Article written by Amy Niessen with contributions from Ciara Rowland-Simms
On Wednesday, May 15th the Cardiff R&D Center co-hosted a Rust and C++ birthday party at Yolk Recruitment to celebrate Rust's 4th Birthday! Despite short notice, we were able to get the word out in time for a nice mixture of full-time freelance and hobbyist programmers as well as a few students to join us. Quite a few people expressed interest in helping out with future events while demonstrating a lot of enthusiasm for a Rust/C++ community in Cardiff!
To begin, you can't have a party without cake, and to celebrate the birthday properly, you can see the cake and Ferris the crab, which was made from icing by Jack Kelly's partner, Sofia.
We then began to introduce our speakers. We had Dan Morgan from DevOpsGroup, Ciara Rowland-Simms from Esri, Chris Light from Esri, and Jack Kelly from DevOpsGroup, with Chris doubling as MC for the event.
The first two talks were about learning new languages, specifically Rust and C++.
Dan had never done C++ before until that week and spoke on the confusion you face when trying to find best practices and up to date learning materials online. His talk will be part of series documenting his journey into C++, driven by advice from the audience about what resources to use next!
Ciara did a talk on learning Rust, having also never used the language. By contrast, there is very coherent documentation story for Rust as it is a very modern language. The learning experience was therefore comparatively painless and she was able to cover install and setup, including debugging, along with discussing some cool and some controversial Rust language features (such as the heavy use of macros, the ability to do shadowing of variables, and implicit returns).
Chris’s talk was Modern C++: ACCU 2019 revelations and covered some of the cool new features of C++ 20. He also discussed C++ 17 and more broadly the modernization of the language. The talk provoked some really good discussion on some of the network capabilities that are lacking in the standard library and provided a great space for talking about where the language is moving.
The final talk was a dive in Rust best practices, helpful tips, formatting and linting tools, and how easy CI/CD can be with Rust. He really highlighted why people are so excited about Rust and how easily it can leveraged to hit the ground running even with only limited experience in the language.
In the end, we had some specific language questions, which is always good. It seemed there were a lot of really good discussions taking place during the event and, of course, people already sharing excitement in the anticipation of future meetups.
Going forward, we also hope to bring in more speakers – which hopefully won’t be difficult given the enthusiasm from audience members at our first event! We really liked having talks which were a mixture of beginner accessible and provoking good discussion for more experienced developers. We struck that balance pretty well this time and hope to do so again in future meetups.
Overall, we were really pleased with how the event went and are really excited to see the beginning of a Cardiff C++/Rust community where we can all learn from each other and grow! We look forward to the next meetup and will be sure to announce it on the Meetup.com page. Be sure to follow it to stay in the loop on our next adventure!