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How to write Rust instead of C, and get away with it (yes, it's a Python talk)


Have you ever tried optimizing a super-slow Python application and thought: “Oh! I wish I could just write this bit it in Rust”? Well, turns out you can! We will show you how Rust is a better alternative than C to make your programs lightning fast, and how to get away with it; without your users even noticing.

As Infrastructure Engineers at Yelp, the challenge we face everyday is: scale. Yelp is mostly a Python shop and while this is great for development velocity, our work often revolves around making Python applications run faster. Until now, we have been using different techniques: faster interpreters, or, more often, C code.

Given its safety guarantees, performance and promise of better tooling than C, we decided we had to give Rust a try. The initial results helped reinforce that there was a lot of opportunity for Rust to play an important role in our production code.

Yelp heavily relies on the Apache Avro ( serialization format for its internal infrastructure. During the talk, we will show how we implemented an Avro serialization/deserialization library in Rust, how we were able to call it from Python (and in theory from any other language) with very little code, using tools such as cbindgen (, CFFI ( and Milksnake (

This talk would outline how easy it is to write performant code in a language like Rust and call it from Python applications without users even realizing it, making this a great solution for production services.


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