1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Getting Started
  3. 3. Tutorial: Guessing Game
  4. 4. Syntax and Semantics
    1. 4.1. Variable Bindings
    2. 4.2. Functions
    3. 4.3. Primitive Types
    4. 4.4. Comments
    5. 4.5. if
    6. 4.6. Loops
    7. 4.7. Vectors
    8. 4.8. Ownership
    9. 4.9. References and Borrowing
    10. 4.10. Lifetimes
    11. 4.11. Mutability
    12. 4.12. Structs
    13. 4.13. Enums
    14. 4.14. Match
    15. 4.15. Patterns
    16. 4.16. Method Syntax
    17. 4.17. Strings
    18. 4.18. Generics
    19. 4.19. Traits
    20. 4.20. Drop
    21. 4.21. if let
    22. 4.22. Trait Objects
    23. 4.23. Closures
    24. 4.24. Universal Function Call Syntax
    25. 4.25. Crates and Modules
    26. 4.26. `const` and `static`
    27. 4.27. Attributes
    28. 4.28. `type` aliases
    29. 4.29. Casting between types
    30. 4.30. Associated Types
    31. 4.31. Unsized Types
    32. 4.32. Operators and Overloading
    33. 4.33. Deref coercions
    34. 4.34. Macros
    35. 4.35. Raw Pointers
    36. 4.36. `unsafe`
  5. 5. Effective Rust
    1. 5.1. The Stack and the Heap
    2. 5.2. Testing
    3. 5.3. Conditional Compilation
    4. 5.4. Documentation
    5. 5.5. Iterators
    6. 5.6. Concurrency
    7. 5.7. Error Handling
    8. 5.8. Choosing your Guarantees
    9. 5.9. FFI
    10. 5.10. Borrow and AsRef
    11. 5.11. Release Channels
    12. 5.12. Using Rust without the standard library
  6. 6. Nightly Rust
    1. 6.1. Compiler Plugins
    2. 6.2. Inline Assembly
    3. 6.3. No stdlib
    4. 6.4. Intrinsics
    5. 6.5. Lang items
    6. 6.6. Advanced linking
    7. 6.7. Benchmark Tests
    8. 6.8. Box Syntax and Patterns
    9. 6.9. Slice Patterns
    10. 6.10. Associated Constants
    11. 6.11. Custom Allocators
  7. 7. Glossary
  8. 8. Syntax Index
  9. 9. Bibliography

Enums

An enum in Rust is a type that represents data that is one of several possible variants. Each variant in the enum can optionally have data associated with it:

enum Message {
    Quit,
    ChangeColor(i32, i32, i32),
    Move { x: i32, y: i32 },
    Write(String),
}Run

The syntax for defining variants resembles the syntaxes used to define structs: you can have variants with no data (like unit-like structs), variants with named data, and variants with unnamed data (like tuple structs). Unlike separate struct definitions, however, an enum is a single type. A value of the enum can match any of the variants. For this reason, an enum is sometimes called a ‘sum type’: the set of possible values of the enum is the sum of the sets of possible values for each variant.

We use the :: syntax to use the name of each variant: they’re scoped by the name of the enum itself. This allows both of these to work:

let x: Message = Message::Move { x: 3, y: 4 };

enum BoardGameTurn {
    Move { squares: i32 },
    Pass,
}

let y: BoardGameTurn = BoardGameTurn::Move { squares: 1 };Run

Both variants are named Move, but since they’re scoped to the name of the enum, they can both be used without conflict.

A value of an enum type contains information about which variant it is, in addition to any data associated with that variant. This is sometimes referred to as a ‘tagged union’, since the data includes a ‘tag’ indicating what type it is. The compiler uses this information to enforce that you’re accessing the data in the enum safely. For instance, you can’t simply try to destructure a value as if it were one of the possible variants:

fn process_color_change(msg: Message) {
    let Message::ChangeColor(r, g, b) = msg; // compile-time error
}Run

Not supporting these operations may seem rather limiting, but it’s a limitation which we can overcome. There are two ways: by implementing equality ourselves, or by pattern matching variants with match expressions, which you’ll learn in the next section. We don’t know enough about Rust to implement equality yet, but we’ll find out in the traits section.

Constructors as functions

An enum constructor can also be used like a function. For example:

let m = Message::Write("Hello, world".to_string());Run

is the same as

fn foo(x: String) -> Message {
    Message::Write(x)
}

let x = foo("Hello, world".to_string());Run

This is not immediately useful to us, but when we get to closures, we’ll talk about passing functions as arguments to other functions. For example, with iterators, we can do this to convert a vector of Strings into a vector of Message::Writes:


let v = vec!["Hello".to_string(), "World".to_string()];

let v1: Vec<Message> = v.into_iter().map(Message::Write).collect();Run