impl Trait

If your function returns a type that implements MyTrait, you can write its return type as -> impl MyTrait. This can help simplify your type signatures quite a lot!

use std::iter;
use std::vec::IntoIter;

// This function combines two `Vec<i32>` and returns an iterator over it.
// Look how complicated its return type is!
fn combine_vecs_explicit_return_type<'a>(
    v: Vec<i32>,
    u: Vec<i32>,
) -> iter::Cycle<iter::Chain<IntoIter<i32>, IntoIter<i32>>> {
    v.into_iter().chain(u.into_iter()).cycle()
}

// This is the exact same function, but its return type uses `impl Trait`.
// Look how much simpler it is!
fn combine_vecs<'a>(
    v: Vec<i32>,
    u: Vec<i32>,
) -> impl Iterator<Item=i32> {
    v.into_iter().chain(u.into_iter()).cycle()
}

More importantly, some Rust types can't be written out. For example, every closure has its own unnamed concrete type. Before impl Trait syntax, you had to allocate on the heap in order to return a closure. But now you can do it all statically, like this:

// Returns a function that adds `y` to its input
fn make_adder_function(y: i32) -> impl Fn(i32) -> i32 {
    let closure = move |x: i32| { x + y };
    closure
}

fn main() {
    let plus_one = make_adder_function(1);
    assert_eq!(plus_one(2), 3);
}

You can also use impl Trait to return an iterator that uses map or filter closures! This makes using map and filter easier. Because closure types don't have names, you can't write out an explicit return type if your function returns iterators with closures. But with impl Trait you can do this easily:

fn double_positives<'a>(numbers: &'a Vec<i32>) -> impl Iterator<Item = i32> + 'a {
    numbers
        .iter()
        .filter(|x| x > &&0)
        .map(|x| x * 2)
}