Rc

When multiple ownership is needed, Rc(Reference Counting) can be used. Rc keeps track of the number of the references which means the number of owners of the value wrapped inside an Rc.

Reference count of an Rc increases by 1 whenever an Rc is cloned, and decreases by 1 whenever one cloned Rc is dropped out of the scope. When an Rc's reference count becomes zero, which means there are no owners remained, both the Rc and the value are all dropped.

Cloning an Rc never do a deep copy. Cloning creates just another pointer to the wrapped value, and increments the count.

use std::rc::Rc;

fn main() {
    let rc_examples = "Rc examples".to_string();
    {
        println!("--- rc_a is created ---");
        
        let rc_a: Rc<String> = Rc::new(rc_examples);
        println!("Reference Count of rc_a: {}", Rc::strong_count(&rc_a));
        
        {
            println!("--- rc_a is cloned to rc_b ---");
            
            let rc_b: Rc<String> = Rc::clone(&rc_a);
            println!("Reference Count of rc_b: {}", Rc::strong_count(&rc_b));
            println!("Reference Count of rc_a: {}", Rc::strong_count(&rc_a));
            
            // Two `Rc`s are equal if their inner values are equal
            println!("rc_a and rc_b are equal: {}", rc_a.eq(&rc_b));
            
            // We can use methods of a value directly
            println!("Length of the value inside rc_a: {}", rc_a.len());
            println!("Value of rc_b: {}", rc_b);
            
            println!("--- rc_b is dropped out of scope ---");
        }
        
        println!("Reference Count of rc_a: {}", Rc::strong_count(&rc_a));
        
        println!("--- rc_a is dropped out of scope ---");
    }
    
    // Error! `rc_examples` already moved into `rc_a`
    // And when `rc_a` is dropped, `rc_examples` is dropped together
    // println!("rc_examples: {}", rc_examples);
    // TODO ^ Try uncommenting this line
}

See also

std::rc and Arc.