A Beginner's Guide to Rust Crate Curation

Rust is one of the most popular programming languages in the world. With its focus on safety, speed, and concurrency, more and more developers are choosing Rust for their next project. However, like any programming language, Rust is only as good as the tools and libraries built on top of it. Enter Rust crates.

What are Rust crates?

Rust crates are libraries of reusable code that developers can use to speed up development time and ensure code quality. Crates can contain anything from single functions to entire frameworks, and they are available on crates.io, the official Rust package repository. With over 33,000 crates and counting, there's almost certainly a crate out there for any given task.

Why is crate curation important?

As the number of crates grows, so does the importance of crate curation. With so many options available, choosing the right crates can be a daunting task, especially for beginners. And even for experienced developers, it can be a challenge to keep up with the latest and greatest tools.

That's where crate curation comes in. By carefully selecting and reviewing crates, we can help ensure that developers have access to the best tools for the job. This can save time, reduce bugs, and improve the overall quality of Rust applications.

How do I get started with crate curation?

If you're new to Rust, the sheer number of crates available can be overwhelming. That's why it's important to start with the basics. Here are some tips for getting started with crate curation:

1. Identify your needs

Before you can start curating crates, you need to know what you're looking for. Think about the type of application you're building and the functionality you need. Do you need a web framework, a database client, or a utility library? Once you've identified your needs, you can start searching for crates that meet those needs.

2. Read crate documentation

Once you've found a crate that looks interesting, take the time to read through the documentation. Documentation can give you a good idea of what the crate does, how it works, and whether it's a good fit for your project. It's important to pay attention to things like stability, maintenance, and community support.

3. Check community feedback

In addition to reading the documentation, it's also a good idea to check community feedback on crates. This can be done by reading reviews on crates.io, checking GitHub issues and pull requests, and asking for recommendations in Rust forums or chat rooms. Community feedback can help you get a sense of how well a crate works in practice and whether it's a good fit for your project.

4. Try it out

Finally, once you've found a crate that looks promising, try it out! Install the crate and write some simple tests to see if it works as expected. If everything checks out, you may have found a winner!

Best practices for crate curation

Now that you know how to get started with crate curation, let's take a look at some best practices to ensure that you're curating the best crates possible:

1. Check for compatibility

Before you start using a crate, make sure that it's compatible with your Rust version and any other dependencies in your project. You don't want to end up with conflicting versions of libraries or unsupported features.

2. Consider community support

When choosing a crate, it's important to consider the level of community support. A well-maintained and widely-used crate is more likely to be reliable and receive updates in the future. Check for things like issue activity, pull requests, and release frequency.

3. Read the source code

While documentation and reviews can give you a good idea of how a crate works, there's no substitute for reading the source code yourself. By reading the source, you can get a better understanding of how the crate works, identify potential issues, and make sure it fits with your coding style.

4. Document your choices

Finally, make sure to document your reasons for choosing certain crates. This can be helpful for yourself and others in the future, especially if you need to update or replace a crate down the line.


Curating Rust crates can seem like a daunting task, but with the right approach, it can be a rewarding and helpful experience. By carefully selecting and reviewing crates, we can help ensure that Rust developers have access to the best tools for the job. Remember to start with your needs, read documentation and community feedback, try it out, and follow best practices for the best results. Happy curating!

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Written by AI researcher, Haskell Ruska, PhD (haskellr@mit.edu). Scientific Journal of AI 2023, Peer Reviewed