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Uses new Rust 2021

0.2.0 Apr 20, 2022
0.1.2 Apr 14, 2022
0.1.1 Apr 14, 2022
0.1.0 Apr 14, 2022

#1053 in Rust patterns

MIT license

108 lines

Documentation Crates.io License: MIT

Rust trait + smart pointer for manual object destruction

This crate introduces the Close trait for manual object destruction. While similar in purpose to Drop, the key difference is that the close method takes ownership over self and allows for error propagation. For use in conjuction with Drop, this crate further introduces the Closing<T: Close> smart pointer, which is a zero cost abstraction that closes the contained object upon drop if it was not closed manually.


Having ownership over self is useful in situations where the destruction sequence requires dropping or moving members. With drop this requires solutions such as sticking the member in an Option, as in the following example, which joins a thread (moving its handle) before continuing the teardown process. The downside of this construction is added runtime cost and reduced ergonomics in accessing the data behind the option.

struct DeepThought(Option<std::thread::JoinHandle<u32>>);

impl DeepThought {
    fn new() -> Self {
        Self(Some(std::thread::spawn(|| 42)))
    fn thread(&self) -> &std::thread::Thread {
        self.0.as_ref().unwrap().thread() // <-- not great

impl Drop for DeepThought {
    fn drop(&mut self) {
        match self.0.take().unwrap().join() {
            Err(e) => std::panic::resume_unwind(e),
            Ok(_answer) => /*... teardown ...*/ ()

Using close instead of drop we can avoid the option dance and write things as one naturally would:

use close::{Close, Closing};

struct DeepThought(std::thread::JoinHandle<u32>);

impl DeepThought {
    fn new() -> Closing<Self> {
        Self(std::thread::spawn(|| 42)).into()
    fn thread(&self) -> &std::thread::Thread {
        self.0.thread() // <-- better!

impl Close for DeepThought {
    type Error = String;
    fn close(self) -> Result<(), Self::Error> {
        match self.0.join() {
            Err(e) => Err(format!("thread panicked: {:?}", e)),
            Ok(_answer) => /*... teardown ...*/ Ok(()),

Note that besides avoiding Option, the constructor now returns the Closing smart pointer. As a result, the second implementation can be used in precisely the same way as the former, using automatic dereferencing to access members and methods and joining the thread when the object goes out of scope. The difference is that the latter allows for a more ergonomic implementation, does not incur any runtime cost, and allows for manual closing in case error handling is desired.

No runtime deps