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Lua vs Rust | Popularity, Salary, Performance, Features, and Applications
If you want to work on games, web applications, embedded systems, desktop applications, or graphic software, you should learn Lua over Rust.
Lua is a powerful, efficient, lightweight, embeddable scripting language. Lua is intended to be embedded into other applications.
It supports procedural programming, object-oriented programming, functional programming, data-driven programming, and data description.
On the other hand, if you are interested in building command line tools, network services, embedded systems, webAssembly, or systems programming, you should learn Rust over Lua
Rust is a general-purpose, multi-paradigm programming language that emphasizes performance, type safety, and concurrency.
Comparing programming languages and choosing which one to learn or use for your next project can be tricky.
There are many factors to consider in order to choose the right programming language for the job you want to do.
Popularity, opportunities, type of projects, salaries, resources, learning curve, etc. are some of the factors that many people consider when comparing programming languages and choosing which one to learn or use.
Here are some of the comparisons and considerations you should make when choosing to learn a new programming language.
LUA VS RUST POPULARITY
Comparing the popularity of programming languages is not an easy task because each programming language is different.
Although the usage of many programming languages may intersect, different fields and projects may require the use of different programming languages.
Plus, other programming languages have been around for a longer time than others, giving them more time to be tried and tested, so, bear that in mind.
If you want to learn a programming language solely for its popularity among developers, you should learn Rust over Lua.
Generally, Rust is more popular than Lua. As of July 2023, the TIOBE INDEX ranks Rust as the 17th most popular programming language while Lua is ranked as the 31st most popular programming language.
According to a Stack Overflow survey of 2023, Rust is the 14th most commonly used programming language, it is used by 13.05% of developers.
On the other hand, Lua is the 17th most commonly used programming language, it is used by 6.09% of developers according to the same survey.
Further, Rust has been the most loved programming language for seven years straight. As of 2022, Rust was loved by 86.73% of developers versus 13.27% of developers who dreaded it.
In 2023, Rust is the most admired programming language. It is admired by 84.66% of developers. On the other hand, Lua is admired by 47.98% of developers.
Ultimately, if your choice of which programming language to learn depends on popularity, you should learn Rust over Lua.
Also read, Can Rust be used for Game Development?
LUA VS RUST SALARY
Another popular criterion that many people use to compare programming languages and as an incentive to learn a new programming language is salary.
Salaries for developers differ from one company to the other and from one country to the other.
Experience is another factor that comes into play as far as salaries are concerned.
The more experience you have with a certain technology or programming language, the more likely you are of getting a higher salary.
Generally, Rust developers get higher salaries than Lua developers. The 2023 Stack Overflow survey of top-paying programming languages revealed that Rust developers get a median salary of $87,012 per year.
On the other hand, Lua developers get a median salary of $80,690 per year, about $6,300 less than Rust developers.
So, if the salary is your major incentive for learning a programming language, you should learn Rust over Lua, because you are more likely to get a higher salary as a Rust developer than as a Lua developer.
IS LUA EASIER THAN RUST
Yes, Lua is generally easier to learn than Rust. Lua has fewer rules and comes with only 21 Keywords. It is also easy to maintain a Lua codebase even when the project is huge.
Many developers point “Fast learning curve” as the leading cause for choosing and learning Lua.
On the other hand, Rust has a steeper learning curve compared to Lua due to its focus on low-level programming concepts.
Rust can be quite challenging, especially for complete beginners. Some Rust concepts like ownership and borrowing add a little bit of complexity to the language.
But if you are familiar with systems programming, you will find Rust very easy and straightforward.
Especially when you are targeting low-resource devices, Rust will give you low-level control without giving up high-level conveniences, this makes it a little bit easy to work on systems.
The good news is that there are plenty of helpful resources for both Lua and Rust to help you learn the languages.
The Lua and Rust communities are very active and helpful, in case you get stuck with something.
Also read, Best Languages for Game Development
LUA VS RUST PERFORMANCE
IS LUA FASTER THAN RUST
No, Rust is generally faster than Lua. If you plan on working on applications where top-notch performance is critical, you should learn Rust over Lua.
Rust is known for its emphasis on performance and control over system resources.
It provides fine-grained control over memory management, and its ownership system enforces strict rules that prevent common bugs like null pointer dereferences and data races.
Rust’s zero-cost abstractions allow you to write high-level code without sacrificing performance. It also provides advanced features for concurrent programming.
As a result, Rust is often chosen for systems programming, networking, embedded systems, and other performance-critical applications.
One of the best features of Rust is how it handles memory.
While developers have to manually handle memory management in languages like C++ or use a garbage collector with languages like Lua, Go, Java, Scala, Kotlin, etc. Rust takes a unique approach;
Developers can still handle memory without shooting themselves in the foot with a concept of ownership and borrowing. This makes it easy and quick to build reliable and efficient software.
Since Rust does not perform garbage collection, it is often faster than other memory-safe languages like Lua.
Lua is also very fast and performant, the designers of Lua focused on improving its speed, portability, extensibility, and ease of use in development.
When Lua is used with its just-in-time compiler, it is widely regarded as one of the fastest scripting languages in the world.
Another great advantage of Lua is that you can run Lua code in a C program or run C code in a Lua program using a simple Lua C API.
This makes it easy to embed high-performance C code in Lua programs and other applications.
LUA VS RUST FEATURES AND APPLICATIONS
Rust has great unique features that make it suitable for building command line tools, network services, embedded systems, and more. One of the best features of Rust is how it handles memory.
Rust can power performance-critical services, run on embedded devices, and easily integrate with other languages.
Rust can interface with other programming languages such as C and C++, it has a foreign function interface that can be used to call code written in C from Rust and to call Rust code from C.
Rust also has a library called CXX that can be used to call C++ code from Rust and to call Rust Code from C++.
There are many companies using Rust, some of the popular ones include Dropbox, Firefox, Cloudflare, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Discord, Mozilla, NPM, etc.
In general, Lua strives to provide simple, flexible meta-features that can be extended as needed.
Lua is also distributed in a small package and builds out-of-the-box on all platforms that have a standard C compiler.
Lua is used by many companies such as Adobe, Redis, Venmo, Lost Mable LLC, Aerospike, Wikipedia, Shopify, Close, Thumbtack, Roblox, Tokopedia, Unacademy, and many others.
SHOULD I LEARN LUA OR RUST
Once you have compared the languages and evaluated all the factors, you can choose which programming language to learn or use depending on the factors that are on your side and what you want to build.
If you want an easy-to-learn language that you can use to work on games, web applications, desktop applications, embedded systems, graphics software, and earn a higher salary, you should learn Lua over Rust.
If you are interested in a popular, high-performance language that can help you in developing systems quickly, working on command line tools, network services, embedded systems, and webAssembly, you should learn Rust over Lua.