Entries tagged - "design"

Revisiting a 'smaller Rust'

A bit over a year ago, I wrote some notes on a “smaller Rust” - a higher level language that would take inspiration from some of Rust’s type system innovations, but would be simpler by virtue of targeting a domain with less stringent requirements for user control and performance. During my time of unemployment this year, I worked on sketching out what a language like that would look like in a bit more detail. I wanted to write a bit about what new conclusions I’ve come to during that time.

The problem of effects in Rust

In a previous post, I shortly discussed the concept of “effects” and the parallels between them. In an unrelated post since then, Yosh Wuyts writes about the problem of trying to write fallible code inside of an iterator adapter that doesn’t support it. In a previous discussion, the users of the Rust Internals forum hotly discuss the notion of closures which would maintain the so-called “Tennant’s Correspondence Principle” - that is, closures which support breaking to scopes outside of the closure, inside of the function they are in (you can think of this is closures capturing their control flow environment in addition to capturing variables).

I think it may not be obvious, but these discussions are all deeply related. They all arise from what is, in my opinion, one of the biggest problems with the design of the Rust language: its failure at 1.0 to give good support for handling common effects related to program control flow.

Notes on a smaller Rust

Many people who use Rust for a bit - especially those who like the language but do not fall in love with it - feel a sense that there must be a smaller, simpler variation on the same theme which would maybe be a little less powerful, but would also be much easier to use. I agree with them, but I think they are almost always wrong about what would need to change. Here are some notes on where I would start to create that smaller Rust.