Chapter 1 - Introduction

This book is available for free online at You can find the source code for book in ./rust4data-book This book is very early, so expect code to change quite a bit.

Feel free to open an issue with any bugs, mistakes, or requests you may have.

What is this book about?

This series of posts is about using Rust for data engineering tasks for people who are already familiar with Python and are curious about Rust. It will not cover every aspect of Rust, or of Python. Instead, it aims to give practical examples of how common engineering tasks done in Python might be done in Rust, along with representative benchmarks.

We will cover a variety of topics, including:

  • Getting data from an API
  • Scraping a website
  • Parsing data and using structs
  • Data Transformation
  • Writing Data
  • Other topics as I feel like it

This book is not an introduction to either Rust or Python. There are many great resources to both out there. If you are not familiar with Python, the official Python Tutorial is a great starting point.

Should I use Rust for Data Engineering?

Probably not. Rust is a great language, it is fun, it is pleasant to use, and it is fast. But choosing a language for a project is more than choosing a language that is fun. There are cautionary tales about using Rust at a startup, and I think they are worth reading.

There are many reasons why you might not want to use Rust for data engineering. The first is that Rust is not as mature as Python. There are many libraries that are missing. For example, as of this writing, there are no Snowflake libraries for querying data in that warehouse. Most people do not know Rust, and it is harder to hire and harder to train people.

There may be good reasons to use Rust for data engineering however. When it comes to cost and performance, Rust is clearly faster than Python for many types of tasks. Memory usage is also much lower, which can be important when you are constrained by small IoT devices, for example.

I can't tell you when to use Rust and when to use Python, but I do believe that by understanding both languages, their merits and pitfalls, you will be better positioned to make that decision for yourself.

Why Should I Learn Rust?

Because it is fun to learn new things. I can't promise you that anything you learn here will ever have a material impact on your life or career. But if you enjoy learning and tinkering, then you might want to tinker with this. If you are like me, and you like learning for learning's sake, then you will enjoy this experience too. I learned vim and lua not because it was useful, but because I was curious about it. I did end up benfiting from it, but I never approached it from a purely utilitarian perspective. There are better ways to spend your time if your goal is purely career advancement.

But, if you are curious about Rust, and if you like to have fun, then I think you will be pleasantly surprised by what Rust has to offer.