The Web of Rust
The embedded development world often faces the challenge of incompatible dependencies. Rust, with its focus on abstraction, offers a solution with the embedded-hal library. This library acts as a web of compatible peripherals, HALs, and drivers, allowing for code that is fundamentally cross-platform. The flexibility this provides allows embedded software to be truly portable, independent of the underlying hardware.
Despite Rust’s many advantages, there are still hurdles to overcome for widespread adoption in embedded development. One such challenge is vendor support, as most chip vendors traditionally focus on C and C++ development. However, open-source community-driven efforts are gaining momentum, with vendors like Infineon and Espressif starting to provide support for Rust.
Another challenge is chip support, particularly for newer microcontrollers. The Rust embedded ecosystem varies in completeness and availability of support for different chips. Contributing to HALs and drivers may require effort, but the growing community and design patterns within Rust make it more accessible than ever.
The Chicken-and-Egg Problem
A significant obstacle to Rust’s mainstream adoption in embedded development is the chicken-and-egg problem. Companies hesitate to invest in Rust due to the perceived scarcity of skilled Rust developers, leading to a lack of demand for Rust skills. Breaking this cycle requires efforts to introduce Rust as a language and training programs for Rust in embedded software development.
As we venture further into 2023, Rust for embedded software has evolved from an exciting prospect to a reliable and compelling choice. With its strong memory safety, a rich toolbox of tools, expressive type system, and cross-platform capabilities, Rust is primed to revolutionize embedded development. While challenges like vendor support and chip compatibility exist, the growing Rust community and dedicated efforts can overcome these obstacles. If you’re seeking high-quality, reliable, and maintainable embedded software, Rust may be the language for you. Embrace the future of embedded development with Rust!