I am working on a talk about This Week in Rust for RustConf. I'll be going over the history of the newsletter, trends we've seen as the project has evolved, and more. I'd love to hear more from my fellow Rustaceans about what the newsletter means to you.
What have you learned? How did it help you? What do you feel when you see it show up in your inbox (or feed) every week? What do you look forward to about it?
And, for those of you who have had blog posts, tutorials, videos, etc. featured in This Week in Rust, how did it feel? How did it help you and your experience with the Rust community?
And, finally, what do you think This Week in Rust means to the Rust community? I have my own thoughts on this, but REALLY want to hear other perspectives!
I'm so glad to see this question here, because This Week in Rust means a lot to me. I can't remember how exactly I became aware of Rust, but I started playing with it by late 2016 or so, post 1.0. I really dived in by early 2017. After I got the basics via the book and playing around, This Week in Rust was my main source of learning and keeping up for quite some time.
In the beginning, the articles and blog posts were the most important, for seeing new patterns and examples, and just learning about Rust generally. As I started making my own non-toy programs and running into things I wished I could do, the RFC/FCP section grew in importance -- I started tracking issues that I eagerly awaited. Some of those have been realized, and others are still pending!
I managed to stay intrigued through my "fighting the borrow checker"/"why won't it let me do this, it's obviously okay" stage. It was at this point I started looking at all the curated Rust Core update links. This helped me learn more in-depth things along the way -- PRs that involved niche use-cases or complicated scenarios I hadn't considered, keeping up with new features added to the standard library types, and so on. But perhaps more importantly, I became familiar with many key Rust developers and their roles, and started following their blogs and so on. Finding Niko's blog was a huge boon, for example. It also gave me more perspective on just how impressive some aspects of rustc are, like the amazing error reporting. Those areas of the compiler which require a lot of effort and upkeep, but don't necessarily get highlighted in the release notes. Shout-outs to Esteban Kuber for his extensive work in that area! There are so many other members of the community deserving thanks as well, but I'll resist making this a long list of names.
Now I feel my grounding is solid, and this forum is my main interaction with the community. But I still look forward to This Week in Rust every week. While I no longer click on every blog post or other link, I want to thank you in particular for:
Consolidating blog posts and large project updates into one convenient place
The RFC/FCP updates, which give timely-enough heads-up to those who care about the development of Rust but aren't active contributors and don't hit F5 on https://rfcbot.rs/ every day
The curated list of Rust Core updates, which keeps me up-to-date on API additions and occasionally nerd-snipes me (in an enjoyable way) to this day
Expanding on the bullet points above...
I think the RFC and FCP notices are quite crucial to keeping Rust a community driven project. Many people care about Rust and it's future, but few can devote the time and resources to being active contributors and tracking every development. A reliable way of staying aware of the major decisions and sea changes is very valuable.
For those who want to keep on top of more incremental improvements and other changes, the core updates are also very useful -- a more expansive and more frequent version of the release notes, if you will, and you get to know what's coming before it stabilizes. You also get a feel for which big projects are active and making progress. I'm not going to keep on top of every PR myself, so a list of highlights is great for keeping informed.
I think the blog and update sections are great for those in the eagerly-learning stage of their Rust development in particular -- it certainly was for me. And although I don't read every post these days, I still do find the occasional gem or thought-provoker I've missed through other channels.
Thanks again to you and all the others, I truly do appreciate the effort.
Along with everything mentioned above, I also love that TWiR is a place that gives public recognition to contributions that might otherwise go unnoticed (things like internal refactorings or minor fixes that don’t make it into the release notes). As a contributor, it feels good when the newsletter mentions something I did, and as a user, I like seeng all the work that other people are contributing.
This Week in Rust is the only newsletter format I subscribe to, and I genuinely look forward to the new week's arrival in my inbox.
As the language itself is new and evolving, I find the relevance of fresh tutorial material, blogs and other articles to be high, and I do not have a library of learning materials established over decades on which to lean. Keeping an eye on the hot sheet allows me to stay abreast of the latest trends. Unlike @quinedot, the RFCs are over my head... but I always scroll to the bottom to read the quote of the week!
To all the those putting in the effort, please keep up the good work. I, for one, appreciate it.
TWiR is something I look forward to every week, and which I miss when it’s delayed. I too spend most of my time with updates from Rust core and the RFC/FCP section. These are a great way to keep up with what’s going on, and pretty scalable. I also really like the Jobs section as a way to advertise open positions.
Maybe it would be nice to also put a very short quantitative questionnaire in there one or two weeks, to try and get a sense of how many readers there are?