Introduction Vectors and Hash Maps in Rust for Beginners

Introduction Vectors and Hash Maps in Rust for Beginners

It probably comes as no surprise that Rust implements the two most popular data structures in computing: Vectors and Hash Maps. You'll want to learn these and learn them well as you'll use them in most programs you build.

The Rust Programming Language - Understanding Loops in Rust

The Rust Programming Language - Understanding Loops in Rust

In this Rust programming language tutorial, we'll understanding Loops in Rust. Rust currently provides three approaches to performing some kind of iterative activity. They are: loop, while and for. The infinite loop is the simplest form of loop available in Rust. Rust also has a while loop. The for loop is used to loop a particular number of times

Rust currently provides three approaches to performing some kind of iterative activity. They are: loop, while and for. Each approach has its own set of uses.

loop

The infinite loop is the simplest form of loop available in Rust. Using the keyword loop, Rust provides a way to loop indefinitely until some terminating statement is reached. Rust's infinite loops look like this:

loop {
    println!("Loop forever!");
}

while

Rust also has a while loop. It looks like this:


# #![allow(unused_variables)]
#fn main() {
let mut x = 5; // mut x: i32
let mut done = false; // mut done: bool

while !done {
    x += x - 3;

    println!("{}", x);

    if x % 5 == 0 {
        done = true;
    }
}
#}

while loops are the correct choice when you’re not sure how many times you need to loop.

If you need an infinite loop, you may be tempted to write this:

while true {

However, loop is far better suited to handle this case:

loop {

Rust’s control-flow analysis treats this construct differently than a while true, since we know that it will always loop. In general, the more information we can give to the compiler, the better it can do with safety and code generation, so you should always prefer loop when you plan to loop infinitely.

for

The for loop is used to loop a particular number of times. Rust’s for loops work a bit differently than in other systems languages, however. Rust’s for loop doesn’t look like this “C-style” for loop:

for (x = 0; x < 10; x++) {
    printf( "%d\n", x );
}

Instead, it looks like this:


# #![allow(unused_variables)]
#fn main() {
for x in 0..10 {
    println!("{}", x); // x: i32
}
#}

In slightly more abstract terms,

for var in expression {
    code
}

The expression is an item that can be converted into an iterator using IntoIterator. The iterator gives back a series of elements, one element per iteration of the loop. That value is then bound to the name var, which is valid for the loop body. Once the body is over, the next value is fetched from the iterator, and we loop another time. When there are no more values, the for loop is over.

In our example, 0..10 is an expression that takes a start and an end position, and gives an iterator over those values. The upper bound is exclusive, though, so our loop will print 0 through 9, not 10.

Rust does not have the “C-style” for loop on purpose. Manually controlling each element of the loop is complicated and error prone, even for experienced C developers.

Enumerate

When you need to keep track of how many times you have already looped, you can use the .enumerate() function.

On ranges:


# #![allow(unused_variables)]
#fn main() {
for (index, value) in (5..10).enumerate() {
    println!("index = {} and value = {}", index, value);
}
#}

Outputs:

index = 0 and value = 5
index = 1 and value = 6
index = 2 and value = 7
index = 3 and value = 8
index = 4 and value = 9

Don't forget to add the parentheses around the range.

On iterators:


# #![allow(unused_variables)]
#fn main() {
let lines = "hello\nworld".lines();

for (linenumber, line) in lines.enumerate() {
    println!("{}: {}", linenumber, line);
}
#}

Outputs:

0: hello
1: world

Ending iteration early

Let’s take a look at that while loop we had earlier:


# #![allow(unused_variables)]
#fn main() {
let mut x = 5;
let mut done = false;

while !done {
    x += x - 3;

    println!("{}", x);

    if x % 5 == 0 {
        done = true;
    }
}
#}

We had to keep a dedicated mut boolean variable binding, done, to know when we should exit out of the loop. Rust has two keywords to help us with modifying iteration: break and continue.

In this case, we can write the loop in a better way with break:


# #![allow(unused_variables)]
#fn main() {
let mut x = 5;

loop {
    x += x - 3;

    println!("{}", x);

    if x % 5 == 0 { break; }
}
#}

We now loop forever with loop and use break to break out early. Issuing an explicit return statement will also serve to terminate the loop early.

continue is similar, but instead of ending the loop, it goes to the next iteration. This will only print the odd numbers:


# #![allow(unused_variables)]
#fn main() {
for x in 0..10 {
    if x % 2 == 0 { continue; }

    println!("{}", x);
}
#}
Loop labels

You may also encounter situations where you have nested loops and need to specify which one your break or continue statement is for. Like most other languages, Rust's break or continue apply to the innermost loop. In a situation where you would like to break or continue for one of the outer loops, you can use labels to specify which loop the break or continue statement applies to.

In the example below, we continue to the next iteration of outer loop when x is even, while we continue to the next iteration of inner loop when y is even. So it will execute the println! when both x and y are odd.


# #![allow(unused_variables)]
#fn main() {
'outer: for x in 0..10 {
    'inner: for y in 0..10 {
        if x % 2 == 0 { continue 'outer; } // Continues the loop over `x`.
        if y % 2 == 0 { continue 'inner; } // Continues the loop over `y`.
        println!("x: {}, y: {}", x, y);
    }
}
#}

The Rust Programming Language - Understanding If in Rust

The Rust Programming Language - Understanding If in Rust

The Rust Programming Language - Understanding If in Rust. Rust’s take on if is not particularly complex, but it’s much more like the if you’ll find in a dynamically typed language than in a more traditional systems language. if is a specific form of a more general concept, the ‘branch’, whose name comes from a branch in a tree: a decision point, where depending on a choice, multiple paths can be taken.

Rust’s take on if is not particularly complex, but it’s much more like the if you’ll find in a dynamically typed language than in a more traditional systems language. So let’s talk about it, to make sure you grasp the nuances.

if is a specific form of a more general concept, the ‘branch’, whose name comes from a branch in a tree: a decision point, where depending on a choice, multiple paths can be taken.

In the case of if, there is one choice that leads down two paths:


# #![allow(unused_variables)]
#fn main() {
let x = 5;

if x == 5 {
    println!("x is five!");
}
#}

If we changed the value of x to something else, this line would not print. More specifically, if the expression after the if evaluates to true, then the block is executed. If it’s false, then it is not.

If you want something to happen in the false case, use an else:


# #![allow(unused_variables)]
#fn main() {
let x = 5;

if x == 5 {
    println!("x is five!");
} else {
    println!("x is not five :(");
}
#}

If there is more than one case, use an else if:


# #![allow(unused_variables)]
#fn main() {
let x = 5;

if x == 5 {
    println!("x is five!");
} else if x == 6 {
    println!("x is six!");
} else {
    println!("x is not five or six :(");
}
#}

This is all pretty standard. However, you can also do this:


# #![allow(unused_variables)]
#fn main() {
let x = 5;

let y = if x == 5 {
    10
} else {
    15
}; // y: i32
#}

Which we can (and probably should) write like this:


# #![allow(unused_variables)]
#fn main() {
let x = 5;

let y = if x == 5 { 10 } else { 15 }; // y: i32
#}

This works because if is an expression. The value of the expression is the value of the last expression in whichever branch was chosen. An if without an else always results in () as the value.

The Rust Programming Language - Understanding Functions in Rust

The Rust Programming Language - Understanding Functions in Rust

The Rust Programming Language - Understanding Functions in Rust - Functions - Functions are the building blocks of readable, maintainable, and reusable code. Every Rust program has at least one function.

Every Rust program has at least one function, the main function:

fn main() {
}

This is the simplest possible function declaration. As we mentioned before, fn says ‘this is a function’, followed by the name, some parentheses because this function takes no arguments, and then some curly braces to indicate the body. Here’s a function named foo:


# #![allow(unused_variables)]
#fn main() {
fn foo() {
}
#}

So, what about taking arguments? Here’s a function that prints a number:


# #![allow(unused_variables)]
#fn main() {
fn print_number(x: i32) {
    println!("x is: {}", x);
}
#}

Here’s a complete program that uses print_number:

fn main() {
    print_number(5);
}

fn print_number(x: i32) {
    println!("x is: {}", x);
}

As you can see, function arguments work very similar to let declarations: you add a type to the argument name, after a colon.

Here’s a complete program that adds two numbers together and prints them:

fn main() {
    print_sum(5, 6);
}

fn print_sum(x: i32, y: i32) {
    println!("sum is: {}", x + y);
}

You separate arguments with a comma, both when you call the function, as well as when you declare it.

Unlike let, you must declare the types of function arguments. This does not work:

fn print_sum(x, y) {
    println!("sum is: {}", x + y);
}

You get this error:

expected one of `!`, `:`, or `@`, found `)`
fn print_sum(x, y) {

This is a deliberate design decision. While full-program inference is possible, languages which have it, like Haskell, often suggest that documenting your types explicitly is a best-practice. We agree that forcing functions to declare types while allowing for inference inside of function bodies is a wonderful sweet spot between full inference and no inference.

What about returning a value? Here’s a function that adds one to an integer:


# #![allow(unused_variables)]
#fn main() {
fn add_one(x: i32) -> i32 {
    x + 1
}
#}

Rust functions return exactly one value, and you declare the type after an ‘arrow’, which is a dash (-) followed by a greater-than sign (>). The last line of a function determines what it returns. You’ll note the lack of a semicolon here. If we added it in:

fn add_one(x: i32) -> i32 {
    x + 1;
}

We would get an error:

error: not all control paths return a value
fn add_one(x: i32) -> i32 {
     x + 1;
}

help: consider removing this semicolon:
     x + 1;
          ^

This reveals two interesting things about Rust: it is an expression-based language, and semicolons are different from semicolons in other ‘curly brace and semicolon’-based languages. These two things are related.

Expressions vs. Statements

Rust is primarily an expression-based language. There are only two kinds of statements, and everything else is an expression.

So what's the difference? Expressions return a value, and statements do not. That’s why we end up with ‘not all control paths return a value’ here: the statement x + 1; doesn’t return a value. There are two kinds of statements in Rust: ‘declaration statements’ and ‘expression statements’. Everything else is an expression. Let’s talk about declaration statements first.

In some languages, variable bindings can be written as expressions, not statements. Like Ruby:

x = y = 5

In Rust, however, using let to introduce a binding is not an expression. The following will produce a compile-time error:

let x = (let y = 5); // Expected identifier, found keyword `let`.

The compiler is telling us here that it was expecting to see the beginning of an expression, and a let can only begin a statement, not an expression.

Note that assigning to an already-bound variable (e.g. y = 5) is still an expression, although its value is not particularly useful. Unlike other languages where an assignment evaluates to the assigned value (e.g. 5 in the previous example), in Rust the value of an assignment is an empty tuple () because the assigned value can have only one owner, and any other returned value would be too surprising:


# #![allow(unused_variables)]
#fn main() {
let mut y = 5;

let x = (y = 6);  // `x` has the value `()`, not `6`.
#}

The second kind of statement in Rust is the expression statement. Its purpose is to turn any expression into a statement. In practical terms, Rust's grammar expects statements to follow other statements. This means that you use semicolons to separate expressions from each other. This means that Rust looks a lot like most other languages that require you to use semicolons at the end of every line, and you will see semicolons at the end of almost every line of Rust code you see.

What is this exception that makes us say "almost"? You saw it already, in this code:


# #![allow(unused_variables)]
#fn main() {
fn add_one(x: i32) -> i32 {
    x + 1
}
#}

Our function claims to return an i32, but with a semicolon, it would return () instead. Rust realizes this probably isn’t what we want, and suggests removing the semicolon in the error we saw before.

Early returns

But what about early returns? Rust does have a keyword for that, return:


# #![allow(unused_variables)]
#fn main() {
fn foo(x: i32) -> i32 {
    return x;

    // We never run this code!
    x + 1
}
#}

Using a return as the last line of a function works, but is considered poor style:


# #![allow(unused_variables)]
#fn main() {
fn foo(x: i32) -> i32 {
    return x + 1;
}
#}

The previous definition without return may look a bit strange if you haven’t worked in an expression-based language before, but it becomes intuitive over time.

Diverging functions

Rust has some special syntax for ‘diverging functions’, which are functions that do not return:


# #![allow(unused_variables)]
#fn main() {
fn diverges() -> ! {
    panic!("This function never returns!");
}
#}

panic! is a macro, similar to println!() that we’ve already seen. Unlike println!(), panic!() causes the current thread of execution to crash with the given message. Because this function will cause a crash, it will never return, and so it has the type ‘!’, which is read ‘diverges’.

If you add a main function that calls diverges() and run it, you’ll get some output that looks like this:

thread ‘main’ panicked at ‘This function never returns!’, hello.rs:2

If you want more information, you can get a backtrace by setting the RUST_BACKTRACE environment variable:

$ RUST_BACKTRACE=1 ./diverges
thread 'main' panicked at 'This function never returns!', hello.rs:2
Some details are omitted, run with `RUST_BACKTRACE=full` for a verbose backtrace.
stack backtrace:
  hello::diverges
        at ./hello.rs:2
  hello::main
        at ./hello.rs:6

If you want the complete backtrace and filenames:

$ RUST_BACKTRACE=full ./diverges
thread 'main' panicked at 'This function never returns!', hello.rs:2
stack backtrace:
   1:     0x7f402773a829 - sys::backtrace::write::h0942de78b6c02817K8r
   2:     0x7f402773d7fc - panicking::on_panic::h3f23f9d0b5f4c91bu9w
   3:     0x7f402773960e - rt::unwind::begin_unwind_inner::h2844b8c5e81e79558Bw
   4:     0x7f4027738893 - rt::unwind::begin_unwind::h4375279447423903650
   5:     0x7f4027738809 - diverges::h2266b4c4b850236beaa
   6:     0x7f40277389e5 - main::h19bb1149c2f00ecfBaa
   7:     0x7f402773f514 - rt::unwind::try::try_fn::h13186883479104382231
   8:     0x7f402773d1d8 - __rust_try
   9:     0x7f402773f201 - rt::lang_start::ha172a3ce74bb453aK5w
  10:     0x7f4027738a19 - main
  11:     0x7f402694ab44 - __libc_start_main
  12:     0x7f40277386c8 - <unknown>
  13:                0x0 - <unknown>

If you need to override an already set RUST_BACKTRACE, in cases when you cannot just unset the variable, then set it to 0 to avoid getting a backtrace. Any other value (even no value at all) turns on backtrace.

$ export RUST_BACKTRACE=1
...
$ RUST_BACKTRACE=0 ./diverges 
thread 'main' panicked at 'This function never returns!', hello.rs:2
note: Run with `RUST_BACKTRACE=1` for a backtrace.

RUST_BACKTRACE also works with Cargo’s run command:

$ RUST_BACKTRACE=full cargo run
     Running `target/debug/diverges`
thread 'main' panicked at 'This function never returns!', hello.rs:2
stack backtrace:
   1:     0x7f402773a829 - sys::backtrace::write::h0942de78b6c02817K8r
   2:     0x7f402773d7fc - panicking::on_panic::h3f23f9d0b5f4c91bu9w
   3:     0x7f402773960e - rt::unwind::begin_unwind_inner::h2844b8c5e81e79558Bw
   4:     0x7f4027738893 - rt::unwind::begin_unwind::h4375279447423903650
   5:     0x7f4027738809 - diverges::h2266b4c4b850236beaa
   6:     0x7f40277389e5 - main::h19bb1149c2f00ecfBaa
   7:     0x7f402773f514 - rt::unwind::try::try_fn::h13186883479104382231
   8:     0x7f402773d1d8 - __rust_try
   9:     0x7f402773f201 - rt::lang_start::ha172a3ce74bb453aK5w
  10:     0x7f4027738a19 - main
  11:     0x7f402694ab44 - __libc_start_main
  12:     0x7f40277386c8 - <unknown>
  13:                0x0 - <unknown>

A diverging function can be used as any type:


# #![allow(unused_variables)]
#fn main() {
# fn diverges() -> ! {
#    panic!("This function never returns!");
# }
let x: i32 = diverges();
let x: String = diverges();
#}
Function pointers

We can also create variable bindings which point to functions:


# #![allow(unused_variables)]
#fn main() {
let f: fn(i32) -> i32;
#}

f is a variable binding which points to a function that takes an i32 as an argument and returns an i32. For example:


# #![allow(unused_variables)]
#fn main() {
fn plus_one(i: i32) -> i32 {
    i + 1
}

// Without type inference:
let f: fn(i32) -> i32 = plus_one;

// With type inference:
let f = plus_one;
#}

We can then use f to call the function:


# #![allow(unused_variables)]
#fn main() {
# fn plus_one(i: i32) -> i32 { i + 1 }
# let f = plus_one;
let six = f(5);
#}