1 unstable release

0.0.1 May 19, 2021

#25 in #temp-dir




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A CLI tool that allows you to create a new rust project in a temporary directory with already installed dependencies.

Cargo-temp demo


Requires Rust 1.51.

cargo install cargo-temp

If you want to use the generate feature, Rust 1.61 is required.

cargo install --all-features cargo-temp


cargo install --features generate cargo-temp


Create a new temporary project:

  • With no additional dependencies:

  • With multiple dependencies:

    cargo-temp rand tokio
  • When specifying a version:

    cargo-temp anyhow=1.0

Using the cargo's comparison requirements:

  • Exact version:

    cargo-temp anyhow==1.0.13
  • Maximal version:

    cargo-temp anyhow=<1.0.2


You can add repositories to your Cargo.toml.


  • HTTP:

    cargo-temp anyhow=https://github.com/dtolnay/anyhow
  • SSH

    cargo-temp anyhow=ssh://git@github.com/dtolnay/anyhow.git

If you have some problems to add a dependency over SSH, please refer to this: Support SSH Git URLs. If it doesn't help, please file an issue.

  • Without package name
    cargo-temp https://github.com/dtolnay/anyhow.git

To choose a branch or a revision:

  • Branch:

    cargo-temp anyhow=https://github.com/dtolnay/anyhow.git#branch=master
  • Revision:

    cargo-temp anyhow=https://github.com/dtolnay/anyhow.git#rev=7e0f77a38

Without a branch or a revision, cargo will use the default branch of the repository.

Dependencies features

You can add features to a dependency with +.


  • A dependency with feature

    cargo-temp serde+derive
  • A dependency with version and feature

    cargo-temp serde=1.0+derive
  • A repository with branch and feature

    cargo-temp serde=https://github.com/serde-rs/serde#branch=master+derive
  • Without specifying package name

    cargo-temp https://github.com/tokio-rs/tokio#branch=compat+io_std

If you want to add multiple features you can do it with +, like this:

cargo-temp serde=1.0+derive+alloc


The TO_DELETE file

If you change your mind and decide to keep the project, you can just delete the TO_DELETE file and the directory will not be deleted when the shell or the editor exits.

Git Working Tree

You can create a git worktree from the current repository using:

cargo-temp --worktree

This will create a new working tree at the current HEAD. You can specify a branch like this:

cargo-temp --worktree <branch>

When exiting the shell (or your editor) the working tree will be cleaned up. Equivalent to git worktree prune.

Temporary Git Clone

If you want to create a temporary project from a Git repository, you can use the --git option with the repository's URL:

cargo-temp --git <url>

Cargo-temp truncates the history to the last commit by default. You can change this behavior in the config file:

  • You can choose how many commits will stay in the history.
    git_repo_depth = 3
    This will leave the 3 last commits of the history.
  • If you do not want to truncate the history, you can set the git_repo_depth to false.
    git_repo_depth = false

git_repo_depth = true is the same as the default behavior.


If you want to create a temporary project with benchmarking using criterion-rs, you can use the --bench option with an optional name for the benchmark file:

cargo-temp --bench my_benchmark

The resulting directory layout will look like this:

├── benches
│   └── my_benchmark.rs
├── Cargo.toml
├── src
│   └── main.rs

This will also add these lines to the Cargo.toml of the project:

criterion = "*"

debug = true

name = "my_benchmark"
harness = false

And finally, the benchmark file contains some imports and a Hello, world! example:

use criterion::{black_box, criterion_group, criterion_main, Criterion};

fn criterion_benchmark(_c: &mut Criterion) {
    println!("Hello, world!");



If you want to specify a specific edition for the temporary project, you can use the --edition option:

cargo-temp --edition 2015

The available options are:

  • 15 or 2015
  • 18 or 2018
  • 21 or 2021

If the argument doesn't match these options, the default is the latest edition.

Project name

If you want to provide a specific project name, you can use the --name option:

cargo-temp --name project

This name will be used as the suffix of the temporary project directory, like tmp-wXyZ-project. If you decide to preserve the project, the directory will be renamed to match the project's name.


Generate a temporary project from a template using cargo-generate (current used version is v0.16)

For example, to create a temporary project using this template:

cargo temp generate --git https://github.com/ashleygwilliams/wasm-pack-template

Almost all the features of the cargo-generate CLI are provided as it, expections are:

  • --init - This flag is used by cargo-temp to init the template as the temporary directory.
  • --destination - Since we already use --init, this feature cannot be used with cargo-temp.
  • --allow-commands - Needs further investigation to avoid conflicts with cargo-temp's subprocesses.


The config file is located at {CONFIG_DIR}/cargo-temp/config.toml. When you run cargo-temp for the first time it will be created automatically. We use the XDG system for both Linux and OSX and the Known Folder system on Windows.

Welcome message

Each time you create a temporary project, a welcome message explain how to exit the temporary project and how to preserve it when exiting.

This message is enabled by default and can be disabled using the welcome_message setting:

welcome_message = false # You can also remove this line from the config file

Temporary project directory

The path where the temporary projects are created. Set on the cache directory by default.

temporary_project_dir = "/home/name/.cache/cargo-temp/"

If the directory doesn't exist, it will be created with all of its parent components if they are missing.

Cargo target directory

Cargo's target directory override. This setting is unset by default and will be ignored if the CARGO_TARGET_DIR environment variable is already set.

cargo_target_dir = "/home/name/repos/tmp"


You can use editor to start an IDE instead of a shell and editor_args to provide its arguments. These settings are unset by default.

  • Example to run VS Code on Unix

    editor = "/usr/bin/code"
    editor_args = [ "--wait", "--new-window" ]
  • Example to run VS Code on Windows

    editor = "C:\\Program Files\\Microsoft VS Code\\Code.exe"
    editor_args = [ "--wait", "--new-window" ]

Use a VCS

By default, cargo-temp will use the default cargo VCS for your projects (which is normally git), you can change that in the config file with the vcs option.

vcs = "pijul"

The possible values are

  • pijul
  • fossil
  • hg
  • git
  • none

The --vcs value will be passed as is to cargo.

Confirmation prompt before deleting the project

cargo-temp will automatically delete the temporary project if the flag file TO_DELETE exists in the project when exiting the shell. If you prefer to enable a prompt that asks you if you want to delete the project, you can add this to your config.toml:

prompt = true


You can spawn subprocess along your temporary shell like this:

command = "alacritty -e cargo watch -x run"
foreground = false

The command field is a shell command like echo Hello. The foreground field allows to run the program in foreground instead of background.

Additional settings

  • working_dir overrides the default working directory. The default is to use the temporary directory that has been created.
  • keep_on_exit is used to keep the process alive after exiting the shell. The default is to kill the process when the shell exits. This setting doesn't work with foreground process.
Platform specific


  • stdout and stderr settings allows enabling or disabling outputs. With a background process, the default will be false, with a foreground process, the default will be true. The stdin setting doesn't exist since it's always disabled.


  • inherit_handles allows handles inheritance - If this parameter is true, each inheritable handle in the calling process is inherited by the new process. If the parameter is false, the handles are not inherited (see CreateProcessW).


  • Unix:
    command = "cargo run"
    foreground = true
    command = "firefox"
    foreground = false
  • Windows
    command = "cargo.exe run"
    foreground = true
    command = "firefox.exe"
    foreground = false

Configuration file example

# Print a welcome message when creating a new temporary project. Enabled by default.
welcome-message = true

# Path where the temporary projects are created. Cache directory by default.
temporary_project_dir = "/home/me/repos/temp"

# Cargo's target directory override. Optional.
cargo_target_dir = "/home/me/repos/target"

# Open the temporary project with VS Code. Optional.
editor = "/usr/bin/code"
editor_args = ["--wait", "--new-window"]

# Specify the VCS you want to use within the project. Default is `git`.
vcs = "pijul"

# Specify the path to the directory where you want to preserve a saved project. Optional (default is `temporary_project_dir`).
preserved_project_dir = "/home/me/projects/"

# Use a confirmation prompt before deleting a project
prompt = true

# Watch over changes in the project using `cargo watch`
command = "cargo watch"
foreground = true


~2M SLoC