I really, really loved this RustConf. Each of the talks was very different from the others, and they spanned the spectrum from “let’s review every line of code of this small program and discuss why each piece of syntax is important” to discussing high-level, even somewhat philosophical, concepts around the language, the community, and its history and future.
Right now is a very strange time for Rust. The language’s core set of features is done, and the team is moving on to higher-level concerns and polish points like implementing const generics (items that are generic over values rather than types) and improving support for async/await. Tons of interesting software is being written (or re-written, if you believe the memes) in Rust, from a new generation of command-line tools to highly correct game engines and web software to (ugh) blockchain.
At the same time, the recent Mozilla firings shook the community in a real way. Watching team members at the conference who recorded their talks or segments before being laid off was really jarring and quite sad. Rust is a beautiful thing in the sense that it opens up the domain of systems programming in a real way, and brings a lot of the power of algebraic types and high-performance personal computing to the mainstream, but it’s also a very fragile community because it’s still so small.
I hope that Rust moves forward into an era of stability, in terms of finances, contributions, features, and ecosystem. I think the existing community is doing a great job of that, and that this Rust Conf is a good example of its best properties. At the same time, the world is changing and nobody quite knows what comes next.