2 stable releases

1.0.1 Aug 26, 2020

#669 in Rust patterns

AGPL-3.0-only

2KB

Constany: convert any rust function to const function

Stage One License Downloads

Constany allows you to build const (or at least pseudo-const) function out of any expression

In rust, const functions are a type of functions that may be interpreted by the compiler at compile time. Const functions have various restrictions to make sure that they can be evaluated at compile time. For most of the time, these restrictions are beneficial because it prevent misuse. However, sometimes the use is intended:

use std::collections::HashMap;

const DEFAULT_USER: HashMap<&'static str, u8> = HashMap::new(); // Error!

fn main() {}

or

fn main() {}

const fn add_one_to_six() -> u8 {
   let mut a = 1;
   for b in 1..7 {
       a += b;
   } // Error!
   a
}

Constany provides a workaround to manually override those limitations.

Why const function?

  • Compile-time evaluation: faster runtime execution

  • Smaller binary size (if the function itself is LARGE)

How constany works?

Constany use a workaround for this: the function marked as constany::const_fn and the main function will be compiled twice. For the first time, the value of the function will be recorded. For the second time, the function will be replaced by the value.

Warnings

  • For most of cases, constany will cause unexpected consequences. Please be aware that functions marked by constany will be executed during compilation, not during execution.

  • Functions generated by constany is not technically equivaient to const fn: constany makes the result of the function hard-coded into the binary, regardless the context of it; const fn will only produce static result when calling from a const environment.

Usage

WARNING: library support is not implemented yet. PRs are welcomed.

Starting from version 0.2, constany_stage_one and constany_stage_two are not optional depencies anymore. This will not affect built binary size.

Using constany is a bit tricker than normal library.

Firstly, you need to make sure there's two feature in Cargo.toml and import stage one and stage two as dependicies.

Cargo.toml:

[features]
stage_one = []
stage_two = []
[dependencies]
constany_stage_one = {version = "0.2"}
constany_stage_two = {version = "0.2"}
constany_blank = {version = "1"}

constany_blank is not necessary if there's no grammar checker and programmer will not accidently compile the code without --feature flag; it is simply a blank implementation for constany macros to avoid the compiler to complain.

The next step involves main.rs:

main.rs:

#[cfg(any(
    not(any(feature = "stage_one", feature = "stage_two")),
    all(feature = "stage_two", feature = "stage_one")
))]
use constany_blank as constany; // This line is for grammar checkers that enable all feature / disable all feature. If you do not have a checker, you can delete those lines safely.
#[cfg(all(feature = "stage_one", not(feature = "stage_two")))]
use constany_stage_one as constany;
#[cfg(all(feature = "stage_two", not(feature = "stage_one")))]
use constany_stage_two as constany;
#[constany::main_fn("function_evaled_at_compile_time")]
fn main() {
    // Blah Blah Blah
    function_evaled_at_compile_time();
    // Blah Blah Blah
}
#[constany::const_fn]
fn function_evaled_at_compile_time() -> i32 {
    let mut a = 1;
    let b = 5;
    for _ in 0..b {
        a += 1;
    }
    a
}

Make sure main function is marked with constany::main_fn() and the constant function list is inside the bracket. Otherwise the function will not be compiled to constant.

Compile for binary application

Compile manually (the long way)

When you need to build the function, execute:

$ cargo run --features stage_one
$ cargo build --features stage_two // If you want to run the code instead, use `cargo run`

And your function will be interpreted as constant function.

Compile using build script (the experimental way)

You can add our build script to your code folder. Please add it outside src, in the same folder as Cargo.toml:

|- Cargo.toml
|- Cargo.lock
|- src/
    |- main.rs
    |- blah.rs
|- build.rs // HERE!!!

Issues & Gotchas

Multiple constant function

Having multiple constant functions are also applicable, you just need to make sure every function you want to make constant are labeled with const_fn and the function name is inside main_fn:

// --snip--
// Please look at previous example for this part
// --snip--
#[constany::main_fn("function_evaled_at_compile_time", "function_evaled_at_compile_time_2")]
fn main() {
    function_evaled_at_compile_time();
    function_evaled_at_compile_time_2();
}
#[constany::const_fn]
fn function_evaled_at_compile_time() -> i32 {
    let mut a = 1;
    let b = 5;
    for _ in 0..b {
        a += 1;
    }
    a
}
#[constany::const_fn]
fn function_evaled_at_compile_time_2() -> i32 {
    let mut a = 1;
    let b = 100;
    for _ in 0..b {
        a += 1;
    }
    a
}

Function with non-primitive result

Returning a non-primitive result is troublesome and prone to error. The most elegant way is to use lazy_static for stage one to avoid compiler warning, and use constant value function for stage two:

#[cfg(feature = "stage_two")]
const ABC: String = constant_function().to_string();
#[cfg(not(feature = "stage_two"))]
lazy_static::lazy_static! {
    const ref ABC: String = constant_function().to_string();
}

However, this will not work for most of the non-primitive type because their constructor is unlikely to be static.

There are two workaround for this: the debug + pub solution and memop solution.

The Debug + Pub solution

The debug + pub solution first use debug trait to print the structure, and use the pub trait to rebuild it.

This solution can recreate the structure without unsafe code. However, this require the structure to derive Debug.

Current implementation also require the structure to not have paths, such as std::string::String (if there are :: in the identifier, it's likely that this solution will not work out).

To use this solution, you can simply label constany::const_fn because this is the default solution for constany.

The Memop solution

The memop solution transmute the memory directly. This solution can rebuild any structure, but please note that this method is unsafe and very dangerous.

The generated function will be fn instead of const_fn because memory allocation is not allowed in const, although the memory itself is hard-coded inside the function.

To use this solution, you need to label target function as constany::const_fn(memop):

// --snip--
// Please look at previous example for this part
// --snip--
#[constany::main_fn("function_evaled_at_compile_time")]
fn main() {
    function_evaled_at_compile_time();
}
#[constany::const_fn(memop)]
fn function_evaled_at_compile_time() -> String {
    let mut a = 1;
    let b = 5;
    for _ in 0..b {
        a += 1;
    }
    a.to_string()
}

Please note that if the function is returning a primitive type in rust, the memory operation will not be used regardless the memop flag.

Make sure the returning value is hard-coded

Constany has already make sure that the returning value is hard-coded into the function. However, if you want to have a double-safety precaution, you can add force_const flag to the function mark. This will make the result as a constant value declared outside the function, and the function is simply a wrapper to return that value.

// --snip--
// Please look at previous example for this part
// --snip--
#[constany::main_fn("function_evaled_at_compile_time")]
fn main() {
    function_evaled_at_compile_time();
}
#[constany::const_fn(memop, force_const)]
fn function_evaled_at_compile_time() -> String {
    let mut a = 1;
    let b = 5;
    for _ in 0..b {
        a += 1;
    }
    a.to_string()
}

Contributing

Pull requests are welcome. For major changes, please open an issue first to discuss what you would like to change.

Dependencies

~220–630KB
~15K SLoC