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16 October 2012, 12:42

Rust 0.4 stabilises language syntax

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The latest version of the Rust language and compiler focuses on stabilising the language syntax; this brings with it the removal of argument modes and the full integration of borrowed pointers. Rust 0.4 is the latest release of the language which was first announced in 2010 and designed to be a safety-conscious alternative to languages such as C and C++. Although its syntax looks similar to those languages, it is semantically different. The language was designed by Graydon Hoare as a personal project, with Mozilla becoming involved later on.

Rust's old method of using type-directed heuristics to select a default argument passing behaviour was deemed too confusing by the developers and has been removed. As first-class borrowed pointers have matured they have replaced the old argument mode system, but while this is now deprecated and not visible to users by default, it is still supported by using the #[legace_modes]crate attribute. The developers have not said how long this support will be available, though.

The developers have also improved the language's error reporting and the addition of preliminary JIT support and precise garbage collection hint at the future direction of the project. Other changes to Rust 0.4 include a new convention that requires types to be formatted in camel case, structs have replaced classes and the developers have also narrowed down the list of reserved keywords to a "close to final" version. A detailed list with all changes to the language for this release is available on the Rust wiki.

Rust 0.4 is available as both source codeDirect download and an installer for Windows systemsDirect download. The developers point out, however, that installing Rust 0.4 over 0.3 is not supported and the older version has to be uninstalled first. For a general overview on the language, a look at the getting started page in the Rust documentation is recommended.


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