I recently picked up an embedded project that I hadn't touched for a few months, so I could add some new features. I was disappointed to note that it no longer compiled - nothing in the code had changed, but it only compiles with Nightly Rust and that had recently had a bunch of changes that completely broke my build. This is then a tale about what I'd like to see from Rust in 2018.
I know there's been a lot of interest in WASM and other 'high level' applications, but Rust also lends itself very well to embedded development. I have a demonstration project for the Texas Instruments Stellaris Launchpad (now rebadged the Tiva-C Launchpad). This project comprises approximately three Assembler instructions (to bounce into the hardfault handler), and the rest is Rust - no C required! Exception handlers, setting the stack pointer and initialising the .data and .bss segments can all be done in pure Rust. Thanks to brilliant work by the likes of @japaric, with the Xargo cro…
I've had a few projects over the past few years using the TI Stellaris Launchpad. It's nothing particularly special - just a Cortex-M4 based LM4F120 MCU at up to 80 MHz with 256 KiB of Flash and 32 KiB of SRAM, an RGB LED and an on-board USB programmer - but it's pretty cheap and I've gotten to know it quite well.
The provided StellarisWare software was a 300 MiB installer, so I threw that out and wrote all of the drivers from scratch. I started out in C, and managed to get a simple car dashboard module working, using an LCD TFT with on-board framebuffer and 8-bit 6800/8080 bus interface (despite the chip not having such a bus - I cheated and used GPIO pins instead). My first attempt at Rust programming was the stellaris-launchpad crate. This has a few demos that either blink the LED or roll it through an RGB rainbow using the PWM timers. From this, I then decided to move the chip support package into a separate crate, in case anyone wanted to use the chip on a differe…
Over the past weeks, I've been working through Advent of Code. If you haven't seen it, it's basically a daily programming challenge - one a day for the 25 days running up to Christmas. Each challenge has two parts, and you get points for being in the first 100 people to submit a correct answer (usually a number, or a short string). There's nothing for coming 101st! The challenges open at 00:00 EST (so, 05:00 GMT) so if you want to have a crack at the leaderboard, it's a very early start. The best I've managed so far is about 162nd, but there's a few days left.
Most people tackle the problems in Python, and arguably that's a very good choice. It's a very expressive language, and as the winners produce short, dense code - it needs to be fast to type after all - the lack of static type checking isn't as much of a problem as it might be in a larger application.
I'm doing it in Rust, and it's been very educational.