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Frontend Development / Rust / Software Development

Dedicated IDE for Rust Released by JetBrains

RustRover is a new IDE designed especially for Rust. It has been made available for free while in early availability.
Sep 13th, 2023 9:24am by
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JetBrains today launched an integrated development environment for the Rust programming language, called RustRover.

Previously, the company provided only its IntelliJ Rust plugin for Rust. Other plug-ins for Rust include Rust-analyzer and RLS. There are also text editors that support Rust, but this is the first dedicated Rust IDE.

IDEs typically include a code editor, debugger, compiler, and other features to help developers write, test and deploy software. A dedicated IDE is an important milestone in the maturity of a programming language, said Vitaly Bragilevsky, developer advocate for RustRover.

“From our point of view, that [plug-in] was enough but then we felt that something has changed in the ecosystem, in the community,” Bragilevsky told The New Stack. “The state of the community persuaded us that [we] really need it.”

One trend JetBrains noticed is that the Rust community is expanding: Bragilevsky said JetBrains’ research from mid-2022 found that 56% of the Rust developers surveyed had started using Rust in the prior six months. SlashData put the community at around 3.7 million developers in the State of the Developer Nation released in May 2023, which itself was a 68% year-over-year increase.

Many come to Rust from the JavaScript and Python communities, Bragilevsky added.

“Those folks may be a bit unhappy about their previous programming languages,” he said. “Maybe they don’t have enough performance, and they can get that performance with Rust. Sometimes they don’t have enough safety. And Rust provides that for sure. So they basically want to try something new, which gives more opportunities in what they need.”

Why a Dedicated IDE?

JetBrains takes an unusual approach in offering specialized IDEs that work with specific programming languages and technologies. For instance, it offers GoLand for Go, WebStorm for JavaScript, and RubyMine for Ruby. Zend is another example of a specialized IDE, in that case for PHP. However, although it is designed for Rust, the IDE can be used for other languages.

IDEs allow developers to work from one space, Bragilevsky explained. “You can work with databases in the same software — you can issue HTTP requests, for example. So you can do many things just besides writing the code; and the level of support for that writing also can be more powerful if you have an IDE, because text editors are usually limited in what they provide to their users.”

Frontend Support

Though Rust is primarily a backend language, RustRover also provides support for frontend technologies and databases. Specifically, that means developers can build a range of applications without the need for other tooling. For instance, it provides the ability to see what’s going on with a database from within the IDE to check.

For example, [web developers] implement web backends and Rust is becoming quite popular in this area,” Bragilevsky said. “You can just launch RustRover and then you can do some web development, like HTML. You can write styles for that page. You can do what you want. So it’s, once again, an integrated experience.”

Additional Features

The RustRover includes real-time feedback and debugging. It also includes permissive completion and parsing, which provides code suggestions when developers make errors. This is not a code-suggestion tool, like Copilot, but it does rely on algorithms to recommend code corrections if there is a mistake, Bragilevsky explained.

Among the additional features RustRover incorporates are:

  • Team collaboration;
  • Advanced unit testing integration, which allows developers to conduct testing, rerun failed tests, and resolve errors;
  • Rust toolchain support, including Rust compiler;
  • Full version control system integration, with built-in GitHub and Git support, with version control for teams.

There isn’t a public roadmap for RustRover and Bragilevsky would not comment on what future rollouts might include.

“When you develop an IDE, you never have a stopping point,” he said.”There are always features that should be implemented. And once you have a lot of features, developers usually want more.”

RustRover can run on Windows, Mac OS and Linux. It’s available for free while in early access program (EAP). While RustRover is available in the EAP, JetBrains will keep the plugin version compatible with IDEA Ultimate and CLion.

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