Reserving syntax


  • any_prefix#.., any_prefix"..", and any_prefix'..' are reserved syntax, and no longer tokenize.
  • This is mostly relevant to macros. E.g. quote!{ #a#b } is no longer accepted.
  • It doesn't treat keywords specially, so e.g. match".." {} is no longer accepted.
  • Insert whitespace to avoid errors.


To make space for some new syntax in the future, we've decided to reserve syntax for prefixed identifiers and literals: prefix#identifier, prefix"string", prefix'c', and prefix#123, where prefix can be any identifier. (Except those that already have a meaning, such as b'…' and r"…".)

This is a breaking change, since macros can currently accept hello"world", which they will see as two separate tokens: hello and "world". The (automatic) fix is simple though. Just insert a space: hello "world".

Other than turning these into a tokenization error, the RFC does not attach a meaning to any prefix yet. Assigning meaning to specific prefixes is left to future proposals, which will—thanks to reserving these prefixes now—not be breaking changes.

These are some new prefixes you might see in the future:

  • f"" as a short-hand for a format string. For example, f"hello {name}" as a short-hand for the equivalent format_args!() invocation.

  • c"" or z"" for null-terminated C strings.

  • k#keyword to allow writing keywords that don't exist yet in the current edition. For example, while async is not a keyword in edition 2015, this prefix would've allowed us to accept k#async in edition 2015 without having to wait for edition 2018 to reserve async as a keyword.