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JetBrains is known for its dedicated Integrated Development Environments (IDEs). RustRover is their newest product aimed at the Rust programming language.

It supports Rust programming language and other technologies, including Cargo, Web, TOML, and database.

This feature-rich IDE is currently in public preview. Still, it will soon be released as a commercial IDE, where you can access all the tools required to manage your Rust projects, including a code editor, compiler, debugger, and tools for testing, debugging, & deploying.

So, why wait? Let’s explore RustRover in detail.

What is a Dedicated IDE, and Why Did JetBrains Create One?

Dedicated IDE offers features suited for specific languages. In this case, it is RustRover for Rust programming language. These differ from multi-language IDEs that support multiple programming languages—for example, Visual Studio Code.

JetBrains is known for creating dedicated IDEs. RustRover is their attempt at Rust programming language. There is no denying that Rust is becoming popular with each passing day. It is a high-level programming language that offers a robust model for bug-free programming.

So, what happens to already-existing Rust’s open-source plugin? According to the official blog post, it’ll continue to exist. So, if you’re using the plugin with CLion, you can continue to do so without the need to get the commercial RustRover IDE.

Also read: Best Resources to Learn Rust

RustRover: An Overview

RustRover is currently in EAP (Early Access Program), so anyone can download it and try it out. This section will cover how to install RustRover and its initial impressions.

Installing RustRover Preview

To install RustRover, you must first download the latest preview version from their site, RustRover: Rust IDE by JetBrains. Once downloaded, follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation. For Windows, it has a nifty installation wizard that’ll guide you.

During the installation, you can configure the installation according to your preference. It lets you Update the PATH variable, which is handy if you run Rust from the command line. It also enables you to create associations (.rs), update the context menu (Open Folder As Project), and create a desktop shortcut.

That’s it! Click Next, and wait a few minutes for the installation to complete.

Note: Before using it, you must accept the JetBrains Privacy Policy.

Clean Interface and Excellent Customization

RustRover comes with a clean interface with minimal yet meaningful options. From the main interface, you can create new projects, open existing ones, or get them from version control systems (VCS) such as Git, Mercurial, and Subversion.

The clean interface is JetBrains New UI that minimizes distractions and boosts productivity. The interface lets you focus more on the code while offering easy access to your tools. The New UI is also highly customizable.

You can also add accounts, including GitHub, GitHub Enterprise, and JetBrains Space.

You’ll also see a nifty side menu that offers many options. For instance, you get a list of the projects you’re working on. In addition, it has a dedicated area to access Remote Development (currently in Beta). 

You can access remote development options, including SSH, JetBrains Space, and WSL.

Apart from these, you also get the option to Customize Plugins and Learn. 

Here, we’re interested in the Customize option. Right now, RustRover has limited color themes out of the box (Advanced Settings lets you access more themes from Marketplace). You can set it to Dark mode or a similar color mode called Dracula.

If you like to sync everything together, you can use the “Sync with OS.” For example, if you’re using a light theme on your OS, it’ll change to the light color theme in Rust.

The accessibility options let you set font size or adjust colors for red-green vision deficiency. Lastly, you can also set keymap to your preference with options such as Windows, Emacs, Netbeans, Visual Studio Code, etc. This helps you to quickly get started with RustRover without the need to set it up from scratch.

RustRover’s Advanced Settings

Before you think RustRover has limited settings options, look at “All Settings.” It opens a range of options where you can personalize RustRover deeply. It offers more nuanced options that let you change its appearance and behavior.

The different things that you can do with Rust’s advanced settings include:

  • Turn UI options on/off to meet your preference
  • Enable/turn New UI on and off
  • Customize the menus and toolbars
  • Set file colors
  • Set scopes
  • Set notifications, quick lists, and path variables
  • Edit the keymap according to your preferences
  • Install themes directly from the Marketplace
  • Configure Version Control based on your project
  • Change build, execution, and deployment settings
  • Configure languages & frameworks

You also get access to tools that let you do easy third-party integrations. For example, you get Rsync, Code With Me, Terminal, Database, SSH Terminal, etc.

Furthermore, you can also set up Settings Sync, which lets you save all your settings to your JetBrains Account. These include backing up UI, System and Code Settings, Plugins, Keymaps, and Tools.

RustRover Key Features

In this section, we’ll look closely at RustRover’s key features.

#1. Write Code Faster

Writing Rust code requires a careful thought process. As Rust follows the ownership model, you must take extra care when writing your code. However, you can use RustRover to speed up things, thanks to its excellent features to write code faster. These features include:

  • Live templates
  • Code completion
  • Smart refactoring
  • On-the-fly quick-fixes and analysis
  • Code generation

These features go a long way when working on complex projects. For instance, you can code faster by adding details, such as imports and missing fields, or auto-complete relevant names across your code. 

RustRover also suggests quick fixes by applying a set of inspections to your code. These quick fixes are excellent ways to solve problems automatically.

#2. Syntax Highlighter, Code Search, and Navigation

Easily read and understand the code with excellent syntax highlighting features. The syntax highlighter lets you know the different sections of your code, such as variables, functions, blocks, types, macros, and so on. You also get complete type information with inlay hints, helping you to explore your code easily.

RustRover also offers seamless navigation across the codebase. You can do a code search with quick highlights.

#3. Fast Documentation Access

When you code Rust in RustRover, you get access to documentation, saving you much time. It also helps you understand your codebase better. This is handy, especially for a more extensive codebase where you must access documentation more frequently. 

#4. Plugins Marketplace

Modern IDEs offer an excellent marketplace. RustRover also comes with one where you can choose from thousands of plugins. These plugins add customizability functionality and offer integration options.

For example, if you want to work with Kubernetes directly from RustRover, you’ll need to install the Kubernetes plugin, or if you like Vim, you can make RustRover act like one by installing IdeaVim, which gives you access to the Vim engine.

#5. Excellent VCS Support/Team Collaboration

RustRover is made with team collaboration in mind. You can set up team collaboration with full support for VCS. Yes, you can connect Git/GitHub, Mercurial, and Subversion. Also, you can use Code With Me, a collaborative JetBrains feature that lets you work with teams in real-time. 

You can also share your project configuration to help others set up their project environment before they start collaborating.

#6. Project and Dependency Management

RustRover makes it easy to manage projects and their associated dependencies. It fully supports Cargo, Cargo.toml, and build scripts. 

You can also update versions directly from the IDE and have easy access to external tools for better project management. It also manages dependencies with easy access to documentation.

#7. Web Support

With RustRover, you can create web applications with Rust. You get access to HTTP Client, Docker, database, and other frontend technologies here. This makes it easy for you to set up your web project.

The HTTP Client lets you send HTTP requests and analyze the response. On the other hand, Docker enables you to manage your projects and their components easily. 

#8. Testing and Debugging

RustRover doesn’t require you to leave its environment, as it offers complete testing and debugging options. Here, you can do test runs with ease. Also, it lets you do profiling benchmarking while targeting different platforms.

To ease testing, you can also run configurations with full CLI app development support.

Conclusion — Is RustRover An Ideal Rust IDE?

RustRover is an excellent Rust IDE. Its public preview gives you a great idea of what it offers. So, it is the right time to test out RustRover before it goes commercial (the tentative date is Sep 2024). After that, RustRover will follow a subscription model, just like other JetBrains products. 

However, you can continue to use their open-source plugin that offers Rust support. It’ll now get deprecated, but they aim to focus more on the commercial RustRover release.

Next, check out the best Rust server hosting providers.

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  • Nitish Singh
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