Rust is a powerful programming language known for its speed, reliability, and memory safety.

It’s the darling of developers building critical infrastructure like operating systems and embedded systems. But can Rust also be used to build user interfaces (UIs)?

Taming the UI Beast: How Rust is Conquering User Interfaces

Rust, with its robust memory management and blazing-fast performance, has become a darling of developers building critical infrastructure like operating systems and embedded systems. But can this champion of system programming also conquer the realm of user interfaces (UI)?

While Rust shines in core functionalities, its unique approach to programming presents challenges for UI development. Unlike traditional languages with object-oriented inheritance, Rust’s trait system, while powerful, lacks data storage capabilities.

This makes it difficult to organize UI components in a neat hierarchical structure, a hallmark of efficient UI frameworks like React in JavaScript. Additionally, Rust’s focus on immutability can complicate event handling and state management, which are crucial aspects of UI development.

What Makes UI Programming (Usually) Works

In traditional UI programming, frameworks like React in JavaScript utilize hierarchical component structures to manage user interfaces efficiently. Components inherit properties and functionalities from base classes, enabling easy navigation through the UI tree and streamlined event handling. This hierarchical approach promotes code reusability and maintainability, making UI development more efficient.

How Rust Makes This Hard

Despite its strengths, Rust presents challenges for UI development due to its unconventional approach to programming. Traits, while powerful for defining functionality, lack built-in storage for UI state, making it difficult to organize components in a traditional hierarchical manner. Furthermore, Rust’s focus on immutability adds another layer of complexity to event handling and state management, which often rely on mutable data in UI frameworks.

Attempting UI Design with Rust

Efforts to build UIs in Rust often encounter hurdles due to these language-specific challenges. Traditional approaches used in other languages do not seamlessly translate to Rust, leading to frustration and inefficiencies in UI development.

How We Are Tackling Rust with UI

To address these challenges, alternative architectures like the ELM architecture and entity-component structure have emerged in the Rust community. These approaches offer different paradigms for UI development, leveraging Rust’s strengths while circumventing its limitations.

ELM Architecture

The ELM architecture, with its model-view-update pattern, provides a functional and immutable approach to UI programming, aligning well with Rust’s principles. By separating concerns and leveraging Rust’s enums for pattern matching, the ELM architecture offers a compelling solution for building UIs in Rust.

Entity Component Structure

Another approach gaining traction is the entity-component system, which decouples UI components from their state and behavior. This architecture simplifies UI development by centralizing state management and enabling efficient rendering.Components are treated as entities, and their behavior is defined by attaching reusable components.

How We Are Building UI

In our endeavors at tackling UI development in Rust, we have experimented with various approaches, including the ELM architecture and entity-component structure. By leveraging Rust’s unique features and exploring alternative paradigms, we aim to create robust and efficient UI experiences.


In summary, Rust’s strengths in memory safety, thread safety, and performance are undeniable, yet its unconventional features can pose challenges for GUI development, especially when compared to languages with more traditional object-oriented programming features.

However, with thoughtful design and by leveraging Rust’s unique capabilities, it is entirely feasible to develop stable and efficient GUI applications in Rust. With dedication and innovation, Rust developers can overcome the hurdles and unlock the full potential of this powerful language for GUI development.