout the network. Plus, the Solana blockchain uses the “Gulf Stream” transaction forwarding protocol in place of mempools and the “Cloudbreak” horizontal accounts database scaling solution.

In addition, Solana uses the “Turbine” block propagation protocol to assist in scaling the network without compromising on decentralization or security. Plus, Solana Archivers facilitate distributed ledger storage on light clients, allowing network participants to assist in transaction validation without the need for downloading the entire Solana ledger.

Solana’s PoH protocol is an innovative aspect of Solana’s practical byzantine fault tolerant (PBFT) proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism, Tower consensus. PoH allows validators to cryptographically verify the passage of time between events. As a result, validators can timestamp transactions or “clock before consensus” to increase transaction throughput. This makes Solana one of the fastest and most-secure blockchains in the world.

Creating Dapps on Solana

Smart contracts on Solana are called programs. Unlike a lot of smart contract-enabled blockchains, Solana is not EVM-compatible. Programs are written using the Rust programming language, which was also used to build the Polkadot blockchain and Substrate. 

Solana Ecosystem - Network of dapps built, some of which used the Rust programming language

Rust enables developers to create highly scalable dapps with low fees and near-instant transaction finality. The Solana ecosystem is home to a diverse range of Web3 applications. This includes decentralized gaming, social media, DeFi, metaverse, and much more.

If you want to become proficient in creating smart contract programs and dapps on Solana, check out the Rust and Solana Programming 101 course at Moralis Academy. This course is perfect for anyone who wants to learn how to build smart contracts (programs) on Solana, even if you have no prior knowledge of Rust. Also, if you want to learn how to create Solana tokens using Rust, save this “How to Create a Solana Token in 5 Steps” article for later reading!

What is the Rust Programming Language? – Exploring Solana and Rust: Summary 

Rust saves developers time and energy by eliminating various bug classes and optimizing workflow. Also, the Rust programming language allows development teams of varying skill levels to collaborate without friction. The next time somebody asks you, “what is the Rust programming language?”, you should be able to answer confidently. Also, you should now have a better understanding of how to dapps on Solana. 

If you’re familiar with JavaScript and want to learn more about the fundamentals of computer science and programming, check out the C++ Programming for Blockchain Developers course at Moralis Academy. This course is perfect for anyone looking to take their programming skills to the next level and prepare for some of our advanced courses. Plus, C++ shares many similarities with Rust, making it a great primer for creating dapps on Solana.

There has never been a better time to learn a new skill in an emerging field. Blockchain programmers are in extremely high demand. Also, blockchain and Web3 developers can earn a handsome salary. Start your journey towards a life-changing career in blockchain with Moralis Academy. In addition, take a look at our “Top 5 Most Crypto-Friendly Countries” article to further expand your Web3 knowledge.