Generic parameters

Syntax
GenericParams :
      < >
   | < (GenericParam ,)* GenericParam ,? >

GenericParam :
   OuterAttribute* ( LifetimeParam | TypeParam | ConstParam )

LifetimeParam :
   LIFETIME_OR_LABEL ( : LifetimeBounds )?

TypeParam :
   IDENTIFIER( : TypeParamBounds? )? ( = Type )?

ConstParam:
   const IDENTIFIER : Type

Functions, type aliases, structs, enumerations, unions, traits, and implementations may be parameterized by types, constants, and lifetimes. These parameters are listed in angle brackets (<...>), usually immediately after the name of the item and before its definition. For implementations, which don't have a name, they come directly after impl. The order of generic parameters is restricted to lifetime parameters, then type parameters, and then const parameters.

Some examples of items with type, const, and lifetime parameters:


#![allow(unused)]
fn main() {
fn foo<'a, T>() {}
trait A<U> {}
struct Ref<'a, T> where T: 'a { r: &'a T }
struct InnerArray<T, const N: usize>([T; N]);
}

Generic parameters are in scope within the item definition where they are declared. They are not in scope for items declared within the body of a function as described in item declarations.

References, raw pointers, arrays, slices, tuples, and function pointers have lifetime or type parameters as well, but are not referred to with path syntax.

Const generics

Const generic parameters allow items to be generic over constant values. The const identifier introduces a name for the constant parameter, and all instances of the item must be instantiated with a value of the given type.

The only allowed types of const parameters are u8, u16, u32, u64, u128, usize i8, i16, i32, i64, i128, isize, char and bool.

Const parameters can be used anywhere a const item can be used, with the exception that when used in a type or array repeat expression, it must be standalone (as described below). That is, they are allowed in the following places:

  1. As an applied const to any type which forms a part of the signature of the item in question.
  2. As part of a const expression used to define an associated const, or as a parameter to an associated type.
  3. As a value in any runtime expression in the body of any functions in the item.
  4. As a parameter to any type used in the body of any functions in the item.
  5. As a part of the type of any fields in the item.

#![allow(unused)]
fn main() {
// Examples where const generic parameters can be used.

// Used in the signature of the item itself.
fn foo<const N: usize>(arr: [i32; N]) {
    // Used as a type within a function body.
    let x: [i32; N];
    // Used as an expression.
    println!("{}", N * 2);
}

// Used as a field of a struct.
struct Foo<const N: usize>([i32; N]);

impl<const N: usize> Foo<N> {
    // Used as an associated constant.
    const CONST: usize = N * 4;
}

trait Trait {
    type Output;
}

impl<const N: usize> Trait for Foo<N> {
    // Used as an associated type.
    type Output = [i32; N];
}
}

#![allow(unused)]
fn main() {
// Examples where const generic parameters cannot be used.
fn foo<const N: usize>() {
    // Cannot use in item definitions within a function body.
    const BAD_CONST: [usize; N] = [1; N];
    static BAD_STATIC: [usize; N] = [1; N];
    fn inner(bad_arg: [usize; N]) {
        let bad_value = N * 2;
    }
    type BadAlias = [usize; N];
    struct BadStruct([usize; N]);
}
}

As a further restriction, const parameters may only appear as a standalone argument inside of a type or array repeat expression. In those contexts, they may only be used as a single segment path expression, possibly inside a block (such as N or {N}). That is, they cannot be combined with other expressions.


#![allow(unused)]
fn main() {
// Examples where const parameters may not be used.

// Not allowed to combine in other expressions in types, such as the
// arithmetic expression in the return type here.
fn bad_function<const N: usize>() -> [u8; {N + 1}] {
    // Similarly not allowed for array repeat expressions.
    [1; {N + 1}]
}
}

A const argument in a path specifies the const value to use for that item. The argument must be a const expression of the type ascribed to the const parameter. The const expression must be a block expression (surrounded with braces) unless it is a single path segment (an IDENTIFIER) or a literal (with a possibly leading - token).

Note: This syntactic restriction is necessary to avoid requiring infinite lookahead when parsing an expression inside of a type.


#![allow(unused)]
fn main() {
fn double<const N: i32>() {
    println!("doubled: {}", N * 2);
}

const SOME_CONST: i32 = 12;

fn example() {
    // Example usage of a const argument.
    double::<9>();
    double::<-123>();
    double::<{7 + 8}>();
    double::<SOME_CONST>();
    double::<{ SOME_CONST + 5 }>();
}
}

When there is ambiguity if a generic argument could be resolved as either a type or const argument, it is always resolved as a type. Placing the argument in a block expression can force it to be interpreted as a const argument.


#![allow(unused)]
fn main() {
type N = u32;
struct Foo<const N: usize>;
// The following is an error, because `N` is interpreted as the type alias `N`.
fn foo<const N: usize>() -> Foo<N> { todo!() } // ERROR
// Can be fixed by wrapping in braces to force it to be interpreted as the `N`
// const parameter:
fn bar<const N: usize>() -> Foo<{ N }> { todo!() } // ok
}

Unlike type and lifetime parameters, const parameters can be declared without being used inside of a parameterized item, with the exception of implementations as described in generic implementations:


#![allow(unused)]
fn main() {
// ok
struct Foo<const N: usize>;
enum Bar<const M: usize> { A, B }

// ERROR: unused parameter
struct Baz<T>;
struct Biz<'a>;
struct Unconstrained;
impl<const N: usize> Unconstrained {}
}

When resolving a trait bound obligation, the exhaustiveness of all implementations of const parameters is not considered when determining if the bound is satisfied. For example, in the following, even though all possible const values for the bool type are implemented, it is still an error that the trait bound is not satisfied:


#![allow(unused)]
fn main() {
struct Foo<const B: bool>;
trait Bar {}
impl Bar for Foo<true> {}
impl Bar for Foo<false> {}

fn needs_bar(_: impl Bar) {}
fn generic<const B: bool>() {
    let v = Foo::<B>;
    needs_bar(v); // ERROR: trait bound `Foo<B>: Bar` is not satisfied
}
}

Where clauses

Syntax
WhereClause :
   where ( WhereClauseItem , )* WhereClauseItem ?

WhereClauseItem :
      LifetimeWhereClauseItem
   | TypeBoundWhereClauseItem

LifetimeWhereClauseItem :
   Lifetime : LifetimeBounds

TypeBoundWhereClauseItem :
   ForLifetimes? Type : TypeParamBounds?

Where clauses provide another way to specify bounds on type and lifetime parameters as well as a way to specify bounds on types that aren't type parameters.

The for keyword can be used to introduce higher-ranked lifetimes. It only allows LifetimeParam parameters.

Bounds that don't use the item's parameters or higher-ranked lifetimes are checked when the item is defined. It is an error for such a bound to be false.

Copy, Clone, and Sized bounds are also checked for certain generic types when defining the item. It is an error to have Copy or Clone as a bound on a mutable reference, trait object or slice or Sized as a bound on a trait object or slice.


#![allow(unused)]
fn main() {
struct A<T>
where
    T: Iterator,            // Could use A<T: Iterator> instead
    T::Item: Copy,
    String: PartialEq<T>,
    i32: Default,           // Allowed, but not useful
    i32: Iterator,          // Error: the trait bound is not satisfied
    [T]: Copy,              // Error: the trait bound is not satisfied
{
    f: T,
}
}

Attributes

Generic lifetime and type parameters allow attributes on them. There are no built-in attributes that do anything in this position, although custom derive attributes may give meaning to it.

This example shows using a custom derive attribute to modify the meaning of a generic parameter.

// Assume that the derive for MyFlexibleClone declared `my_flexible_clone` as
// an attribute it understands.
#[derive(MyFlexibleClone)]
struct Foo<#[my_flexible_clone(unbounded)] H> {
    a: *const H
}