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Dealing with the Rust

Rust is a up-and-coming programming language, developed by the Mozilla Foundation, and is used in the Firefox rendering engine, as well as the Node Package Manager, amongst others. There is a lot to say about Rust; suffice it to say that it’s designed to be memory-safe, fast (think: C or better), it can compile to WebAssembly, and has been voted “most loved language” on StackOverflow in 2017 and 2018. As far as new-ish languages go, this is one to keep an eye on.

Rust comes with a fantastic package manager, Cargo, which, by default, uses crates (aka libraries) from crates.io, the central repository for Rust code. As part of my personal and professional attempt at grasping Rust (it has a bit of a learning curve), I wrote a tiny crate to access the API of MediaWiki installations. Right now, it can

  • run the usual API queries, and return the result as JSON (using the Rust serde_json crate)
  • optionally, continue queries for which there are more results available, and merge all the results into a single JSON result
  • log in your bot, and edit

This represents a bare-bones approach, but it would already be quite useful for simple command-line tools and bots. Because Rust compiles into stand-alone binaries, such tools are easy to run; no issues with Composer and PHP versions, node.js version/dependency hell, Python virtualenvs, etc.

The next functionality to implement might include OAuth logins, and a SPARQL query wrapper.

If you know Rust, and would like to play, the crate is called mediawiki, and the initial version is 0.1.0. The repository has two code examples to get you started. Ideas, improvements, and Pull Requests are always welcome!

Update: A basic SPARQL query functionality is now in the repo (not the crate – yet!)

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