For now, this reference is a best-effort document. We strive for validity and completeness, but are not yet there. In the future, the docs and lang teams will work together to figure out how best to do this. Until then, this is a best-effort attempt. If you find something wrong or missing, file an issue or send in a pull request.

Functions

A function consists of a block, along with a name and a set of parameters. Other than a name, all these are optional. Functions are declared with the keyword fn. Functions may declare a set of input variables as parameters, through which the caller passes arguments into the function, and the output type of the value the function will return to its caller on completion.

When referred to, a function yields a first-class value of the corresponding zero-sized function item type, which when called evaluates to a direct call to the function.

For example, this is a simple function:


# #![allow(unused_variables)]
#fn main() {
fn answer_to_life_the_universe_and_everything() -> i32 {
    return 42;
}
#}

As with let bindings, function arguments are irrefutable patterns, so any pattern that is valid in a let binding is also valid as an argument:


# #![allow(unused_variables)]
#fn main() {
fn first((value, _): (i32, i32)) -> i32 { value }
#}

The block of a function is conceptually wrapped in a block that binds the argument patterns and then returns the value of the function's block. This means that the tail expression of the block, if evaluated, ends up being returned to the caller. As usual, an explicit return expression within the body of the function will short-cut that implicit return, if reached.

For example, the function above behaves as if it was written as:

// argument_0 is the actual first argument passed from the caller
let (value, _) = argument_0;
return {
    value
};

Generic functions

A generic function allows one or more parameterized types to appear in its signature. Each type parameter must be explicitly declared in an angle-bracket-enclosed and comma-separated list, following the function name.


# #![allow(unused_variables)]
#fn main() {
// foo is generic over A and B

fn foo<A, B>(x: A, y: B) {
# }
#}

Inside the function signature and body, the name of the type parameter can be used as a type name. Trait bounds can be specified for type parameters to allow methods with that trait to be called on values of that type. This is specified using the where syntax:


# #![allow(unused_variables)]
#fn main() {
# use std::fmt::Debug;
fn foo<T>(x: T) where T: Debug {
# }
#}

When a generic function is referenced, its type is instantiated based on the context of the reference. For example, calling the foo function here:


# #![allow(unused_variables)]
#fn main() {
use std::fmt::Debug;

fn foo<T>(x: &[T]) where T: Debug {
    // details elided
}

foo(&[1, 2]);
#}

will instantiate type parameter T with i32.

The type parameters can also be explicitly supplied in a trailing path component after the function name. This might be necessary if there is not sufficient context to determine the type parameters. For example, mem::size_of::<u32>() == 4.

Extern functions

Extern functions are part of Rust's foreign function interface, providing the opposite functionality to external blocks. Whereas external blocks allow Rust code to call foreign code, extern functions with bodies defined in Rust code can be called by foreign code. They are defined in the same way as any other Rust function, except that they have the extern modifier.


# #![allow(unused_variables)]
#fn main() {
// Declares an extern fn, the ABI defaults to "C"
extern fn new_i32() -> i32 { 0 }

// Declares an extern fn with "stdcall" ABI
# #[cfg(target_arch = "x86_64")]
extern "stdcall" fn new_i32_stdcall() -> i32 { 0 }
#}

Unlike normal functions, extern fns have type extern "ABI" fn(). This is the same type as the functions declared in an extern block.


# #![allow(unused_variables)]
#fn main() {
# extern fn new_i32() -> i32 { 0 }
let fptr: extern "C" fn() -> i32 = new_i32;
#}

As non-Rust calling conventions do not support unwinding, unwinding past the end of an extern function will cause the process to abort. In LLVM, this is implemented by executing an illegal instruction.

Function attributes

Inner attributes on the function's block apply to the function item as a whole.

For example, this function will only be available while running tests.

fn test_only() {
    #![test]
}

Note: Except for lints, it is idiomatic to only use outer attributes on function items.